choke vs pinch collars for training?

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Savannahrs's picture
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Hi all - I've gotten so much information from reading all the posts as well as some really good, practical advice! I posted the other day about a rescue dobe. (I know I need to do the profile - I will soon!) We've had him for about a week so we are still in the adaption phase. He seems to have had no previous training so we are starting from scratch. I read another post that recommended treating rescue adults as puppies (i.e. they know nothing and 100% supervision) and I think that is a good idea.  I have another question for training that I hope you all can help me out with! 

 I'm interested in hearing your recommendations to training collars.  I started my past dobe with a pincher collar and had good results with it. I was a young woman/girl then so the force used with it never was much, plus many people said that the pinch collar was better, especially for dobes because it didn't do as much damage to their necks.  

However that was more than 10 years ago ( wow time flies!) and currently in my club everyone recommends a choke collar. But there is one dobe owner who uses the prong/pinch collar. So what do you recommend for training, in general and especially with Dobes?

Also, what do you think about waiting to take him to formal obediance until we have a good bond/relationship? I know training helps with the bond, but I want him to work for me more than anything else and I don't know if it's good to start obediance training with a group until there is trust or use the group to make sure I'm not doing the wrong thing with him as far as training/corrections? A very good webpage that I was refered to recommends waiting but I was curious to hear your opinions, especially since dobes tend bond stronger with their owners then other breds anyway?

Thanks for your opinions!!

Savannah and Ramses!

 

HarleyBear's picture
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There was a great thread on this a while ago: http://www.gentledoberman.com/forums/training-doberman-pinscher/training-methods/prong-collars

Check it out, there is a lot of good information on there.

Savannahrs's picture
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Thanks! I will!

Joined: 2011-09-11

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as for me the choke chains did nothing for dillinger but choke him to death. he would pull and pull and choke himself like there was no tommorro. once the prong collar went on him ... forgetaboutit. lol its let best!!!!!!!! power steering for dogs.

Savannahrs's picture
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Thanks Dillinger's master. That's what I'm finding too. I've actually never really used choke chains on any of my dogs. I just feel like it's too easy for them just to get used to the choking.  I'm definately going to get a prong collar! The chokes ones are worthless and even dangerous. 

 

talisin's picture
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my local obedience class requires the choke chain they of course spend the first night teaching how to put the collar on and get the rings adjusted since there is only one way that the collar works properly and it worked great for our three dogs but each dog is different

brunosmom's picture
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I had a dog nearly die from a choke collar, it collapsed her trachea. She was a golden retriever/yellow lab mix, not a itty bitty with a fragile neck. So I DO NOT use choke collars ever, I am really gunshy about them.

I use a prong on Bruno and I'm telling you, he's like two different dogs. With the prong, he walks nice, ignores other dogs, doesn't go after the barn cats. Without it, he's a big old goofball, all excited about playing witht he outside kitties and trying to jump on everyone he meets.

I am a huge fan of the prong but there is a little bit of a learning curve. It has to be positioned just right. I think I will add a link once he's fully trained on it, so he *thinks* it will pinch him when we walk, but won't actually do anything.

talisin's picture
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Wow, I never did anything but a tiny snap of the chain and it immediately released and it was off to the side never on the throat that the little snap took place, it was not much different than tapping someone on the shoulder for instance, not sure how it would have collapsed the trachea......it shouldn't be held or pulled and definitely not for any length of time, and when walking it should be loose, it's a training tool when we were out and about they always wore their other collars....I know my chi's trachea collapses when he plays I wonder if maybe the golden had an unknown issue that the collar worsened....

brunosmom's picture
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I dont know how it happened either, because I was a child. Priscilla died at age 16 when I was in eighth grade, so I dont know the exact circumstances. It always scares me though, remembering how awful it was for everyone. I dont have an opinion on others use of the choke, its just not something I will ever use.

Lori's picture
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Any collar even a prong can caused harm if not used properly.   They should never just be pulling on any collar or you really aren't training them at all you're just putting undo stress on their neck.   Please read some books or look online for proper fit and use before you buy any type of training collar. 

 

That being said Rocky was trained with a prong and it works wonderfully.  I will still use it when I take him to places like the Pet store or out with a lot of people and dogs just in case I want/need the extra control but if used correctly there shouldn't be a difference in with or without.   I have failed slightly at that as my dog also realizes when it's on and not, which means I haven't trained him 100% at all, I've just trained him what the collar means, not how to walk properly.   We're working on this now that he's older and more calm but it was my failure, not his...

grainnecal's picture
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Quick question re prong collars. I'm from ireland and I've looked in every pet store and online and they're just NOT used at all there therefore cannot be bought. I'm in Phillie in the US for the next couple of months and want to get a prong collar to bring home for Reggie while I'm here however I wouldn't be able to fit the collar as obviously Reggie is across the pond still.

 

I've read here that you can adjust them by adding or taking out links and I want something that will fit her when she is fully grown. From her size now I'd say that she will either be average/slightly small sized when she is grown. Bear in mind that my only knowledge of prong collars is what I've read here. Never even seen one except on the internet so if this is a silly question, apologies, but can I buy a prong collar for her here and what sizes etc would you recommend? Or do they have to be tried on etc?

grainnecal's picture
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Also any recommendations for where to buy them? I have seen pictures of prong collars with the prongs hidden behind nylon and this would be ideal as I don't believe people would be knowledgable about these where I walk her and I don't want any negative reaction re this.

 

We use a harness at the moment and I have her trained (just about) to voice commands (uh-uh) and the tree techniques but I want to try a few different methods just to drive the point home that pulling is bad so prong seems a good one to try.

grainnecal's picture
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Another quick question.....gentle leader harnesses. Would love to have one of those too because these also can't be found back home. I ended up buying the normal type harness with the ring in the back because I could find any other kind and it is effective enough when used with other methods but I think that the gentle leader looks more effective with the ring in front over the breast bone.

 

Again, I know its always best to try before you buy BUT since I can't go that route, can someone advise what size fits their female fully grown dobe? Ideally something adjustable as it would allow me to fit it to her size so long as I get something in the right ballpark.

 

Disclaimer: If anything I get doesn't fit properly, causes chafing etc, it WILL NOT be worn but this is the only way I can buy these things for her so I have take the chance on buying even though I may buy an incorrect size and may not be able to use it.

DJ's Dad's picture
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I've never used the gentle leader no-pull harness, but there is a lady that brings her Labrador to the play dates I take DJ to sometimes, and she purchased one of those harnesses for her dog.  I asked her last week if the harness is helping and she said "NO.  He still nearly yanks my arm out of the socket"....so either it isnt all it's cracked up to be, or she is doing something wrong.  Just a little inside info there before you spend a lot of money on something that might or might not work.

I use a prong collar on DJ when I need good control (in crowds, etc) and I have looked online at different places where the prong collar covers are sold.  I might have to get one of them....I think they look nice.

grainnecal's picture
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Yeah my problem is that I can't experiment with one method and then go try another so instead of taking chances I'm thinking of just bringing back a few different methods and I can discard or keep depending on what works. She's not bad with her pulling training so far and I can manage her on walks no problem but she's only 6 months and will get stronger. Also my mother is getting a knee replacement op so getting this as near 100% as I can is really a priority for me.

 

Also, from the multiple method that either Kevin or Glengate talked about in another post, trying a few different methods so that she learns never to pull no matter if she's in the collar or a harness looks to be a good idea. All advice is welcome however especially re what works, sizes etc as I can't claim to be very familiar with any of these techniques outside of what I've read here.

HarleyBear's picture
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You may have a problem fitting the "hidden" prong collars, because you can't take the links on and off as easily.  I would just buy an inexpensive prong collar and of you like it, you can have one of the hidden collars made and shipped to you.  Like DJ's Dad, we use a baby prong (smaller links), which means I bought a box or two of extra links, so that I could add more as Harley grew.  

You should be able to buy everything you need at one of the major pet stores.  Maybe a Petco or a PetSmart, while you are in the States.  

Here is the website for the hidden prong collars: http://lolalimited.net/Secretprong.html

grainnecal's picture
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Thanks Harleybear. I'll ask in there about the mini prong. It sounds ideal. I can use that around at home where noone will see until she's grown into her skin a bit more and then I can order a hidden prong. Just apprehensive about using the mini prong in public as people can sometimes be so ignorant about things they don't understand and noone uses these in Ireland and I mean noone!!! 

 

In relation to the gentle leader easy harness, if anyone with a female dobe can give me a rough idea of the size they use and the age of their dobe, I'd really appreciate that.

 

Thanks DJ's Dad and Harleybear!! So grateful for your advice ;)

dukey_bear's picture
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Just to inform all of you, You dont have to use a chock or a prong colar at all! Both can cause harm to your animal. I personally use a head harness, it dosnt put strain on you or the dog. A simple little flick of your wrist turns the direction of his head and stops him from pulling. This also makes it much much easier to get them to follow your direction and teach them how to heal beside you off leash. It is not a muzzel and in no way shape or form will hurt the dog. Choke colars will do just that.... choke them. cause damage. Prongs dig into there skin and for some dogs that still continue to pull can even cut them or do damage inside from such a high strain around there neck.

 

http://www.petexpertise.com/dog-collars-dog-harnesses/comfort-trainer-head-halter.html

 

Look into this site.

dukey_bear's picture
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BTW, A gental lead harness is differant from a head harness. Lead harness gose around the body which actually allows pulling more so, the head harness alows control of the direction of his head. He wont walk one way if he is facing another way.

Joined: 2012-10-12

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Savannah,

   I have a 6 month old female who was pulling on the leash and it seemed like a very slow go walking her loose leash with a collar. I got one of those gentle leader easy walk harnesses. Not the head halter, the one that clips on her chest in front of her.

   We walked into Petsmart with her tugging and pulling on the leash, and walked out walking at the exact same pace right next to each other and she has barely pulled since.

   So, I'd have to suggest that.

   Shaun Adams, Dana the Doberman service dog CGC (ret), and Ava the Doberman SDIT

Joined: 2012-10-12

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I have a female 6 month old. I got her the large size, adjusted to just about the smallest size it will go, and it fits her wonderfully, so, as she grows, I'll just be able to adjust the size, and make it bigger, and she'll never outgrow it. So, I'd advise you to get her a large sized harness. I got the Premier brand easy walk harness. It has done wonders for her pulling.

Shaun Adams, Dana the Doberman service dog CGC (ret), and Ava the Doberman SDIT

DobieWanKenobi's picture
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Dukey-bear, head collars aren't the best thing to use on slender/long-necked dogs like Dobermans, especially if you need them because the dog pulls or reacts 'crazily' to certain things, because you'd be inadvertantly snapping the dogs neck up/to the side. Not only that, but head collars are management tools, rather than training tools.

 

Kayenne snapped the links on her 'sturdy, durable' martingale collar the other day, and she wasn't even trying. Lucky we were already in a safe area and getting ready to unleash- had it broken at the road or in town, the outcome wouldn't have been so good. Despite the fact it was probably just a dodgy single-collar, I'm not buying another of that make.

I'm looking into prongs, and have a question for you experienced people...It should benefit the OP.

See, I've never used a prong collar, because I never felt the need. I have nothing against them, but I have no experience with them either. Haven't ordered one yet; I'm still doing my mad Googling/begging for article references act. However, I have a question that google ain't answering.

 

HOW do you stop the dog from understanding that only when the prong is on, does he get a correction? Would you just put whatever collar you want to walk them on, in the end, on at the same time as the prong, but attach the lead to the prong? Ex: If your desired end-result of all the training was having your dog walk nicely on a flat collar, you'd put the flat collar on as well as the prong, but clip the leash to the prong.

DJ's Dad's picture
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@DobieWanKenobi:  That's exactly what I do with the two collars.  It's always a good idea to have a 'backup' collar, anyhow, in my opinion, since the links of a prong collar get so much use snapping and unsnapping to get it on and off...there was a time when I thought i had both prongs hooked into the next one, but only ONE was in place, leaving the collar less than sturdy.  I caught my mistake before anything happened, but I just am in the habit of putting a flat collar on DJ along with the prong.  After we've been walking for 10 - 15 minutes of an hour walk, I'll unhook the leash from the prong and snap it onto the flat collar.  Leaving the prong on her neck, but no way to use it for corrections, now.  After another 15 minutes or so, I can remove the prong and only use the flat collar, BUT I still have the prong in my pocket just in case I need it again.  Works for me.

DobieWanKenobi's picture
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I've heard about doubling-up on collars when you're using a prong because the links are designed to be taken apart. My research has taken me to some amazing places.  Just couldn't seem to find anything on how, exactly, to stop the dog from realising that the prong collar is the thing giving corrections, as opposed to the actions.

 

If I got a prong, then the result I'd be hoping for is a dog that is reliable on a flat-collar when the initial training is complete...Though, the more I learn about prongs, the more I realise they're the safer option, health-wise, for the dog because of where the pressure is applied when the dog does put tension on the lead. I don't know- I'm still neck-deep in webpages.

KevinK's picture
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Just a reminder guys, let's not forget that a collar is a TOOL, and is not meant to replace training.  Most dogs don't "need" anything other than a flat buckle collar, assuming propper training.  It's a rare dog that "needs" a prong or other type.  For those that have dogs that pull, I would focus more on the METHODS you are using to fix the problem, vs. what kind of collar.  I've worked with quite a few dogs that "pull like crazy", and some of them just choke the crap out of themselves.  This is because they have been allowed to do it, and it's called oppositiion reflex.  Humans are no different, if I were to try to choke you, what's the reaction?  The natural reaction is to pull away.  "Allowing" a dog to pull at the end of the leash will only increase the frequency that this happens.  Simply don't allow it, and it doesn't happen.  I see it every day with people walking their dogs, dog choking the crap out of himself, owner does nothing.  "My dog pulls, watcha gonna do".  Simple... don't let him pull, it's really that easy.  If your dog is pulling at the end of the leash, you shouldn't be continuing the walk, because if this is the case, you are allowing your dog to pull.  And you are not supposed to correct your dog for things that you allow him to do, right?

seeingRED's picture
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The sign of a knowledgeable trainer is simply that the same  equipment does not work for reach dog! Choke chains can be very dangerous when used by the inexperienced and on dogs with long necks! Unfortunately the use of prong collars that are ill fitting and again used by the inexperienced can also cause damage  I personally use a choke collar, sometimes chain, sometimes martingale entirely dependent on the needs of the dog at hand. Regardless of what you choose to use, you must never NAG on the  collar!  Make a firm correction when needed, no fooling around! And a significant praise whether verbal or food! It is mandatory that the dog understand the correct response as well as the response that is not acceptable!  It is not unlike a horse, one may  require a pelham, a snaffle or one that works well on a hackamore!  You have to know th animal and what makes it respond to the desired direction!

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I personally do not care for any sort of choke chain or pinch collar. I use to work for a veteranarian and I have seen to many boo-boos from them. I know it is something I wouldn't want around my neck so I wouldnt put one on our dogs.

 I use a regular harness, and my methods have worked well with training both my Boxer and Our Dobe Puppy. 

grainnecal's picture
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Quick update: Tried the Easywalk harness with the martingale over the breastbone. Brilliant. Stopped her pulling instantly as she can't get long strides when the martingale tightens across her shoulders. Pity I had to go the whole way to the US to get this as they have nothing similar here in Ireland..... 

 

We're heading back to obedience class this week also and its still the aim to have her trained to walk on a loose leash, harness or no harness, but for now at least we can have nice relaxed walks and I feel like we're working as a team instead of fighting each other the whole time. Reggie is much more relaxed on the harness too so all good in our house at the moment. 

 

I also got a heavy duty coupler so even though I only hold one lead, she is at all times attached to the collar and harness. I always like to have a contingency in case the harness snapped like your collar did Obiewan.....

 

All of the above is of course in bright pink along with the lead.....couldn't help myself!!!!

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And Dukey Bear, head harnesses are definitely not a good idea for a doberman, you may be doing more damage than you think.  With dogs that have these long slender necks, head harnesses are a no-go, I would never use one of them personally.