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Thread: Prong Collars, Why?

  1. #321
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    Hey Y'All,

    Have just come on to this thread, and I do know I am waaaaay late... but having read through all 32 pages, I just had one thing to add that (I think) maybe noone has said yet. Well, I have two dogs, both Dobermanns, and both came to live with me over the age of 6 months. On both occasions I knew I had a dog (or dogs) that needed training and who also came pre-programmed with his or her own bad habits. I rang a number of trainers (Steve at k9 being one) and spoke at length about the different tools and methodologies available to me. But I had one priority: communicate effectively with the dog so that the lesson could be taught/ learnt in the most efficacious way. Why? Because I think that constant ineffective fiddle foofing around trying to teach a new skill or change a current habit is akin to being cruel as it simply confuses the dog. Pop on a check chain and teach "heel" to a leash puller? Yeah, maybe, but only if you are going to be 100% consistent, never ever allow the leash to go tight, never ever allow the opposition reflex to kick in, and deliver the "check" with enough intensity to make the dog go "Oh, ok, won't do that again.... it's possible, I wont say it isn't... but your timing bettter be damned good! So, I elected to use a prong collar under guidance from Steve- and I have taught both my wayward mutts how to walk nicely on a loose leash with a training program that uses correction AND praise, is high on respect for the dogs needs/ desires/ motivation as well as ensuring the dog receives as FEW corrections as possible in learning the new modus operandi. Yep, I thought it looked bloody awful to begin with, too. But beauty and efficacy are different and once in a while they come together, but often not, lol.... What I have done is to show my dogs how I expect them to behave in a social situation, which has in turn led to them experienceing greater freedom due to being able to go for lovely long relaxing walks (not the kind that end quickly because my arms and voice are tired) which has then increased the dogs enjoyment of life.

    Prong collar? Yep. Remote trainer? Yep. Flat collar? Yep. Treats? Yep. Positive reinforcement? Yep. Social understaning of acceptable beahaviour? Yep. Consequences for unacceptable behaviour? Yep. Happy owner? Yep. Happy dogs? YEP!

    I think the one tool every dog owner needs is an open mind. If I had brought home an 8 week old puppy, I'd use a different method because I would have that flexibility. But, I think my main point is this: don't leave an effective tool (whatever it is) to being a last resort- how cruel to just keep "nagging" at your dog- why not use the appropriate tool for the job and get it done, and get on with being happy!!!

    I hope that made sense- 32 pages is alot to read and there have been some GREAT comments and some awful ones but I don't want to get in the argument, just add that little bit.

  2. #322
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    I'm coming into this thread very late, as well. But, just want to add that I totally agree with V&F's post. I have trained both my large cross breeds using prong collars, and it certainly has not been a negative or overly uncomfortable experience for them.

    What prong collars do give you is an extra level of insurance that you have control over your dog in a tricky situation. My two have both come from dedicated pig dog lines, and my wolfhound in particular has high levels of distraction and prey drive around kangaroos and stock. We encounter both on our regular walking routes and holiday places, and at 14mths, there are times where she is still a total nightmare :P

    With the prong collar on, as soon as the dogs take interest in something they shouldn't (like a 'roo), I have the assurance of knowing that if they start off after the roo before I can react, they aren't going anywhere because the prong collar will pull them up, at which point I have the chance to correct them while their still in the moment. It's not a matter of punishing the dogs with the prongs - the prongs pull them up as soon as they start to pull away, meaning I can correct them and redirect their behaviour through positive reinforcement. If I were using only flat collars or chokers, and my 50kg and 60kg dogs both decided to chase a rabbits, I could be looking at serious injury to myself trying to hang onto them!

    I also use the prong collars if we're going somewhere with kids, because at the end of the day, my dogs are my responsibility and I need to know I'm in control as much as possible.

    "Prong collar? Yep. Remote trainer? Yep. Flat collar? Yep. Treats? Yep. Positive reinforcement? Yep. Social understaning of acceptable beahaviour? Yep. Consequences for unacceptable behaviour? Yep. Happy owner? Yep. Happy dogs? YEP!" - this is exactly the right attitude to have when using this type of tool!

  3. #323
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristy_07 View Post
    YEP!" - this is exactly the right attitude to have when using this type of tool!
    Except you can not use term positive reinforcement while using what you mentioned above and that is negative reinforcers. These two just can't go hand in hand together even though people might think they do. There is nothing positive in punishing and awarding and it makes no sense to a dog.
    Respect and you shall be respected. Animal is always right.

  4. #324
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedra View Post
    Except you can not use term positive reinforcement while using what you mentioned above and that is negative reinforcers. These two just can't go hand in hand together even though people might think they do. There is nothing positive in punishing and awarding and it makes no sense to a dog.
    K9: There is no reason you cannot add positive reinforcement after a correction, and as the dog learns, it clearly does make sense.
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    www.k9pro.com.au

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

  5. #325
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    Quote Originally Posted by k9force View Post
    K9: There is no reason you cannot add positive reinforcement after a correction, and as the dog learns, it clearly does make sense.
    Thanks Steve; I was going to reply with an example of how you can strong together the correction and reinforcement to make my point....

    Lets say you are out walking on lead. Your dog pulls ahead of you, putting tension on the leash and on your ams. You correct with a "pop" on the collar (Positive Punishment), your turn 180 degrees and walk the other way (Negative Punishment- ie you take away the opportunity to reach the desired goal), you encourage your dog to come up beside you (Negative Reinforcement- you take away the tightening of the collar) and PRAISE when the dog walks at or near your leg (Postive Reinforcement). You finish the exercise with a positive experience for the dog!

    (Did I get P+, P-, R+ and R- right there, Steve??)

    This works regardless of the tool you use, and you choose your tool based on the most efficacious for the individual dog and the individual circumstances with a mind toward the safety of all involved.

    PLUS: Any method you use at any time to prevent your dog reaching his desired goal (assuming it is not yours) is a punishment... therefore, even a flat collar and leash which prevent your dog going wherever he pleases (the reason, if you like, for the existence of collars and leashes) is a.... PUNISHMENT!!
    Last edited by Villain & Flirtt; 12-08-2010 at 08:57 AM. Reason: Added last paragraph

  6. #326

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    Hi All, im new to this forum, but have read various forums for a while and this is always a hot topic.
    I think V&F made the best point.. ""Prong collar? Yep. Remote trainer? Yep. Flat collar? Yep. Treats? Yep. Positive reinforcement? Yep. Social understaning of acceptable beahaviour? Yep. Consequences for unacceptable behaviour? Yep. Happy owner? Yep. Happy dogs? YEP!

    I think the one tool every dog owner needs is an open mind. ""

    It was many years before i was faced with a situation that i couldnt "fix".
    No one else was bothered by our cavaliers behaviour exept me.. as i CANT STAND barking dogs, never have had a barker, we live in a rural area, and i visit friends in town and it never ceases to amaze me how contstanly barking dogs is accepted behaviour!!! It would drive me nuts.
    My situation unfolded like this..
    My Cav girl is what they call a "resource guarder" she will wait till everyone else is finished then guard and slowly eat her food... yes bad i know but it doesnt cause any problems.
    Thew people up the hill from us got 6 pig dog pups over a period of a month, and they contantly howeled, cried barked in their yard.. eventually my girl started barking back, over a period of about 2 weeks, this became contant. whenever she was outside she would stare up the hill and bark repetedly. She would just lay there....yap.... yap.... yap....yap it was like she was resource guarding our house, not being a guard dog,but just how she would guard a bone! It was really annoying.
    Now she was 4 years old and never been a barker untill then.
    Then our other cav started to join in...
    My thought of no probs with my dogs, i'll just tell them to be quiet and that will be that...nup.
    Im not the sort of person who will shut my dogs inside to stop them barking.. it is unacceptable behaviour and that is that.
    I hated contanly growling at them, and it wasnt working, so tried many other methods, from my imagination, books, google, behaviourists...
    I know barking is accepted as normal, but its not.
    I went down the shop after about 4 months and bought a zap collar.
    I used it 4 times, in the first week, once about a month after that and its been in the cupboard ever since.
    My girl no longer barks for no reason, and never had to put it on the other dog, as when her behaviour stopped, so did his.
    She is now happy to glare at the dogs up the hill, and thats fine. She can glare as much as she likes!!
    I wouldnt hesitate to use it again if i felt i needed too.

    I should add i used it on myself before i put it on my dog.
    I think they should ONLY be used by people who have genuine understanding of dog behaviour and impeccable timing.
    For me it was a great tool, i dont want to have to constantly correct my dog, nor will i ignore bad behaviour.

  7. #327
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    Quote Originally Posted by Villain & Flirtt View Post
    Thanks Steve; I was going to reply with an example of how you can strong together the correction and reinforcement to make my point....

    Lets say you are out walking on lead. Your dog pulls ahead of you, putting tension on the leash and on your ams. You correct with a "pop" on the collar (Positive Punishment), your turn 180 degrees and walk the other way (Negative Punishment- ie you take away the opportunity to reach the desired goal), you encourage your dog to come up beside you (Negative Reinforcement- you take away the tightening of the collar) and PRAISE when the dog walks at or near your leg (Postive Reinforcement). You finish the exercise with a positive experience for the dog!

    (Did I get P+, P-, R+ and R- right there, Steve??)

    This works regardless of the tool you use, and you choose your tool based on the most efficacious for the individual dog and the individual circumstances with a mind toward the safety of all involved.

    PLUS: Any method you use at any time to prevent your dog reaching his desired goal (assuming it is not yours) is a punishment... therefore, even a flat collar and leash which prevent your dog going wherever he pleases (the reason, if you like, for the existence of collars and leashes) is a.... PUNISHMENT!!
    S: Yep but lets think of it from the dogs perspective, instead of cluttering it with our technical explanations

    Dog gets excited at the sight of a cat on the pathway.

    We have completed some foundation training that has taught the dog that it must control urges to go into drive for things like cats.

    The dog is now working under distraction and for a moment loses focus and starts to engage cat, ears up, tail erect etc, handler gives cue that signals correction coming and is avoidable with compliance, perhaps dog does not comply, handler gives small leash correction probably with 2 fingers on the leash.

    Dogs value of cat drops slightly and handler turns the other way and walks off, dog makes the decision to follow after handler as in the foundation work, this is rewarding.

    Dog catches up to handler in ideal position and handler cheerfully rewards.

    Dog received reinforcement for making the right decision.

    Perhaps the handler could have waited the dogs burst of drive out, dog goes hyper active at cat, cat runs off, dogs tries to chase. Handler prevents.

    Handler walks off and dog follows and gets reward.

    What is the point of the correction? The foundation work has taught the dog to learn impulse control, which prevents the dog from going into high prey drive after the cat (and breaking the law). Going into high drive is a chemically rewarding activity that will compete against the handlers reward being offered in the end.

    The dog going into high drive for the cat also has some other undesirable facets, such as it can make the dog feel more powerful than the owner, it can portray the owner us the reward taker not the reward provider, it can teach the dog the handler is the fun police, it can frustrate the handler, it can desensitize the dog to being handled gently and the list goes on.

    I think I said it before and now again, using a correction collar doesn't have to mean punishment, it also doesn't have to mean correcting the head off the dog because your trying to control a dog with a tool only under high distraction.

    These are training aids, they aid training, they may aid good training or bad training, but minus a prong collar and you still have good or bad training problems.
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    www.k9pro.com.au

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

  8. #328
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    Quote Originally Posted by k9force View Post
    K9: There is no reason you cannot add positive reinforcement after a correction, and as the dog learns, it clearly does make sense.
    Of course it makes sense to you Steve, I didn't think it wouldn't

    But it's not called POSITIVE any longer. Negative and positive do not make positive, even in mathemathics, let alone to the dog.
    Respect and you shall be respected. Animal is always right.

  9. #329
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedra View Post
    Of course it makes sense to you Steve, I didn't think it wouldn't
    S: Fedra I have demonstrated this technique to I would guess 10 000 people on their dogs, it made sense to them and their dogs, you haven't watched me train so perhaps it isn't fair to comment?

    But it's not called POSITIVE any longer. Negative and positive do not make positive, even in mathemathics, let alone to the dog.
    S: Forget the name, it isn't mathematics, it is teaching a dog where its advantage lays.

    If you think that the word positive needs to be preserved as a glowing light, you may need to speak to the person that came up with the quadrant Positive punishment lol.
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    www.k9pro.com.au

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

  10. #330
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    Quote Originally Posted by k9force View Post
    S:If you think that the word positive needs to be preserved as a glowing light, you may need to speak to the person that came up with the quadrant Positive punishment lol.
    No, of course I don't associate words Positive Punishment with glowing lights and sparkles That's why I'm saying - combining pos. punisment with positive reinforcement is no longer positive method of training. Dogs are smart and yes, they do get it eventully, but it is confusing and it is not positive experience.
    Respect and you shall be respected. Animal is always right.

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