(West Plains, MO, USA)
I have been struggling with leash training our boys… we were brave enough to adopt 2 at the same time but now they are 7 months old and I was having a horrible time getting them to walk on a leash without pulling me all over the place. I have back and knee issues so this was of some concern.
In fact the last time I took them to the vet they both decided to get out of the car at the same time and as I grabbed the leashes they headed for the door and nearly dragged me up the stairs. My husband showed up just in the nick of time to rescue me and take over one of the boys. After that incident we discussed training options with the vet. He recommended either the head halter or the pronged collar.
We took both dogs with us to the pet supply store to try out the collars to see what worked best for them. We tried the head halter first and they chewed and bit at it as we tried to get it on. They even were able to paw it off of their muzzles while we walked around the store. A very friendly employee suggested we try the pronged collar. We were hesitant about it at first because it seems rather barbaric. She had us try it on our arms to see how it felt, she explained the proper usage of the collar and even helped us size the boys for the proper fit. She then offered to show us how it worked. She put the collar on one of the boys, he pulled, she gently corrected and he immediately followed her command. She offered to let us try them out around the store and we were pleasantly surprised at how quickly they worked.
During the last few days we have walked them separately to try our luck with the new collars and it worked wonderfully. Today we tried walking them together, which we couldn’t do before because they would pull to compete to be the “lead dog”. But they walked at our sides and obeyed without any issues at all. We were even confronted by a large great dane mix and our boys sat as commanded and the other dog owner apologized for his dogs behaviour and struggled to get him under control.
I must say that I’m hoping we won’t have to use these collars for long and we only have them on our boys when we are actually going for walks but they have made a world of difference in the way they act on a leash. I would recommend them to anyone struggling with leash training but please follow the directions and don’t do anything that might harm your pet.
Yes, I can see how two 7 month old boys could be a handful!
I’m very happy that you’ve found the benefits of using a prong collar. Many new owners feel the way you did – that they are cruel or painful. But they are not at all.
A regular buckle collar or choke chain is simply ineffective on large breed dogs if they’re pulling and are in fact much more dangerous than using a prong collar. That’s because the amount of force required for the dog to notice the correction is sufficient to crush the trachea! With a prong collar you need only minimal pressure to get the dogs attention. Much better.
My Big Dog Collars page has a section devoted to training collars for big dogs and I’ve discussed this there too.
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, I hope your submission helps others who are having similar difficulties or reservations.
Best of luck with those handsome boys!