How To Use The Prong Collar To Make Your Dog Obey

Arindam writes, “I have a Doberman pup who is 5.5 months old.  When I got your book he was already trained to know all of the basic command but I was not getting consistent response from him.

How To Use The Prong Collar To Make Your Dog Obey
Photo courtesy of creative commons license: GOzcan

After I read your book, now Pluto is always on prong collar (except when we play fetch and when he sleeps). I have started to see the result but I have a question:  “How do I use it to make him listen to my command every time? I mean… correcting a ‘bad’ behavior is easy to understand but when I want to enforce my command, how do I do it? Say I give the SIT command to PLUTO and he doesnt listen.  How do I give a correction? I mean the timing, do I POP the tab when he doesnt listen and issue the command again? Or how I do I do it? My fear is if I wrongly give the correction, he may associate the correction with ‘SIT’ — which I dont want.”

Adam replies:  

All commands need to be enforced immediately, even if the correction is a “token” correction. Command>Correction>Praise.

Say the command and then say the word, ‘tug”. (“down” — “tug”).

At the same time that you say the word, “tug” give a tug on the leash. Do it every time for the next few months, because you’re working on building a conditioned response to commands.

After a few weeks, he’ll start to respond so fast at times that he’ll be lying down before you can say the word, ‘Tug”… in which case you should not tug on the leash but instead just praise him. However, you should still be ready to tug the next time you issue the command, because he’s still in the reinforcement phase.

I’m pretty sure I covered this in the book, so keep reading as I’m sure you’ll get more detailed benefit from reading how I describe it in the book.

Also– keep the prong collar and tab on him when you’re playing fetch.  What if he decides to do something inappropriate?  If you were the pack leader, you’d simply use your mouth to give him a correction.  But since you can’t do that (at least not very well!) you’ll need to have the prong collar on him.