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they then have their pinch/prong collar that they wair for walking.
I hadn't heard of a prong collar so looked it up and found this description

"A dog training prong collar is made of interlocking metal links. Each link has two prongs that protrude inwards. When the collar is placed over the dog’s head, the prongs sit against his neck. When the animal performs an incorrect action or pulls when being walked, the trainer corrects the behavior by tugging on the leash, which in turn causes the prong collar to tighten and pinch together the dog’s flesh."

Ouch - Is that what you use on your girls???
 

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I have a inexpensive nylon, clip on collar (Rogz) which is comfy and can be washed if it gets grubby. A plain nylon lead. A 5m flexi for when I walk across the fields but need to keep her fairly close (kids on horses, lambs in fields etc.). A head collar for when I need her to heel or when she is getting too excitable (fetes, outdoor events etc.). She does the majority of her walks off lead with me.
 

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I think if you can teach your dog the difference between flexi and not flexi (aka, when you can pull) and not use it in crowded places, then it's fine.
If you can teach them the difference like Enneirda suggests both work fine and agree that a flexi is only really used in open spaces to keep them safe - I use mine with Flo if we are in an area where we might come across children on horses, if there is livestock in fields with fencing she could slip through or if I see a dog in the distance that I know isn't safe or appears not be under control as she will still run rather enthusiastically up to any other dogs.

Flo has learnt the difference between lead, flexi and off-lead.

If she is on a fixed lead she walks by my side on a slack lead and I taught her that when I make a click with my tongue it means walk close.

When I put on a flexi she is given the command 'go on'. She knows how long the flexi is so will drop behind or trot ahead but never go to the end of the line and never jerk herself. She also never runs full speed on the flexi. It's important to mark the change from lead to flexi and I always ask her to sit and wait between taking a lead off and putting on the flexi so she knows there will be a difference and doesn't get confused.

When the flexi or lead comes off (again sitting for change) then she is given the command 'OK'. Then she runs like a greyhound out of the gates!!
 
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