Tuesday, July 05, 2011

prong collars

By popular demand, a how-to video for correctly fitting the prong collar, followed by a video that shows a dog handler with a reactive dog on his first day in class. These will go into our How-To Videos file for future reference.

As many know, our group is big on supporting the proper use of any kind of training collar or harness as long as the device is well suited to the personality style of the dog and its user commits to progressive, humane, motivational handling techniques. As with anything, the magic is in the handler and his or her intent and - especially - his relationship with his dog. Popping a dog on a prong collar is as unfair as yanking a dog around on a head halter. But you don't need to do either when you can motivate your dog to work with you and follow your lead.

With many thanks to the hundreds of dog owners who've worked with us to smooth their dogs' caveman manners into Canine Good Citizen bragging rights. You know who you are and we salute you.



46 comments:

Millie said...

Don't like them, never have, I think they look barbaric and I think that it only serves to reinforce fear in people when they see a dog wearing this type of collar. I appreciate your knowledge and help in educating us, but I personally just don't like them.

Donna said...

It's okay Millie! Prongs definitely get a bad rap. But since smiling, wagging good manners can break down even the toughest stereotypes, we're happy to demonstrate how to use them properly, especially since they've been so incredibly helpful to so many once-hopeless dogs. No matter which training collar dog owners prefer for their dogs, it serves the dogs best when we can support each other rather than scold or finger wag.

Linda said...

I'm a big fan of prong collars. My boy, Jack (Aussie/lab mix) would pull my arm out of the socket without it. Like you showed, I never put it on tight, so instead of pinching, it would distribute the pressure evenly around his neck.

I also learned that not all prong collars are equal. On some brands, the prongs are rounded and smooth... on others, they are blunt cut and sharp. When you buy one, put it over your wrist and you can feel the difference. I only buy the rounded and smooth ones.

Jack never even winced when we used it. Not once. I have a neighbor with a precious Golden retriever who also pulled. We loaned him the prong collar despite much protestation, and he quickly became a fan as well. The trick is to make sure it's not tight enough to actually pinch.

I also had to use it on our female Border collie and it worked wonders. She also never winced or cried. Not once. When she saw me take it off the hook for a walk, she would get all excited, dance and bark, and then sit patiently to put it on, and off we went for a very pleasant and fun walk.

I compare this to the "humane" halter-style collars that bind around the nose, dig up close to the eyes, and jerk the head around with the neck in twisted positions. Perhaps they are not fitted or placed properly? Maybe... but that's my argument about prong collars. I'll take a PROPERLY fitted prong collar (with rounded prongs)any day!

Tracy said...

I agree! The "gentle" leader isn't always so gentle. It made our pit/cane corso bleed. The Easy walk harness was better, but rubbed his skin raw. We are back to the prong and having great results! I have found, though, that having it on more snug (rather than fitting 2 fingers between the collar and the neck)works better. I saw this on another website and thought I'd give it a try. Not sure which way is correct...I guess maybe the way that works best without hurting my dog? Anyway...a happy waggy dog stops any barbaric thoughts and if someone says something I use it as a chance to explain the correct way to use the collar. YAY BadRap!

Donna said...

> Not sure which way is correct...I guess maybe the way that works best without hurting my dog?

Absolutely Tracy!

Every dog is built a little different, so conscientious owners like you can fine tune the fit as needed. As long as the collar isn't sliding down to the lower neck and acting like a harness (like it does when oversized collars slip below the flat collar). Fitted well, it gives enough power steering to help handlers train and socialize around heavy distractions especially.

We really like the micro-prongs since they allow a better all around fit. They have a more delicate look and can easily slip into your pocket if you want to remove it for play time, etc.

It goes without saying that training devices like prongs should be removed when the dog isn't being trained or walked.

Millie said...

<properly chastised, fingers folded and unwagging ;-)

Donna said...

we love you Millie!

Ruth said...

Thank you!

I get flack for using one with my Tibetan Mastiff puppy, but although he understands good leash manners, he's still to young to really have them solid when something distracts him, and he's so big already that I can't stop him by main force (never mind what that kind of force must do to his neck).

The prong collar solved the problem like magic (unlike the easy leader head halter which rubbed his nose raw and made him cry in barely 3 days). He doesn't pull now, even when distracted, and when he hears me jingle it he comes running cause he knows it means I'm going to take him somewhere!

SA said...

I dislike the prong collars because of the extreme possibilities for misuse by uneducated owners.
The techniques shown in the video where the collar is fitted and the dog is then coaxed with positive methods can be just as easily acheived with purely positive methods and for example a flat nylon collar.
However, I dislike choke chains, easy-walk harnesses and gentle leaders just as much. They are all aversive methods and the "reward" it is for the dog to move forward and sniff the next piece of grass is much stronger than the punishment of the aversive training tool. In a worst case scenario the dog will start to associate the negative reinforcement with the handler and want to move away even more.

Here is an example of how you can teach your dog (works with any dog, since you start in a calm environment with few distractions) to be well-mannered on a leash without using aversive tools:

http://www.youtube.com/user/kikopup#p/u/46/ueE1S1k74Ao

Anonymous said...

" I challenge you to consider that part of the high number of pit bull type dogs dying in shelters can be directly connected with a dearth of practical training support in our communities. Society has told their owners that reactive dogs - pit bulls especially - are no good. This is the reality of the SF bay area, where despite an overflow of +R trainers, people with reactive dogs are so desperate for practical help and training that many of their dogs end up dead before they can find someone who won't scold them for considering a prong collar. "

*Clap* A lot of training and a little help from a prong collar (consider it a hearing aid for high-drive dogs) has helped our dog enjoy more freedom than we ever though possible.
She's still Queen Bitch, but with much higher tolerance levels. Now she pays it forward as puppy raiser extraordinarie. Uppity youngins leave this house with exemplary manners.
There's nothing like a good old fashioned "cause mama said so, that's why."

Anonymous said...

@SA: So when I'm working a shelter dog who may not have been out in days, where would I find this "calm environment with few distractions" and will I be able to train said dog quickly enough to get adopted before she is euthanized?

Yvette

Donna said...

If only we could build a world without distractions, the trainers of the world would have no reason to dislike anything. Then again, with no distractions, we might not even need dog collars at all.

Fear of 'aversives' (the easy walk harness, really?) has gotten completely out of hand, to the detriment of dogs. I challenge you to consider that a high number of pit bull type dogs dying in shelters can be directly connected with a dearth of practical training support in our communities. Society has told their owners that reactive dogs - pit bulls especially - are no good. This is the reality of the SF bay area, where despite an overflow of +R trainers, people with reactive dogs are so desperate for practical help and training that many of their dogs end up dead before they can find someone who won't scold them for considering a prong collar. With the exception of the Berkeley city shelter where progressive management accepts any humane training method that can save a life, these dogs are generally the same ones that fail evaluations in other shelters and are marched to the euthanasia room. After so many years of watching this trend, we've become utterly discouraged with the training community's inability or unwillingness to help these good people and their lovely dogs simply because demonstrating proper use of a prong collar will be seen as an aversive and ostracize them from their peers in training circles.

who wouda thunk it?? said...

I got one for my highly reactive pibble. I always thought that when pressure was put on the collar, that the prongs turned into the neck, which they dont. I dont know if it true, but a trainer told me that the mama dog corrects her pups with a gentle pressure from her jaws to the neck. That was his version of the similarity between mama's correction and the collar. Of course it should never be mis-used. I found my boy very tolerant, and very responsive to it.
Donna, what do you think of the trainers theory??

Anonymous said...

@Donna
From Jen & StaffieX Bianca:

i've been debating back and forth for years... 6 of them infact.
Bianca is a massive cave lady on a leash,
Face halters work well, but do 'bug' her.
her skin is very friable and she has gotten red welts from her regular collar if she pulls too much.
do you think a prong would work - or just cause damage to tender flesh.

Ruth said...

I'm not Donna, but I'll weigh in, my local pet store not only sells the prong collars, but also little rubber/plastic caps to go over the tips. Should help keep the damage down on sensitive skin.

I say again, that with my pup I tried the Easy Leader head Halter, I tried no-pull harnesses, we put a TON of work into physical distraction (both with high value treats and using my body to physically interpose between him and his distraction), all with the help of a trainer, but none of it worked in a highly distractive environment with my (non-food driven) dog. I put the prong collar on him and right away he stopped pulling, with in days he'd figured out everyone was much happier if he didn't even TRY to pull, and now (a month or so in) we can walk down a busy street on an almost loose leash (wearing the prong collar).

We have it on the more snug fit as described here, I can fit a little finger between the prong and him. I tried it looser, but with his long fur it wouldn't sit right that way.

Cathy said...

My Jack Russel mix has lovely manners on leash most of the time, but he has his moments where the terrier brain takes over. During one such moment, I was yanked off my feet and fell down a flight of stairs. I hate to think what would have happened if he were a larger dog.

I think of the prong as a 'focus aid' for him, when those darn squirrels run by to taunt him and try to break his concentration.

Boris said...

@Donna,
We resemble one of those 100 you reference in the blog. PC's helped both ends of the leash work through proper handling manners, especially in dog reactive situations. I passed my CGC on a flat collar (w/o even a slip) and still have great leash manners w/o prongs.

Interesting when I do put it on for special situations, we immediately go into our best manners mode. A showing-off pride occurs, like the good team we have become, with no pulling or popping from either end.

Keep educating and inspiring! People and pups are very similar. Do build-upon the fundamentals like mutual respect, yet remember best results occur when you also recognize the individuals needs.

Boris (BADRAP '07, CGC '09)

p.s. Tim's lead handling instruction, most valuable. Chunk vid's great - Elliott's a stage hog, Honk and Sal looks like they got some treat fall-out too.

Kara said...

If a Gentle Leader made a dog bleed, it was not being used correctly. I love Bad Rap, but I don't support aversive/compulsion training methods and prong collars. I have a rescue pit bull and we have gone leaps and bounds without that type of training and without the use of prong collars or the chain link ones. This is my only sticking point with the organization. Otherwise, I appreciate very much the work they do.

Ruth said...

The easy leader rubbed my pup's nose raw. I tried over and over to adjust it so it would fit, and he couldn't pull it off, and he COULD open his mouth all the way (like it says you're supposed to be able to) and it didn't happen. If it was loose enough for him to open his mouth all the way then he could pull it off his nose. If it was snug enough he couldn't pull it off then he couldn't open his mouth all the way AND it rubbed fur off.

I have no doubt they work, I've seen dogs wearing them that clearly are having no problems with them, but it wasn't working with my dog, and frankly wouldn't have worked correctly in my situation anyway once I paid attention to how it worked. A dog that hits the end of a leash hard, is going to injure his neck on an easy leader unless the owner has insane reflexes.

Anonymous said...

@Kara: The Gentle Leader is an aversive training collar. From the manufacturer's own website "The nose loop encircles the dog’s muzzle and applies light pressure in the same manner in which the lead dogs naturally communicate with dogs lower in rank" The only time a dog would do that is to correct the other dog. Basically, a dog wearing a Gentle Leader is being constantly corrected, no matter what he is or isn't doing. If you prefer the Gentle Leader to a prong (that only corrects when a dog pulls) that's fine, but don't fool yourself that it isn't aversive training.

Yvette

Donna said...

Also Kara, BR doesn't teach compulsion training. I think the second video linked in this thread fairly demonstrates our philosophy, methods and techniques. Unfortunately it's hard for some to believe that prongs can be used without resorting to force training, so we offer videos like these freely for information sake.

Regarding nose loops: sadly, we had a little dog in class last week who'd been beaten up pretty bad by other dogs (heavily scarred), and she showed up on a head halter looking like she wanted to dive into the bushes and disappear. She was beyond stressed - having her one main defense from dogs disabled by the head halter must've been extremely difficult for this little war veteran. When she finally lunged at a dog walking by, she yanked her head terribly which added to her stress and discomfort. We grabbed her flat collar to prevent an injury and started working on distraction work, which thankfully she responded to.

Next week, we hope to see her back without the head halter and will start with techniques shown in the second video. The good sams who brought her went home with lots of preliminary homework and were very grateful. Up until now, no one was willing to help the scarred up, lunging pit bull. Will she need a prong? Maybe, maybe not. The point is to find the tool that works best for her so she can join the world of dogs again and so her finders (who are considering keeping her) can have the skills & confidence to enjoy normal, relaxing walks with her. If we decide to use a prong on her, I may be tempted to resort to aversives on any *person* who finger wags at this nice couple and will have to punch them right square in the nose for chastising. Kind people deserve support, especially people who commit to helping the most maligned dogs in our society. :-)

Donna said...

by the way, thanks for the comments, Kara and all.
we love a healthy exchange around here.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for this post, video and your comments. Our little girl is a beat to walk despite 6 obedience classes. She pulls with every ounce of strength. We tried the very typical nylon collar with pull correction; very thin (cutting) nylon collar with a serious "pop" correction which I personally hated, the stop and wait if she pulled method incorporated with our without high value treats without success - gentle leaders, halties, harness with buckle up and/or under, gentle leader harnesses all left her chafed and raw. Gheez, I just wanna enjoy a nice walk with my little princess but she won't have it - insists on dragging me everywhere! I had been toying with trying a prong but was afraid to given her very fine coat. Given the stories of succes above, I'm going to see what is available with a rounded or rubber tipped end and try it. We are not giving up on her but it would be so nice to actually enjoy getting out and enjoying a nice long walk with her. Other than her leash pulling and occaisonal incidents of dog reactivity (not really aggression)and she is great around her classmate pups and brothers at home she's a good girl and this might just be the trick to help us manage this ridiculous pulling. Weight pull champ on our hands - oh yeah!

Kirsten said...

I do agree that the greatest danger with prong collars--or any equipment--is the potential for misuse born of laziness.

The same is true with head halters. I avoided getting one for my highly aroused bully foster because I saw so many dogs clearly uncomfortable with them on...plus I was so put off by the demo I received by a "trainer" to just yank the dogs head with the halter if it wasn't paying attention.

Finally got one, but after two walks my foster's nose was red and swollen. The company is going to send me a piece of Polartec to sew on as a cushion...but in its current state, it is functioning as a pure aversive, and a pretty harsh one.

I've seen so many dogs ignore prong collars completely and just go wheezing full speed ahead with one...wonder if my big brute would even notice? :)

I am hoping that getting him into a reactive dog class this week will be the best thing of all for him!

Thanks for the helpful info!
Kirsten
Follow my foster adventures at www.peacefuldog.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

http://www.dru.org/prongcollar.htm

Good article about using prong collars from Doberman Rescue group.

Rob said...

Perhaps we should ask the dogs what they think of prong collars. I know I had a similar reaction from my biggest dog, a Rottweiler mix who was inclined to pull, pull, pull. Eventually, he started running away at walk time whenever I got out the "Gentle Leader". I since switched to a Martingale collar, and with work (initially with a prong collar), he is now good enough on-leash that I can go running with him.

Marie said...

I respectfully disagree that prongs should be used as a leash training solution. I may not change any minds, but I want to at least officially lodge my opinion for those that agree with me but didn't post.

When the leash training begins without even a leash on the dog, there is no need for physical punishment or force.

I'm that my clients show off their pits without the use of metal devices, and that they've taken the time to invest in their relationship with their dog.

Even more concerning is that a device that causes pain is never appropriate for a reactive dog. Sending a novice handler into the ring with a reactive dog, using a prong instead of good handling and attention result in, as the video shows, a dog that will get corrected by the collar as he lunges. That's not fair to the dog - remember how we need to set up for success?

There are worse things in the dog industry than the use of prongs (although they can be incredibly abusive), but I do want to see highly recognized and honorable associations, such as Bad Rap, promoting investment in the relationship with the dog instead of using a quick fix.

Anonymous said...

Marie, what color is the sky in your world? Is it always rainbows, unicorns and sunshine? Because, here in the real world, people end up with dogs they love but have reactivity issues and bad leash manners. Dogs they got as mature adults and don't know how to handle. Also, here in the real world, volunteers take shelter dogs to classes to make them better behaved and more adoptable - hopefully before the dog's time runs out. So, while I'm sure there in rainbowunicornpuppyland it's great to start leash training without a leash and use no corrections, here in the real world we're just using what seems to work and helps the dogs and their owners and keeps shelter dogs from being euthed before they can get adopted.
Yvette

Brenda said...

Okayyyyy....obviously people have pretty strong feelings about this issue. Makes me marvel that no one has ever stopped me on the street and accused me of being a dog abuser. I wonder if I have a prong collar that is different from others. At the encouragement of a trainer, I put it on my bare upper arm and tightened it. While I felt pressure, I did not feel any pain or pinch at all. And my upper arm isn't furry.

By the way, Chunk is adorable.

Kayt said...

After moving from Washington to Texas, and replacing a yard and 20 acres with a 600 sq ft apartment, with an Alaskan Malamute, my pups and I became 4 times a day walkers. Not having any real significant least training (other than a quick trip to petsmart or the vet), it became clear that we had some work to do. It took me a year of failing with a flat collar, a slip collar, gentle leaders, and easy walk harnesses (all during this time using the same method seen in this video, look at me, check in, etc.) to finally consider a prong collar. I researched for weeks before I talked myself into buying one. As a dog owner (with 4 dogs total) it has been the greatest purchase ever. My malamute (and I!) actually look forward to walks now, and within 2 weeks he had mastered "checking in". It brought a whole new level of focus into the game!

Now do I have prong collars for all my dogs? No, and thank goodness petsmart has an awesome return policy! With one of my pits, he still pulls with a prong collar, but does very well with an easy walk harness.

There are too few of those who love and adore these animals the way they deserved. We cannot afford to create any more divisions with our small numbers. Let's not cut each other down for different training methods and theories. As long as the dogs are being taught to be better canine citizens, and are not being hurt in the process, let's support each other in helping these animals.

Tami Harbolt-Bosco said...

I prefer to not see them on Breed Ambassadors, in classrooms, or on dogs being rehabilitated and needing adoption exposure. If a prong collar is the only option, then this dog probably should not be around children, the fragile, compromised folks anyway. I have had two therapy pit bulls. One was trained 17 years ago in the old way, with a choke chain. I never had to pop it. Sliding the chain always elicited the response from her. My current dog has been trained with positive reinforcement and I can walk her with my pinkie. It depends on the dogs, but think twice before parading a Breed Ambassador around in a choke, prong, or anything other than a regular collar. I still think breed ambassadors are a higher standard, no matter WHAT the breed is.

Donna said...

Tami. We're sorry to know that your distaste for a training collar runs so deep, but everyone has their buttons -- and some buttons are bigger than others!

Angel said...

I just wanted to add that I have a very pull-pull-pull kind of dog, he is a husky mix. We tried everything to get him to walk nice. Treats, getting in his face with attention, atleast 5 different kinds of collars from around the nose and head to around his chest etc. Finally we were about to give up when I said 'No, lets go to a trainer see what they can do.' So I did. I went for a month and a half...everytime I went the trainer told me to get a prong collar and a crate. I fought it. I didn't want to get either. Eventually I got them both. The crate is great by the way, like his own little bedroom. The prong collar, we love it now. At first it kind of scared him, the first few walks were very slow because I was afraid of him getting hurt and I won't lie because he pulled so much he yelped a few times and I would come home and check his neck. We obviously know now that our dog likes to over exaggerate things and yelps and every little thing because hes so spoiled.
But after the first day or so he got the hang of it. We've been using it for almost 5 months and he is so much better. No more sore arms or wrists for me! Now we can walk nicely together for super-long walks and even go on runs. I can walk him through crowds with little to no pulling from him. It's great. I wish we got it sooner. He still kind of pulls because he is just over a year old and really likes other dogs and gets distracted easily but the pulling now I can handle. I recommend the prong collar to anyone having a hard time walking their dog, of course after they have tried some basic training and have tried some other collars.

Miss Anita said...

Thanks for your post. I'm in the position now of choosing to use a GL or a prong collar for my 8 mos old Pitty who has been having some problems in the "walking" area. Dont let the age fool you. He's a wopping 80lbs (maybe more) already. Before it gets to the point of him pulling me to the ground or injuring me, I have to do something. As intimidating as the prong collar looks, after doing some research I decided to go with the prong collar instead. We will see how that goes. Otherwise, Biggs Norman has been a pretty good pitty.

Anonymous said...

The Point of a Prong training collar _ You dog is a wolf" for all purposes- mother uses her bite at he neck for obedience - the collar crates a natural intinct to prevent pulling and help with other aspects- as opposed to the traditional 'choke' collar which can injure you pet- I have just gotten my second shepard - she is one yr- as oppossed to super young - she has been here 72 hrs and with her prong collar she is walking pretty with one finger on the leash at the heel and i never really had to Pull - just stop sit and walk slow- when she got her her owner could not control her a leash at all - pulling her down with - rubbery leash and buckle collar - choking self - correct breed and use is really great i swear - I learned of these collars in Germany- I was a sceptic until i read up and spoke to some trainer and - it works great for me with my shepards as the naturally are are guardian breed.

Ems said...


Whilst I appreciate that a prong collar might well make a previous canine tank turn into an angel on the lead - don't you think that in some cases their use allows owners to put their dog into situations the dog actually isn't yet ready to handle?

If your dog can walk to heel nicely at home and somewhere quiet, giving you his focus when you ask for it - and he CAN'T do that somewhere else with more distraction, don't you think that this suggests more work is required, the dog is not yet ready for that, than that a prong collar is needed?
I have a huge amount of respect for Bad Rap and what they have achieved, but the use of prong collars really disappoints me.

So far, no one supporting the use of prong collars has suggested that they have tried the 'about turn' method, nor 300 peck - though these methods both require the handler to take things at the dogs pace rather than their own which I suspect is why - humane laziness as per usual!

Donna said...

Thanks for your comment Ems. We will have to agree to disagree with your on your assessment of prong collar users as "lazy." That kind of criticism is mean spirited and is exactly why we continue to be very upfront about our acceptance of prong collars as the perfect training tool for select dog personalities.

Anonymous said...

Im just now stumbling across this blog (great, by the way!) And I must say, how disappointing to see folks who would rather see a dog or owner possibly become injured or a behavioral problem allowed to become wise through use of methods that aren't working vs. using a prong collar correctly. They aren't for every dog or every situation, but I've seen dogs that were dubbed "hopeless lost causes" by trainers/behaviorists that truly believed that the only training that was worth doing was positiveR. I own one such dog, and in the time I have had her I have also had 6 other dogs, none of which needed the use of a prong collar. But the proof is in the pudding... If you can get the results you want without a prong collar, that's wonderful! But they exist for a reason, and can be beneficial in helping dogs that otherwise would be given up on.

alewyfe said...

Thanks for this. We have a highly reactive "spoiled rottenweiler" who is slightly better to walk with a prong. We're her fourth (and forever) owners, and she's come a long way since coming to live with us almost a year ago, and we're all definitely learning as we go. Her manners are better but still solidly "in need of improvement". We're tried a lot of methods, and are currently using a prong and slip collar (failsafe backup- sometimes the prong comes apart, especially if she is flipping out at something- bus, cat, other dog, "suspicious" person...). I wonder sometimes if she even FEELS it when she's super excited- she doesn't seem to. And aversive or not, she definitely associates it with going out- "oh boy oh boy oh boy! good things!" When the prong comes out, she is unmistakably thrilled about the walk that it signals, not about any possible discomfort the collar may cause her. I've tried treats and luring, which work at home but not out on walks- everything else is far more interesting than whatever amazing yummy I might have in my pocket. The prong is a tool that helps us work on her leash manners, or at least to manage and control her (she's very strong, and strong-willed!) so that we can walk safely on the streets. Hopefully someday we will graduate to a flat or slip collar, but maybe not... and the prong seems FAR more humane than when we tried walking her without it- she'd wheeze and choke herself and pull my arm out of socket, and our first week together pulled me over on a walk, badly injuring my knee. If she seemed distressed or afraid of the prong, we wouldn't use it... her reaction when we pick it up to put on her is ALL positive.

AnneMH said...

This post was really helpful, thank you. I recently mentioned on a blog that I used a prong collar on my dog, and it created a firestorm. I have an 80-pound German shepherd, a stray I took in when he was young. My family has had dogs my entire life, all adopted or rescued from different situations, but we've never had one that was leash reactive. I tried almost everything else, but it was still nearly impossible to walk him in our neighborhood. Every time he sees another dog, he goes berserk, completely ignoring commands or treats. And the thing is, he is beautifully behaved any other time. I firmly believe that it's in how training aids are used that makes them humane or not, with a few exceptions )I don't like choke or shock collars). You should NEVER jerk on the leash when your dog is wearing a prong collar. That makes them cruel, and it is inhumane. The most my dog ever feels is a pinch to the neck when he moves too far from my side, and that seems far less painful and damaging than a choke or shock collar, which I think should be banned. My dog has never exhibited any signs of discomfort while wearing the collar, but then again, I handle his leash gently. He is praised for wearing it, and associates it with going for a walk, so he gets very excited when I pick it up. It's all in making the experience positive. Not everyone who uses these collars is lazy or cruel. Many of us have tried other methods to no avail. Not all dogs are the same, just as all people are not the same, and what works for one will not always work for another. I do not want to take the chance of him pulling himself and me out into traffic, and feel the prong collar is the safest alternative.

Anonymous said...

FYI prongs used properly do not cause pain. I spent half a dozen training sessions with a professional treat and rewarding before ever putting the prong on my dogs. I tested the prong collar on my arm and my neck (we have less layers of skin than our dogs) and neither correction hurt at all. My vet chastised me for using prong collars so I changed vets.

Anonymous said...

I have a Rottweiler mix and a beagle. I use prong collars on them only when walking. They both know what we expect of them while on a walk. The only time one of my dogs yelped is when we first put it on he ran forward so fast he jerked back a bit. Ever since then he has walked right next to me.

Rhea Machado said...

I have worked as a trainer in shelters as well as out. I never recommend a prong collar be someones first choice in training (or an e-collar for that matter), I always work up to it. If you have a dog that has aggressive tendencies, then yes, causing pain/discomfort or using harsh correction can make the problem worse. Extremely timid dogs shouldn't have harsh training methods either as it causes more fear than trust. Really, you need to know the dog you are working with.
With that said, many people I know that have working dogs, show dogs, and obedience/rally dogs use prong collars. I myself use one when walking my 6 year old hound. She is well trained, knows commands in 2 languages, does rally, but ultimately is a hunting dog so when we are out and she sees prey she can lunge to chase. I had back surgery last year and cant afford to be injured. With the prong correctly placed on her she knows not to do that. When the leash starts to tighten it reminds her that if she lunges she will get a correction. I don't get hurt, and she doesn't have a collar compressing her windpipe or a head halter jerking her head. Anyone using one should be trained to use it properly and should be working with their dog on obedience. The collar is then a back up for your training; a reminder.

Peter Shen said...

Thanks for this post! I have always been super against the use of these collars. I can't stand to seen my pup in pain. Keep up the great work on this blog!

Autowater1 said...

Hey,
I have a pit/greyhound 9 years old
She is a wonderful people dog BUT...
A Crazy Animal Aggressive Dog
Hates other animals and wants to kill them
this makes for tough dog walks
just bought a walk your dog with love harness
works great for walking but as soon as she sees another dog
she still goes nuts spinning and pulling
will a prong collar work I am concerned she will hurt herself ??
Jimmy.

Katerina R said...

I saw ppl who used treats n clicker but end up dragged in street or released leash coz can't physically hold the pulling dog.after I showed them how prong works,they feel very happy and goes for long walks.for most dog,the reward us to pull to squirell,so treats never make sence for them.and I want my clients walk dogs,so after they tried for years these head collars,nopullharnesses and still prefer to skip walk coz bleeding palms re not fun.they re happy with prong,n I explain to switch back n forth from prong to flat collar,so in few weeks most stop use prong