Recently I came across an old article about how Amazon UK had pulled dog prong collar products after some public pressure about the hazards of using these tools.
Yes I used the word tool.
In some of the arguments against using a prong collar, we see evidence of what kind of damage they do to a dog. In fact I used to feel quite strongly against the use of prong collars, but my view of them was very narrow, considering my experiences with them.
Those experiences stem from seeing how dog owners used these collars incorrectly, as full-time collars, leaving them on their dogs for way too long. (When you do that, the dog gets more immune to the discomfort levels from the device.) One day I was convinced how correct I was about the evil of these collars when I had to break up a “fight,” where one dog got its toe stuck in the prongs of another dog’s collar. It looked fearsome as one dog screamed and the other one reacted. To the uninitiated person, it looked bad, but many folks recognized the situation for what is was… a bad effect of leaving one of these collars on their dog while it interacted with other dogs.
I received a few scratches and bites while I stepped in and freed up the dog’s toe, but all was pretty much OK after that.
We’ve also heard about how these collars have had to be removed from dogs necks after getting embedded in their necks. But from what I can tell or read, many kinds of collars need removing from dog necks, not just prong collars.
Still, they seemed harsh to me.
Then I met a trainer who sat me down and taught me how to correctly engage these collars and that when used properly, these tools can be very useful.
I have a dog whose drive is so strong that absolutely nothing works on him. Nothing. But with very very little nudging from me and just a slight level of pressure from a prong collar, he keeps in step with me rather than charging ahead down the road.
I don’t have to haul back or put my body weight into it, it just applies just enough pressure to help me control him.
Part of the trick is to only use it as a training tool and not a full-time collar. Part of the problem is that people use them as full-time collars. That they sometimes tend to haul back and crank down on the leashes to effect their control rather than using them as they should be used.
The sad part is that these collars can be mis-used and folks run with these examples of why these are bad products. But then again how many dogs are put to sleep in shelters because people don’t understand how to train their dogs or learn their own sets of skills or tools to use when interacting with their dogs?
Did you know that …
- A prong collar is a limited slip collar.
- It cannot be put on backwards.
- A prong collar requires very little force or pressure.
- A prong collar distributes the pressure evenly around the neck.
This piece is not about trying to prove or disprove that this or any other collar is better than the other ones like Martingale collars (on Amazon), various harnesses, gentle leader or choke chains.
This is just one person’s perspective, who, once shown the proper methods of using this tool, had his opinion completely changed about the product after years of blind judgement that had no merit. And you must be careful when you do your research. There are so many “resources” out there that seem extreme, in either direction. I am only relating my journey to where I am now.
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