Saturday, December 6, 2008

Training Tools - Prong Collar

I know I've already posted about the choke chain and this is a variant of that, but I REALLY want to put up a posting about this. For those of you who are not familiar with it, this picture is a prong collar.

The way it fits is it goes around the dog's neck like a choke chain. The martingale will tighten as the dog pulls and the prongs push on the dogs neck. In theory, it is supposed to teach a dog not to pull.

Now, I need to insert a comment here that if your dog wants to be with you, then he wouldn't be spending all his energy trying to run away from you and pulling on leash, would he?? If your dog is pulling on leash then you have other issues underneath the pulling problem and you should start looking at your relationship with the dog.

Many people feel they need to use prong collars for their dogs to keep them under control (especially large breeds). These collars are often used for dogs that pull on the leash. Used properly, I hear they can be a safe and effective training tool. To use properly, the dog must be able to walk on leash without pulling excessively and without lunging. If they do, you risk damaging your dog. (now, if your dog walks on leash without pulling excessively and lunging then why do you need a prong collar??)

If they are not used properly, this can happen. If the dog lunges or pulls or the owner pulls too hard, the prongs have the ability to enter the animal's neck.

Now, this seems a bit like an oxymoron to me ... if you have a dog that pulls too hard, you may want to get a prong collar, but you can't use the prong if the dog pulls too hard otherwise you may harm your dog ... are you confused yet?

In order to use it safely and effectively, the dog needs to be a NON-puller. So then why would you feel that you need to resort to the prong in the first place??

Obviously, this is a tool I have never used and won't, but I wanted to point it out. I do know owners who swear by it. If you can't figure out how to teach your dog to want to be with you, then why would you think that forcing a dog in this way would make it want to do it any more??


GoLightly said...

My sister has a neighbour with a Goldie. They've used the prong collar since she was a PUPPY. She still pulls like a train. It only teaches them pain, and then to ignore pain.
I hate them

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

Interesting to note that this device was used and the pup still pulls! Thanks for your comment GoLightly. Glad to hear a review from someone who's seen the results.

To me, it just doesn't look like something that works well.

GoLightly said...

It was upsetting for me to watch. These types of breeds, goldies, labs, etc. have developed very high tolerances to pain, IMO. It makes them easier going, and this is according to Temple Grandin.
I worked with the goldie a bit when I was out west visiting sister. I used Cesar's techniques:)
I ran with her, until SHE was tired, and voila, she stopped pulling. That she CAN pull on a prong, is very sad.
You should watch the Cesar episode where he's working with a dog-walker with two overly exuberant Goldies. He found them more tiring, and exasperating, than the strongest of the bully breeds. I had to laugh, cause I knew exactly what he meant:) I frankly find dogs that can't do anything but love you as kinda annoying.

Splash said...

I use this type of collar when I am walking > 2 Labs. They might see a squirrel. They might suddenly start to pull. They weigh more than me.

It's a safety thing.

That being said, if I have someone in my beginning class (the class my club puts folks in with their untrained shelter dogs), and the human part of the team WON'T loosen up on the lead, well, I would rather see that team with a pinch collar than a choke chain. Head collars work too, but not all dogs will tolerate them. If the partnership is new (as with the just adopted dog), I would rather keep the scene calm and let them build the relationship than deal with a struggle over adapting to a head halter.

It's just another tool in the arsenal. Like all tools, they can be used for good or evil.

Anonymous said...

I personally love these. How they should be honestly used is just like a martingale- it just has a bigger 'bite'. If used properly, you should never see the prongs enter the skin.
And they aren't meant to be used as an anti-pulling tool, for the reasons meantioned. Their purpose is as a correcting tool for dogs with high drive, that can go into a frenzy and choke themselves out on a regular choke, but won't feel a martingale. They are used frequently by schultzhund trainers.

BTW, most GOOD prong collars have caps on the prongs, to prevent penetration of the skin.