I recently came across a conversation where someone was saying that they are tired of all the pulling and plan on investing in a prong collar for their dog. Yes, the prong collar allows for maximum control with very little training. I’ve seen plenty in use, a couple tugs on the prong collar is usually enough to remind everyone to keep going forward. I have also seen my share of owners whose dogs are hanging at the end of the leash while wearing a prong collar. Yank, Yank, Yank and the dog doesn’t even turn around. What has this dog learned? To keep on ignoring his owner.
There is a general belief among dog owners, that dogs should somehow just know how to walk nicely on a leash. That’s why, instead of recognizing our dog’s lack of leash manners as a sign he needs more instruction and guidance, we get agitated by the constant pulling on leash. As a dog owner, the joy of a nice walk is like no other. I want my dog to enjoy being with me instead of threatening with pain (yes, prong collars are painful) to obey. If they were not painful, they wouldn’t work.
Here is where prong collars will fail you every time:
1)They do not teach your dog what TO DO!
Collar corrections do not tell your dog what do. If you’ve been using collar corrections without any significant behavior changes, it’s likely your dog does not understand what is being expected of him. Prong collars essentially shut down behavior rather than encouraging/teaching new or more compatible behaviors.
2) Causing pain can make dogs aggressive
There are some pretty serious possible side effects to prong collars including severe injury, increased anxiety and increased aggression. A determined dog lunging after a squirrel can tune out not only your voice, but also the physical pain of his prong collar digging into his neck.
3) Your dog may associate you with pain
Many people say they have tried positive reinforcement only to say it doesn’t work. This can happen for several reasons: inconsistency, incorrectly implementing the methods, not following through in the long term and more. I’m not saying prong collars don’t get the job done, they do, but the potential consequences of aggression, fear, pain, and mistrust are too risky for me.
As with anything, the magic is in the handler . If you feel a prong collar is your only choice, then so be it, but as a dog trainer I’m here to tell you that that there are better ways to help your dog walk nicely where pain is not included. Invest in a no pull harness, head halter or martingale collar. Your dog will thank you.