Prong Collar

The Prong Collar is one of the oldest training collars. Used as part of a behavior correction training program, it allows an owner to easily control their dog’s behavior. While it may at first look like some sort of medieval torture device, they are designed to offer safe corrections and punishment when used properly.

The Basics

The Prong Collar, also known as the pinch collar, is a series of chain links with blunted prongs that point inwards towards the dog’s neck. The Prong Collar designed to have a limited circumference which restricts how far it can contract. The collar works by applying a quick pinch pain in order to correct a dog’s behavior. The Pinch Collar is a safer alternative to the choke collar, because the pinch is designed to replicate how a mother would bite down on her pup as punishment. This collar, although it looks threatening, is safer and has less potential for injury than the choke chain.

* As with the choke collar, some current trainers have begun advocating against the use of the Prong Collar because of a potential for damage to a dog’s neck or trachea. However, trainers still use this collar with success and contend that many of the problems associated with its use are due to incorrect use and not the collar itself. Because of this fact, they do not recommend this collar for inexperienced trainers. The decision on whether or not to use this particular collar will ultimately come down to you, the owner, but it is important to consider these potential safety concerns when deciding how to train your dog and what equipment you will need.

Pros

- Easy way to correct dog’s behavior

- Safer and less damaging corrections than the Choke Chain

Cons

- Prongs can become detached and collar can pop off

- Can damage dog’s neck and trachea if fitted or worn improperly

 

Fitting the Collar

In order to ensure safe use when using a prong collar, make sure that the collar is sized and worn properly. Failure to do so can increase the risk of damage to your dog’s neck or trachea. According to trainers, many of the problems associated with prong collars are due to incorrect use and these collars can be safe when used correctly.

Prong Collars are sized differently than other collars. Most collars are purchased in terms of length, for example a Choke Collar could be purchased at 22 inches long. However, Prong Collars are ordered by size of the prong and then fitted specifically for your dog by adding or removing links from the collar. It is necessary to add or remove links so that the Prong Collar fits snugly behind the dog’s ears and up underneath the jaw line. When the collar is worn properly, the links of the chain will be underneath the dog’s throat and the prongs will be around the back of the dog’s neck.

 

Prong collars are made to be put on and taken off by unhooking the links and unsnapping the collar from around your dog’s neck. Do not try slipping the collar over the dog’s head and then moving it down the neck. This is not how the collars are made to be put on and can injure your dog.

Prong collars have been known to pop off at times and so trainers recommend having the dog wear an oversize Buckle Collar or Choke Collar over the top of the Prong Collar and attach the leash to both in order to prevent the dog from potentially escaping.

How it is Used

The Prong Collar is designed to work with the behavior correction training method. It allows the owner to pull on the collar and pinch the dog’s neck when he or she is misbehaving. The pinch of the collar is designed to be safer than the correction of a choke collar, because the prongs spread the punishment out on a larger area. The pinch is supposed to resemble the bite a mother would use to punish her pup.

This collar teaches a dog through punishment. When a dog misbehaves, they will receive a pinch from the collar as punishment. They will learn to not misbehave again in order to not receive another pinch. For example, when a dog tries to pull on a walk, they are pinched by the prongs on the collar and this will stop and correct their behavior. The dog will learn to not pull while walking in the future in order to avoid the pain from the collar.

When to Use

The Prong Collar has been recommend for use by trainers that may not be strong enough to control their dog with other methods. If an owner is having trouble controlling a stubborn dog with a milder training collar, some trainers recommend using the prong collar as part of a more forceful training method. By simply locking your arm in place when walking the dog, the pinch of the Prong Collar will cause the dog to slow down and stop pulling.

The prong collar is also recommended for trainers that end up constantly choking their dog when using a choke chain. Repeated choking from a choke chain is potentially very damaging to the throat and neck and can lead to aggressive behavior. The Prong Collar has less potential for damage and provides an easier way to correct a dog’s behavior.

According to trainers, the Prong Collar is best used on dogs with thick fur and a thick neck, like a German Sheppard.  It should not be used on any dog that is younger than six months or any dog that has previously had a neck or trachea injury. These collars should not be used by inexperienced owners or children.

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