Properly Using a Prong Collar on Dogs

There are several different collars you can use to train dogs. One of the most popular collars used is the “Choke Collar,” a metal-linked collar that does what its name implies. It will choke a dog when he /she increases tension on the lease. A prong collar is a training collar used to teach dogs leash manners. A prong collar differs from a chock collar because a prong collar has prongs designed to simulate the nipping sensation a dog feels similar to when a mother grabs her young by the scruff of the neck to correct behavior, while a choke collar chokes the dog. Pronged collars are designed to give a correction to a dog when he exhibits negative behavior. This article explains how to use a prong collar on dogs properly.

Choosing a Collar

Consult with a certified dog training professional. A training collar is a training device & only to be used for that purpose and not used without consulting with a professional dog trainer on the proper use of the prong collar. It is not an everyday collar for your dog.

  • A certified dog trainer will likely have experience using a prong collar or choke chain to discipline a dog. If misused, prong collars can be ineffective or even painful.
  • A prong collar is used as part of a long-term training process that teaches your dog that pulling is not appropriate & unacceptable behavior. It should not be used for walks that occur outside of training time. Casually using the collar for walks does not teach your dog pulling is inappropriate. It only teaches him pulling while wearing the prong collar is inappropriate. Talk to a trainer about how to properly use a prong collar on dogs.

Purchasing a Collar

Mixed feelings exist about Prong collars because of the potential pain to dogs.

  • Quality prong collars gently pinch the loose skin around the dog’s neck, providing negative reinforcement in pulling and misbehaving. A good collar never punctures your dog’s skin.
  • The right size is important. Weight distinction divides the collar size, so know how much your dog weighs before selecting a collar. If you buy a collar labeled “For 100-120 pounds” for a 75-pound dog, this is far more likely to cause your dog pain and discomfort than a properly sized collar.
  • Buy a collar from a certified trainer or a certified trainer’s website. Prong collars sold at chain stores like Petco are often not as well made, and the prongs have sharp rather than rounded edges. This results in puncturing rather than pinching your dog’s skin, which can lead to aggression during training sessions.
  • Never buy a prong collar with rubber-tipped prongs. Many people think such an investment is more ethical, but the rubber can rub against your dog’s hair, causing pain. Metal, on the other hand, moves smoothly over a dog’s coat.

Make Sure You Know How to Fit the Collar Properly.

  • A prong collar should sit right behind the ears and under the jaw. Placing the collar lower than this will make the collar ineffective.[4]
  • The part of the collar that hooks onto a leash should be facing upward, just behind a dog’s ears. Never clip the collar below a dog’s jaw or on the side of the neck.
  • The collar should fit snugly as it doesn’t move around from the proper place. If the collar is loose, consider removing one of the prongs.

Use for Only an Hour at A Time.

A prong collar is a training device and not designed for long-term use. Furthermore not for casual walks or outings.

  • Use the collar for no more than one hour and only during designated training sessions. Using the collar any longer could irritate your dog’s neck.
  • It is dangerous to use a prong collar as your primary walking collar. Dogs learn by association. If your dog learns to associate pain with pulling in the long term, he’ll also learn to associate negativity with events that cause him to pull. Most friendly dogs pull in response to seeing other people and animals.  A prong collar used on every walk, otherwise teaches your dog to associate people and animals with pain. With time, he’ll become timid and even aggressive in others’ presence and might even begin growling and biting.

Use Short Tugs to Correct Negative Behavior

Don’t ever  allow a dog to tug on a prong collar freely. Use Prong collars during training sessions only to briefly correct behaviors.

  • Use short, firm tugs when your dog pulls or lunges in response to stimuli. Then, release the pressure. Your dog should let up when he feels the pull, and it’s unlikely you’ll need much more than a quick tug.
  • Prong collar mimics another dog biting. A nip on the back of the neck from another pack member signifies a dog has stepped out of line and needs to behave. Constantly pulling or putting pressure on a dog’s neck does not simulate a biting effect but rather causes a constant negative sensation. You do not want your dog to associate walks with pain.

Not Use a Prong Collar for A Puppy

Prong collars are designed for larger, untrained dogs in order to teach leash manners. Usually the last resort for dogs whose pulling problems not resolved through other means. Puppies are new to walking and should not start with the most intense level of training collar. This will only succeed in scaring a puppy. Also, prong collars are not safe until at least 5 or 6 months of age and, even then, they are not recommended unless other training methods have been exhausted.

Ceasing Use

As stated, use prong collars for training. Preferably use them under the supervision of a certified dog trainer. A better option for walking would be harness or gentle leader as they discourage heavy pulling but do so without putting unnecessary pressure on a dog’s neck.

Prong collars should not stay on a dog’s neck like a regular collar.

  • Prongs can easily catch on objects leading a dog to become ensnared. If they pull too hard, they can choke and pass out. Prong collars can even be fatal if you leave them on without supervising your dog.
  • It’s not really necessary to leave a prong collar on when you’re not training your dog. Unlike a conventional collar, prong collars do not contain tags or identifying information. Use them to train a dog. otherwise, serve no other purpose.

Stop using the collar once your dog no longer needs it. Do not use prong collars meant for long-term use. Working with a certified trainer, get your dog to a place where he has learned proper leash manners, and no longer pulls. Once your dog has mastered good walking techniques, you no longer need to use the collar.

The Bottom Line

Some people try and put a collar by slipping it over the head. This is the wrong method. The right way to do these activities is by pinching one of the links and pulling it apart and reconnecting the collar once around the dogs neck.

  • Pinch a link, unhook, and keep each end in each hand.
  • Place the prong collar behind the ears and under the jaw.
  • Reconnect the link to put on the collar on the dog’s neck.
  • Put one side of the link on the other side of the connecting link.
  • Squeeze the link with the thumb until you hear a ticking sound.
  • Use your thumb and put pressure on the link to line up both prongs.
  • Simply pinch the link to take off the collar from the dog’s neck.

As for using a prong collar with your dog walker, rest assured that Barkly walkers will be familiar with prong collars. It is still always a good idea to notify your walker that you are using a prong collar before their first walk with your dog so that they can be prepared.

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