Love To Hate It, Hate To Love
No prong collar will ever win a prize as as a work of art.
In fact, it looks more like an instrument of torture than
anything else. And in untrained hands, it can be just that. So
why is it that the ASPCA endorses the use of prong collars,
with some caveats?
What Is a Prong
describes the prong collar (also called
pinch collar) as "a series of chain links with blunted
open ends turned towards the dog's neck so that, when the
collar is tightened, it pinches the naturally loose skin
around the dog's neck".
Unlike slip collars, prong collars have a limited circumference
which limits how much they can constrict a dog's neck. The dog
pulls on his leash, feels the pressure of the blunted links
against his neck, and quickly stops pulling.
Cons of the Prong
- Prong collars look scary and are often viewed as mere
instruments of torture;
- Requires very clear understanding of how to fit and use
properly (ASPCA recommends use under supervision of a
Certified Professional Dog Trainer);
- Ineffective and even painful if used or fitted
- Use on some dogs can cause serious behavior problems or
exacerbate existing ones such as fear and aggression;
- Cheaper prong collars can fall apart if the dog shakes
his head, so a backup collar may have to be used to retain
control of the dog;
- If the chain gets twisted, the dog can only be released
manually if the swivel prong collar is used, whereas the
quick release prong collar has a snap to facilitate
- Unless removed promptly after dog training or walking
exercise, there is a chance that a dog could get his paw or
jaw stuck in the collar or that the collar could get
entangled in something and strangle the dog. The same could
happen if dogs wearing pinch collars were to start playing
or fighting, the main reason prong
collars are not allowed in dog training
Pros of the Prong
- Little strength needed to get the dog to pay attention
compared to a flat buckle collar;
- The limited circumference of the prong collar means
that constriction is limited, as opposed to a choke
- Pressure on the neck is spread out over a larger area
than with choke chains, and even most buckle collars;
- A prong
collar with quick release snap allows for
faster and more efficient release of the dog compared
to a flat buckle collar;
- A hard pulling dog is more likely to gag or choke and
get a damaged throat from receiving repeated hard
corrections wearing a flat buckle (and even worse, a choke
collar) than a mild correction from a prong collar;
Who Benefits From Using A
A prong collar may end up being a more humane solution for
some dogs, always provided it is used properly, which is why
the ASPCA endorses the use of prong collars under the
supervision of a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT).
The Jekyll-and-Hyde canine, calm one minute and bursting
into action the next, will quickly acquire better control of
himself and quit putting himself and his owner at risk.
A gentle pull is likely all a disabled person will need for
her dog to remember good manners.
A small person will quickly and easily be able to regain
control of a large dog and keep them both safe and sound.
Consider how many good but unruly dogs are euthanized daily,
just because they were too hard to handle, and decide wisely
whether a prong
collar is right for you and your dog.