Proper Prong Collar Use and Fit

Gunbil German shepherd puppy in motion

The pinch/prong collar is NOT for every dog and/ or every owner/trainer. Use the minimum collar to get the response you want from your dog. Be it bungee, cord, slip, strap or prong. You should be able to get the response you want from your dog if you are using the right tools and techniques. You should be able to control and work with your dog without constantly 'reminding' him what to do... (nag nag nag nag, jerk jerk jerk pull) Nagging a dog on any collar does nothing to train your dog.

If you are nagging then the dog is IGNORING your corrections! All you are doing is effectively training the dog to ignore you. (this goes hand-in-hand with nagging 'sit-sit-sit-sit-SIT!') We all remember what nagging does to us. Most of us tune out, ignore or fight back against nagging. Dogs are much the same in this regard.

The prong collar is made of interlocking links, each with two blunt prongs that pinch the dog's skin when the collar is tightened. Unlike the chain slip collar, it puts even pressure around the neck by pinching the skin in a band about a half inch wide. No pressure is put directly on the trachea with the prong collar. The prong collar may look intimidating or as if it could be a favorite of Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition. It isn’t. In point of fact it is less likely to cause injury to the animal than a slip/choke or strap collar. However the prong collar is different and requires that you learn a slightly different approach to handling your dog.

There a two basic types of prong collars. The standard prong collar and the quick release. I don’t recommend the quick release type for large, strong, or intractable dogs as the typical quick release point is a very weak point in these collars. As well don’t choose a prong collar that does not have a swivel attachment ring. Variations of these two do exist.

In selecting a prong collar choose the correct collar for your dog. Collars with “large” prongs should be used on large dogs (over 70 pounds), have long hair, or have thick skin. “Micro” collars are available for small high intensity dogs, Jack Russell Terriers and Toy Poodles immediately come to mind.

The fit of the collar is of primary importance. The length/diameter of the prong collar is adjustable, remove links to shorten the collar and add links to increase the length of the collar. Fit should be such that you can slip one adult finger width under the prong. It should be snug, but not tight, midpoint high on the neck.

NEVER EVER slide a prong collar over your dogs head. One eyed or blind dogs lose a lot in their quality of life. I caution letting any dog run free wearing a prong (or slip collar) unless under close supervision. While the prong collar is less likely to choke your dog if it hangs up on obstacles; ie brush, sticks, fencing; the action of the prong collar will deter your dog from pulling itself free. I have seen a dog in a slip collar jump through brush , a branch got stuck in the ring effectively hanging the dog.

Don’t use the prong collar with a strap collar in place, it can easily interfere with the proper function of the prong collar. Place the prong collar around the dogs neck, switch the lead from the strap collar to the prong collar, remove the strap collar and put the strap collar in your pocket or pack. If you wish a safety in case of the prong collar failing, thread a nylon slip collar through the links of the prong collar and attach it to the same lead.

NEVER EVER slide a prong collar over your dogs head.
Don’t use the prong collar with a strap collar in place.
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