A blog about positive dog training

Category: Dog ownership (Page 1 of 2)

About prong collars and why you shouldn’t use them.

Well here we go. It’s a really “hot” subject as there are still many dog owners and dog “trainers” that think that these devices are a good way of “training” their dogs. But let’s get on with it and make things straight.

Prong collars, pinch collars and choke collars should be avoided at all cost!

What is a prong collar?
Prong collar (also referred to as pinch, or choke collar) is a device that has metal prongs on it designed to cause pain and discomfort to the dog.

Aversive dog trainers will pretty often use prong or pinch collars in order to “correct” dog’s behaviour, essentially by causing him pain any time he misbehaves or pulls on the lead.

The dog pulls on the lead – YANK – the dog stops pulling. He tries again – YANK – he stops pulling. Great isn’t it? We can get a dog to stop pulling in 5 minutes, right?


The only thing that’s “great” about it, is that it is a great example of negative reinforcement.

You did nothing to address the root of the issue! The only reason your dog stopped pulling is because you caused him pain. Now think how would you feel if someone was causing you pain every time you misbehaved as a child? What kind of person would that make you to be? Think of it. Does it ring a bell? Well if it doesn’t maybe this will:

Leash “corrections” that are given on these collars can cause behavioural issues such as fear and aggression.

You might say “but if I use a prong collar in a right way it will not cause any pain to my dog”

This is also wrong. If they wouldn’t cause discomfort or pain, they wouldn’t work at all. Well, unless you believe in magic.

The science will tell you, that the only reason they work is because they are using two concepts of operant conditioning. That is:

  • Positive Punishment  – the dog is receiving something it dislikes after it does a behaviour (discomfort or pain), and
  • Negative Reinforcement – the pain/discomfort is removed when the dog is doing the correct thing.

So there is no “right way” of using a prong collar.

It has also been proven that this methods are less effective than positive reinforcement methods.

You may ask “OK, so what if I have a strong, heavy, “stubborn” dog?”.

The answer is simple, and works with small dogs and puppies too.

Use a front clip harness (I recommend “Fit Into Everyway” harness, that you can buy here, or a “Perfect Fit Harness” that you can buy here), this will give you more control than any type of neck collar.
Front clip harness works because if the dog tries to pull, where the leash is hooked causes the front end of the dog’s body to be turned back toward you. Front clip harness will take away most of the dog’s leverage.

Use positive reinforcement training to teach your dog what you wan’t him to do.

Check out the info graphics below:



Summing up.

  1. Prong collars are not a good training tool and no matter how you use them, if you want them to be effective you will cause pain to your dog.
  2. Training your dog with negative reinforcement methods is less effective than when using positive reinforcement.
  3. Instead of using a prong collar use a front clip harness! It will give you more control over your dog and you will be able to show him what you want, using positive reinforcement.

I will be writing a post soon about lose leash walking. Subscribe to be the first to read it.

Remember – stay positive about training your dog!

Top 5 books on dog training.

1.The Power of Positive Dog Training”.

This is my absolute favourite for the beginners. In The Power of Positive Dog Training” the author and dog trainer Pat Miller offers a six-weeks step-by-step positive reinforcement dog training program focused on building a healthy relationship with your dog. You’ll learn about your dog’s body language, how to start clicker training, or how to use a diary to track progress.

2. “Reaching the Animal Mind.
Karen Pryor is the founder of clicker training. In “Reaching the Animal Mind she takes us on a journey into the canine brain and explains why clicker training works and the science behind it.

3. “On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals

Expert on canine body language, Norwegian dog trainer and behaviourist Turin Rugaas will help you to recognise, and understand dog body language. Reading “On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals you will learn signals dogs use to avoid conflict, invite play, and communicate a wide range of information to other dogs and people.

“Control unleashed
Leslie McDevitt’s versatile “Control unleashed program is designed to help “dogs with issues” learn how to relax, focus, and work off-leash reliably in either stimulating or stressful situations. If you have a challenging dog this is a must read!

5. “Total recall

“Total recall is yet another must have, especially if you want to teach your dog one of the most important behaviours in your dog’s life – recall. Pippa Mattinson gives you a solution to your recall problems in easy to follow, simple steps.


What are your favourite dog training books, and why? Leave us a comment!



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