There seems to be some confusion and misinformation being spread about prong collars (also known as pinch collars). Many now believe that they are inhumane and injure dogs. In fact, if they are fit right, prong collars are great for training and are perfectly humane. If they are not fit right, you can cause harm to your dog and the become ineffective as a training tool. A properly fitted prong collar will allow for quick corrections by giving your dog a short pinch (negative reinforcement) that is instantaneous and extremely effective. Imagine a mother correcting her pup with a quick nip as is very common and does not inflict any damage. In the end, prong collars can allow for less training needed to reach desired results – thus less corrections needed overall. Below we will attempt to educate on how to properly fit a prong collar.
Please be advised that for best results you should discuss how to fit a prong collar with a professional.
Prong collars mainly come as a section of chain attached to links which have the prongs on them. The links actually come apart from one another. This allows you to remove as many links as needed to properly size the collar to your dog’s needs. The prongs of the link you need to remove must be pinched and then pushed back through the other link to be removed. You then need to attach the decoupled links together to close the collar’s loop.
When purchasing your prong collar, there may be different sizes available. We suggest you refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on sizing in terms of a small, medium, large, etc. From there, the removal of links will allow for a better custom fit.
Properly fitting your dog’s prong collar is imperative for safe and effective training.
Take it Slow:
Your dog needs to like the collar so you should slowly introduce them to it. Do not just put it on and start training right away. As they acknowledge the collar praise them and give them a treat. Continue to do this so they associate the collar with positive outcomes. You want them to love the collar. Once they are comfortable, try putting the collar on loosely and give praise and treats. Take it off and offer praise and give a treat. Do this several times.
Position is Key:
The prongs need to be positioned under the jaw facing inwards towards the dog’s neck. The martingale leash attachment point should be at the back of the neck facing you to allow for quick and small tugs during your training sessions. Position the attachment point slightly off center back towards the side you will be positioned on.
Keep it High:
For the prong collar to be effective you must keep it high up on the neck at the base of the skull. Almost directly behind the ears and below the jaw line.
Keep it Snug:
Above we discussed sizing the collar appropriately by removing links. When fitting the collar, it must be kept snug to be effective. The collar should not be able to rotate around the dog’s neck. When no pressure is applied to the martingale loop, the collar should not be able to move. Do not make it too tight to the point that your dog shows signs of discomfort when at a relaxed position.
This post is meant to give you an idea on how you should fit your prong collar. However, there are many things to consider when you use this tool in your training. We will save these considerations and proper use for another post. We do want to emphasize that you should consult a professional to ensure the best fit for your dog. Also, only use the prong collar when you are training your dog – it should be removed when you are not actively training. Small correctional pulls on leash should be all that is needed. These corrections are meant to break bad behaviour and not meant to inflict harm.
We assess every dog that comes to us for training and we use the best tools suited for their needs. We are always happy to discuss options with you before you commit to any training with us. Our goal is and always will be a happy and obedient family pet.