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on Livestock Guardian Dogs and small farm life…

Pinch me, I’m dreaming….

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What do you think of when you see this?

hermspringer.com

hermspringer.com

This?

hermspringer.com

hermspringer.com

How about this?

il_570xN.268312453

…or this?

leerburg.com

leerburg.com

What were the first words that popped into your head when you looked at the photos?  If you’re anything like me, you thought, “Oh, a prong collar.  Another prong.  A dog with a prong on.  Oh look, I wonder what that gorgeous dog is looking at so intently.  Maybe a tug? Maybe some food?”  If you’re like many other people on social media these days, you saw the first picture and your brain short circuited.

It seems that we’ve gotten to the place in dog training history where it is no longer enough to judge a training protocol or tool by what kind of results it has or how the dogs who have been trained with it behave.  We have moved past a results based approach and reserving our judgement for those techniques that clearly produce a fearful or unstable dog to a place where we shoot things down before they can even get past the gate.  

dog-games-co-uk

dog-games-co-uk

If you’ve spent any time on Facebook or on other online social media forums in training circles, you’ve likely seen the above picture around.   There is no text on it apart from a call to ban the collar pictured, but the message couldn’t be clearer.  Prong collars cause massive, horrible wounds to dogs’ necks.   Strangely enough, to those who use or have used prong collars for training, this is a bit like showing a picture of a set of stairs beside one of a person at the bottom with a broken leg.   Certainly it could happen, but a) people use stairs every day while managing not to break their limbs and b) it’s quite obvious to even the youngest of us that something went terribly, horribly wrong to produce such a result.  All emotional responses aside, I have brainstormed with others as to what could have possibly happened to the dog in the above picture and the only scenarios we can come up with to explain such an oddity are that either the prong collar was left on and became embedded with growth, that it was somehow sharpened, causing wounds, or that the dog had some kind of reaction to the metal in the collar, leading to areas of inflammation and secondary infection.   None of these explanations correlate in any way to typical, normal use of the collar in question.   This picture lends itself to the notion of prong banishment about as much as a worldwide ban on stairs due to their risk of injury – clearly not something we’d ever consider rational.   

Let me tell you some honest facts about prong collars.  Prongs work on the same system as a martingale or limited slip in that they can only restrict so far due to their design.  Unlike a choke or slip which has unlimited restriction, prongs cannot possibly choke a dog.  The points on a prong are rounded, not sharp.  I’ve had one on my arm and even after pulling hard on it, I felt only discomfort and no pain.  At rest, I couldn’t feel much at all and it was quite comfortable.  Prongs are meant for use with the pressure/release system of training, a system that has long been in use for all kinds of training with animals.  Pressure and release simply means adding pressure to the equation and the animal moves to release the pressure.  Prong points work to amplify the pressure in the same way a person finds poking another with their fingers more effective than trying to move them with a flat hand.  It concentrates the pressure, allowing the person adding it to use less force and yet to be more effective in their message.  Prong collars are meant to be used with the minimum of force.

historians.org   I’d like to propose a word for the above picture: propaganda.  According to the dictionary,  the word ‘propaganda’ means:  “ideas or       statements that are often false or exaggerated and that are spread in order to help a cause, a political leader, a government, etc. ”      You’re familiar with it; it is a ploy often used by extremist groups to promote their cause.  Pairing shocking images with a call to action   is a tried and true method of triggering an emotional response in people.  Leaders of all stripes and from all niches know that if you can   get people mad about something, you can get them to act.  If you can get people to respond when you want them to; in other words, if    you can create a Conditioned Emotional Response (CER) to an image or phrase and then pull that string when you desire – you become   very powerful indeed.  Never mind if what you showed them or told them to create this CER was based on verifiable fact or not.          Never  mind if what people are being shown is the whole story or just a part.  If someone somewhere actually had this happen to them,  in  whole or in part, you can create the association and use it to further your own agenda.  I don’t know about you, but I resent being  treated like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, only being shown what the man behind the curtain wants me to see.   I much prefer to make  up my own mind.  

Now, I’m quite aware that not only will most people not read through this entire post due to rage over the subject  (CER, much?) but  others will only read it so that they can share it and cry that I am just another abusive tool defender.  I’m going to  ignore those people  for a moment and talk to the person who sincerely asks, “But, hasn’t it been proven that the prong collar is abusive and not needed?”.   The short answer to the first is “No, not if used properly, which applies to most everything.” and to the second, “It depends.”

Full disclosure, I used a prong in the past.  I don’t use one now, but it has nothing to do with the tool itself and the general notion that it’s abusive.  I don’t believe it is.  In fact, I believe it’s much more kind and humane than a choke or slip and can be kinder than a flat collar when used for restraint.  I simply don’t use one because I have no need for it.  I abandoned the prong as part of a larger move to learn about +R methods.  I learned that I could teach so much of what the prong did for me previously without it, and with better results.   I learned to use a tool that is just as powerful called Reward.  I am still learning about it, and likely always will be – and I love it.  But, and this is a BIG but, I don’t typically work with high drive dogs.   Why does this matter, you ask?   It matters because the vast majority of prong collar proponents in training circles make their living working with high drive dogs.  They do sports where having dog with a propensity for high, focused arousal is a necessity.  They work with dogs that most of us love to watch, but don’t ever want to live with.   They use prong collars day in and day out and the good ones don’t have dogs who are shut down, fearful or out of control.  Quite the opposite in fact, they have dogs just like the one in the 4th picture above.  They have dogs who are happy, controlled, engaged.  They use the prong as a way to communicate with a dog who cares nothing for any external reward, but who is getting an extreme internal reward for their state of arousal.  The prong is a way to say, “Hey, you, I’m over here, let’s train.”, nothing more and nothing less.  Most people who identify as +R trainers will scoff at the idea that food couldn’t work with these dogs, and to a point they are right.  This is exactly why food has become a fixture in the traditional training arena and has produced what are labelled “Balanced” trainers, not to, as some positive trainers claim, make a political move to become more acceptable to an “enlightened” public.   Skilled and accomplished trainers like Micheal Ellis have worked hard to promote kind and gentle training with the use of food as a non negotiable in training.   We fool ourselves if we think that it can call every dog off of a rabbit or a car, however, and we also fool ourselves if we think that uber management and high restriction is a viable solution either.

I realize there are accomplished trainers who have achieved a great deal with higher drive dogs without using aversive tools.  I also am very aware that in the current political climate in dog training, those same trainers would choose to keep their opinions to themselves if they thought that the tools were useful for some dogs or for some goals in training for fear of reprisal both professional and private.  The result of this is that the propaganda machine gathers steam virtually unchecked.  When we are afraid or reluctant to question the prevailing wisdom whether it makes sense to us or not, we are in very frightening territory indeed.    The current call to live in our heads where all things are equal, black and white, instead of the real world where multiple variables create all shades of grey is opening up a huge cavernous gap in dog training.

I have no problem if I’m wrong, and to be honest, I have met very few people who use a prong collar who aren’t open to learning a different and more effective way if there is one.   These people care very much for their dogs and their client’s dogs, and are justifiably offended by the propaganda that paints them as cruel and abusive.  If positive training truly is positive, there should be no place for assumptive judgments,  and if it is truly globally effective, there should be no need for censorship.  It’s long past time to educate ourselves, admit our limitations and above all, walk the talk.

war-propaganda.org

Author: westcoastdog

Writings about whatever the fuck strikes my fancy.

147 thoughts on “Pinch me, I’m dreaming….

  1. absolutely fantastic article!!!! Well done!

    • Stephanie Hooks

      Sorry, guys, this is total bullshit…this would only happen if you sharpened the points YOURSELF AND THEN PUT THE collar on SO TIGHT and THAN GAVE CONTINUALLY CORRECTIONS/ BASICALLY ~ TORTURIST ” HANGING JERKS ” in the air, to create this type of bloody mess. This makes me sick. As a professional trainer, owner and lover of all animals..further one who lives her life since the age of eight without eating meat, in honor of them ( simply my own choice..I don’t play it on other’s ) There is a place for pinch collars and there is a reason. But, you most no how to use them, when to use them, what dog they should ABSOLUTELY be used on..and most importantly, what BRAND OF collar you are USING. IN OTHER WORDS, Talk or. hire a Professional. Don’t post Pollution. It’s an injustice to all of us in the dog world.Stephanie Hooks Sorry, guys, this is total bullshit…this would only happen if you sharpened the points YOURSELF AND THEN PUT THE collar on SO TIGHT and THAN GAVE CONTINUALLY CORRECTIONS/ BASICALLY ~ TORTURIST ” HANGING JERKS ” in the air, to create this type of bloody mess. This makes me sick. As a professional trainer, owner and lover of all animals..further one who lives her life since the age of eight without eating meat, in honor of them ( simply my own choice..I don’t play it on other’s ) There is a place for pinch collars and there is a reason. But, you most no how to use them, when to use them, what dog they should ABSOLUTELY be used on..and most importantly, what BRAND OF collar you are USING. IN OTHER WORDS, Talk or. hire a Professional.

      Don’t post Pollution. It’s an injustice to all of us in the dog world.

      12 hours ago · Like ·

      12 hours ago · Like ·

      • Excellent, people. If you take the time to educate yourself about the tools you are using and WHY you are USING them and WHAT you are USING them for.you are much less likely to be the owner that has a dog that hurts another animal or, bites a child or, does something that causes you some great emotional or, financial loss that you will never recover from. It will hurt a lot more than how that photograph is FALSLY portrayed. This is not conjecture on my part, as a professional trainer of over 35 years, I have seen it a hundred times…

        Paula Stephanie Hooks Phillips

        Licensed Certified K9 Trainer NK9DT #1028

        23 minutes ago · Like

    • Agree, it is an excellent article.

      Readers have to scroll past the initial images to read what the point is. Most people stop at the prong damage picture and knee jerk.

      • I don’t pick which image comes up when the post is shared, WordPress does that. So it’s been pretty interesting to see people sharing the post with horrified comments about the picture and how they’d never use such a tool, how could anyone use it, etc. Sort of drives home the point of the post imo.

  2. Really good article, I like almost everything you say! However, I disagree with your second full paragraph. You argue that we should not shoot down training ideas or techniques until we have observed their results. This is not true. There are many, many techniques you, or I, or any other rational person would reject without trying, that we can and should shoot down before they get out of the gate. There are techniques that are clearly dangerous, techniques we find morally objectionable, techniques that we believe are likely to terrify an animal. There are many, many techniques we can reject without trying them first! The point, which you make effectively in the rest of your article, is that our thought process can be rational and not emotional. We can, and should, listen carefully and dispassionately to the pros and cons, and consider them without preconception and hostility…

  3. Excellent article! Common sense not so common.

  4. I guess I don’t agree with you on how benign these tools are. Emotion aside, I just find that it is completely unnecessary to use any implement whose primary purpose is to deliver negative reinforcement by means of a painful stimulus. BTW, I am an early crossover trainer, so I used to use this same rhetoric, largely because my skill set wasn’t as good then and I thought I needed them in my toolbox. I have, thankfully, moved on, and simply hope others eventually do as well.

    • Anne, what sports do you train in, what breeds, and what titles do they have?

      • Typical response. Sports training is no different than any other type of training and brain structure and function does not vary by breed. Titles are only evidence that one is capable of training a particular set of behaviors, nothing more. Behaviors, by the way, that can be taught to a high level of reliability and performance without the use of aversive tools.

        Instead of rejecting with the “Oh yeah, not in THIS sport….Okay, maybe in that sport, but not in THAT breed…okay, maybe in that sport and in that breed, but not from WORKING lines…okay, maybe that breed from working lines in that sport, but not while standing on your head and whistling Dixie…” a more thoughtful response would have been, “Interesting. Do you have examples of how [SPORT] has been trained at high levels without the use of aversives?” Because there are. Plenty.

        If you’re not familiar with how to use non-aversive methods to train in your competitive sport, just ask. There are plenty of people out there who would be happy to teach you.

      • She doesn’t. Anne is the brass for the Pet Professionals Guild. A slimey two faced “force free” organisation that target and vilify any trainer who doesn’t subscribe to their con job when fleecing the public. The PPG actually endorse and accept the use of aversive tools that rely on force and avoidance, but they cover over it by pointing fingers to the scary looking tools in order to distract from their fairly inoffensive looking, but highly aversive approved training tools. This woman is scum, the lowest form of bare faced liar. A deceptive and evil person who puts ideology and profit before welfare. Don’t believe a word she spews.

      • @Victoria Stilwell –

        I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of PPG.

        I find it very interesting that you accuse others of ideological beliefs, and also of deception. Some time ago I actually wrote a blog post that you inspired by your deliberately misrepresentative account of what a scientific paper represented:

        http://www.k9services.com.au/2014/punishment-vs-abuse-philosophy-vs-ideology/

        I the claims you made in the article of yours I link to past a PhD in the canine behaviour field, and past a Neuropsychologist friend with a degree in Zoology, as well as a couple of other people with Bachelors degrees in science related fields. They were all in accord that the way you misrepresented the content and findings of the study did not at all support the assertions you made in support of your ideological position,and that if they were to engage in making similar leaps of logic in their own fields they would be discredited, and likely professionally reprimanded.

        Abuse and punishment have very different dictionary definitions, just as ideology and philosophy do. Each is incompatible with the other.

        Philosophy would examine how it is these tools are used so effectively and humanely in so many dogs, why it doesn’t work for other individual dogs, and then embrace this information by incorporating it into a philosophy.

        Instead, you are invested in your ideological dogmata that forces you to refute any evidence that there may be a place for such tools, which means you are ignoring evidence. These are your preconceptions, and these preconceptions characterise ideological beliefs.

        To claim that you will NEVER use such a tool means that, were you faced with such a choice, that you would kill a dog before using it, or other aversives your personal politics rule out as ‘ideologically unacceptable’.

        As an ideologue you are not interested in a factual discussion about relative merits and information, and you only do so by use of ‘cherry picking’, which is a logically fallacious practice and decidedly unscientific by nature.

        Your argument is essentially emotive, and it is typically impossible to argue based on fact and logic. In your case you could never acknowledge points that counter your ideology, as to do so would bring into question the premise of your dog training empire and threaten your professional and perhaps even financial wellbeing.

        It is as wrong to claim that a pinch collar is necessarily abusive as it is to claim that it’s use is suitable for all dogs, or as a tool for all situations.

        Again, to claim that just because something can be taught through +R or +P it should be taught that way is also not necessarily a valid argument.

        i find it so interesting that you criticise others for failing the welfare of dogs. The venerable Steven R. Lindsay published a paper called “Animal Welfare Propaganda and the Anti-Dog Training Agenda” in which he makes many useful observations on the topic, including a commentary on the motivations of certain parties:

        “One can only conclude from the foregoing position statement that the critics of a balanced approach to dog training are little concerned with presenting a fair evaluation; in the main such work is preoccupied with advancing a one-sided welfare agenda and fraud that has contributed to widespread confusion and polarized opinions within the dog training community.

        The distortions concerning positive reinforcement have now grown into a consensus dogma, spawned by a virulent meme of pure sentimentality that has proven itself immune to the restraint of common sense and reason–a delusion of wishful thinking and moral infantilism that has done far more harm than good to the welfare of dogs.”

        In that essay he also references a Presidential Address before the Association of Behavior Analysis in 2002, in which Perone (2002) states:

        “I believe that much of what has been said about aversive control is mistaken, or at least misleading. Aversive control, in and of itself, it is not necessarily bad; sometimes it is good. And, more to the point, the alternative-positive reinforcement-is not necessarily good; sometimes it is bad. Aversive control is an inherent part of our world, inevitable feature of behavioral control, in both natural contingencies and contrived ones. When I say that aversive control is inevitable, I mean just that: Even the procedures that we regard as prototypes of positive reinforcement have elements of negative reinforcement or punishment imbedded within them (2003:1).”

        Though I can go on for another 1000 words on this already lengthy blog post I have better things to do – such as actually training dogs.

        I will close with a quote from the Lindsay paper acknowledged above, which paints a dire picture of a future where ideology trumps philosophy:

        “Little wonder that the public is confused by the apparent consensus of professional organizations that have uncritically accepted “scholarly” welfare drivel as scientific information, squandering political capital and public trust on a virulent welfare agenda advanced on the strength of junk science and moralized sentiments–a welfare fraud that will ultimately prove a costly embarrassment for all who have supported it, but especially the university researchers and publishers who profited from its perpetuation.”

    • First of all it’s not “negative reinforcement” it’s “positive punishment.” Positive means to give and punishment means a stimuli given with the intent of extinguishing a behavior. Secondly, not all dogs need all tools. The combination your dog, and your sport/goals may absolutely not need a given tool. But just because your experience is different says nothing to the value of a pinch collar or E collar.

      • Thanks k9mythbusters, that was cute!!!

        Anyway, I’ve trained sans aversives for many years and have only recently began looking at them again with an open mind. So it’s not a matter of what I do or don’t know, but thank you for the assumption.

        My questions was poised because I see a frequent and common trend where we are told that “XYZ is possible” by those who do not, and have NEVER done it. The trend is so strong it’s basically hilarious. And then you talk to those who DO, instead of those who TALK, and the reality – not the THEORY of what is possible, but rather the REALITY of what is likely, timely, and productive, is VERY different.

        So my question stands. Theory is easy, reality is hard. You are putting words in my mouth. I never said aversive free training wasn’t POSSIBLE with certain breeds or certain sports. You assumed that was what I was saying.

        For what it’s worth, K9mythbusters, about a year ago or so, I was you. 🙂 Isn’t that weird?! I too thought people who used aversives just weren’t good enough, educated enough, etc. It’s funny how EXPERIENCE instead of TALK tends to change your perspective.

        But again, I thank you for the condescension and assumptions. They only further my point.

    • If you are using a prong correctly, it does not hurt or injure. I have put one on my own neck, and substantial pressure and force do not cause any damage at all on human skin. If you are hurting a dog with a prong, you are using it wrong. End of story.

  5. ‘was somehow sharpened’? Really? You have no idea how that would have happened? Or why? The ‘pool’ of people you ‘consulted with’ had to have been very limited.

    Totally disagree that ‘high drive’ dogs need aversives in training.

    instead of promoting the use of aversive equipment, dogs would be better served if you did some research, then wrote about how you can train ANY dog without a prong, including ‘high drive’, ‘difficult’ and ‘red zone’ dogs. People have done it consistently.

    • …”…. People have done it consistently.”

      When? Where? Please share your obvious vast experience.

      • Thank you, Rip. i was thinking exactly the same thing. To be VERY specific, I want to hear, not just anecdotal references, but real names of real high drive dogs that are performing at the top of their game, that were TOTALLY trained using food. Food is a wonderful motivator, but I get SO SICK of listening to these BS artists’ lofty claims of “Well, if you were ENLIGHTENED enough, you wouldn’t need to use *torture* to train your dog.” These are the same people who had attentive, soft natured toddlers and insist that a ‘time out’ is the proper response to ALL rule breaking. My partner was one of those; he had raised a gentle, sweet natured, wonderful daughter, who was respectful and obedient, and he thought he had this whole parenting thing down. Then he met my son. His first, somewhat lordly and patronizing response was that I had erred somewhere in my parenting, for him to be so boisterous and unabashedly pushing the envelope despite promised loss of privileges. After a year or so, he was forced to admit what these ‘purely positive’ trainers insist is just not so: That not all dogs (or children) are created equal; not all are biddable, or even reachable with milder techniques. Some decide the fun is worth the punishment, or that there just is no level of treat sufficient for an ‘out’ on the sleeve or to stop them charging a squirrel, right across a busy street. These same purely positive trainers who insist WE are cavemen and brutal abusers are quick to turn away and deny all culpability when their efforts FAIL and what could have been a good dog ends up on the long end of a short needle because its owner was brainwashed to believe that PP is the only way, and it is insufficient to control their cat killing, car chasing wild man. THAT is something I have seen with my own eyes, more than once, because I am often the stop of last resort before that plunger gets pushed. Many of those dogs could have remained in their homes, had their owners been less enamored of sugary chirping and less susceptible to this propaganda. THAT damage is something they either deny outright, or insist it is a ‘temperament problem’ in the dog in question. Heaven forbid they challenge their Perfect World view and realize those dogs do not have a *temperament problem* so much as they have a trainer pushing ineffective methods to manage THAT specific animal. And so it goes.

    • Got any video? I’d love to see it. I’m constantly asking for people who claim this to provide start to finish video of extremely high drive or aggressive dogs being rehabbed with +R only. Yes, no one has. Like the article says, walk the talk, please.

      • “High drive” and “aggressive” are nothing more than subjective labels that allow proof-seekers to dismiss the evidence before them with a simple “Harumph. THAT’S not an aggressive dog.”

        How about this, Guy: Why don’t you LEARN how to use non-aversive methods and then…stay with me now…TRY IT. Now, have patience, because training is like any skill. It takes time and practice to get good at it. But just give it a try. Because one of these days, you are going to come across a dog that doesn’t respond to compulsive methods and you’re going to have to think outside the box.

      • I do. I teach every dog with food first – purely positive. They learn the behavior with food luring. The behavior then gets a name and many, many repetitions and in some cases that’s all the dog needs. However, we tend to get a lot of dogs that it isn’t enough. Under distraction they need correction to proof the behavior so we also reinforce the behavior with tools such as prong collars and e-collars. The balanced approach has a much higher success rate and exponential under distraction. So don’t tell me to try it and assume I have never done so. Positive training is 95% of what I do. I understand how it works and I also know it has limitations.

      • There’s a lot more to positive methods than luring. Luring is very limited, which is likely why you find the need to use corrections in proofing. Marker training (aka clicker training) is far more nuanced and makes proofing a much easier process.

      • Of course there is. I was simplifying it. The luring is just the initial stage to lure the dog into the behavior before naming it. I use markers too. I’m not trying to condemn anyone’s method here. I’m just saying that I’ve found a combination of the two work best and provide greater results. As a result, I use a balanced training approach. If other’s wish to approach it differently, that is fine by me. I only ask that they return the same courtesy.

      • “How about this, Guy: Why don’t you LEARN how to use non-aversive methods and then…stay with me now…TRY IT. Now, have patience, because training is like any skill. It takes time and practice to get good at it. But just give it a try. Because one of these days, you are going to come across a dog that doesn’t respond to compulsive methods and you’re going to have to think outside the box.”

        We can do without the condescension. Guy rehabilitates hard-case dogs. I work with them occasionally too. Your video does not address such a case. Indeed, I speak with a lot of owners frustrated and confused by the failures of PP methods with their dogs (many of which aren’t even that difficult). Their dogs have been over-stimulated by food and have no underlying structure, discipline or “balance” in their relationships. Every balanced trainer I know incorporates positive reinforcement as a foundation of training — but also understands that each dog is different and a unilteral approach flies in the face of reality and individuality of the canine.

      • Yep, there it is. “Guy rehabilitates hard-case dogs….Your video does not address such a case.” No matter how many videos that are posted, you’ll continue to dismiss them.

        And you assume I don’t work with hard case dogs. I work primarily with aggression, including human-directed aggression that local balanced trainers have turned away for being “too aggressive” or don’t know how to handle without shocking the dog into a puddle of learned helplessness. I’d show you video, but you’d dismiss it because of breed, size, age, etc.

      • Why are you getting upset? Please explain how the video you posted addresses the request. No one here is ganging up on you, we are simply asking for proof. I don’t understand how the video shows us that. I could post my dogs doing obedience and claim it was accomplished with +R and no one would know any different because they are looking at the finished product. I’m genuinely eager to learn how and be educated on the topic and I have been for a very long time but so far I’ve been unable to do it or find someone who can. You would think it would be an easy task seeing how everyone is trying so hard to dispel balanced training. All it would take would be video proof and the argument would be over.

      • Go ahead, check out my Youtube. Or you can watch for my dogs on the Family channel, City TV, CBC, Global, Animal Planet.

        Im a former schutzhud/prong collar trainer turned clicker trainer. I would never even consider using a prong on my own dogs, or the hundreds of dogs I train at my school.

        How are my purely positive clicker trained dogs now you ask? Check out my Boston Terrier Bella. She is VERY reactive to other dogs and let me tell you, she is a terrier through and through. She is INTENSE. How is she after training with the Control Unleashed program? She is performing in the Ultimutts Stunt Dog show at festivals surrounded by dogs. Sitting on a platform for 30 minutes, off leash with my back turned to her in between walking tightropes, holding handstands, riding bikes, scooters down ramps, etc. ALL trained with a clicker.

        Prongs are straight up unnecessary.

    • I have to second Rip and Guy. Part of the reason I have moved towards occasionally including aversives in my training repertoire was that I observed a by and large failure of self-labeled “positive trainers” to effectively solve issues in high drive or very aggressive dogs. The theory and the talk are all there but the results thus far are not. I am always open to learning though, and would love to see examples to the contrary.

      • I third the motion. If Katharine cannot provide a dog to produce said video, I have a dog or two that would without a doubt shove that hot dog and clicker up her back side. The only “POSITIVE” thing that would result from that video… It would go viral and slap some reality into people that are misinformed and listen to people that obviously have no clue.

      • “High drive” and “very aggressive” are not types of dogs, they are labels that don’t describe what the dogs are doing.

        “Positive trainer” is also another label that doesn’t describe the knowledge or skill of the trainers you worked with. We don’t all magically get the same information and skill set just because we pick up a clicker. Some are better than others, either because of experience or education.

        So, just because you weren’t impressed with the few trainers you encountered doesn’t mean positive training is not effective. Perhaps instead of relying on individuals to impart their knowledge onto you, you could seek out answers yourself. Attend some seminars or, if there are none close to you or you’re on a tight budget, you can watch DVD’s of entire seminars on Netflix-type services like tawzerdog.com.

        Try it for yourself instead of waiting for others to prove it to you.

      • Is this the sort of video you’re all clamoring for?

        Now comes the cognitive dissonance: “That dog isn’t high drive/aggressive” or “That’s a male and males are easier to train” etc.

        Why don’t you just pick up a clicker and try it? I know it’s hard to learn something new, but if I (a former prong collar/shock collar user) can do it, you can, too.

      • No, it isn’t the video I’ve been clamoring for. It’s a great video but it shows a dog already trained. I want to see the dog before it was trained and full video documentation of it’s rehabilitation. I’m looking more for reactive / aggressive dogs because that is what I deal with every day. I know others have asked for high drive dogs and that is fine too but you can have a high drive dog without issues and that is a much easier road to travel. I’ve personally been on the search for video that documents the cases of dogs with major issues and how they were overcome with pure positive training. I have yet to find any and if I do, I hope to learn from them. It has been hard to learn from something I haven’t been able to find. What I have found has been a lot of theory but no practical.

      • It’s just so funny you assume I haven’t tried it, or been effective with it.

        You really need to stop making assumptions. I train far more similarly to you than you’d like to believe.

        Teehee. This is really kind of hilarious.

      • im just posting this in response to Guy. I am open to almost anything as long as the learner(dog) is still spirited and happy to work and dont pass judgement, however i am always on the lookout for rehab and training with least amount of aversive. below is just a sample of video of working with a FRA dog.

      • Nina, great video. I to have used counter conditioning with great success. It is a wonderful method. I usually first teach look, place and step behinds and then do a similar approach to what your video depicts (without insulting other methods during the process, mind you). I’ll tell you where I struggle and maybe you can help me.

        Where I have found problems is when you have a dog that from any distance goes into a frenzy (off the chart frenzy – red zone some people cal it) in a fraction of a second and sometimes ever before the problem object comes into sight. I don’t believe there is a workable threshold in that scenario but I maybe wrong. That is why I’m asking.

        At the start of the video, the lady is able to hold that dog back and control it even in it’s worst state. I’ve had dogs that I could not manage on a flat collar in that state. I’m 6′ 1″ and 220lbs – not a small guy. So when a dog like this goes into that state immediately, how do you manage it?

      • @ k9mythbuster –

        What a lovely video!

        You make some fantastic points about the labels of ‘high drive’ and ‘very aggressive’ not describing the behaviour of the dogs.

        It is seldom that case that adding positive punishment to a highly driven or aggressive dog is going to produce a better outcome – after all, it doesn’t teach a dog what you want it to do instead, nor is it likely to sufficiently communicate to the dog just how enjoyable the alternative can be.

        I know tons of highly skilled trainers that use markers for remarkable effect, and those markers include clickers. I use clickers myself and they are a great tool. That said, those GREAT trainers I know (quite a few) remain completely open minded about the truth surrounding all tools, including pinch collars and ecollars.

        The same argument is true at both ends – justifying the use of a pinch collar by claiming that clickers aren’t effective tools is just as logically devoid a position as vilifying the use of devices with aversive potential such as ecollars and pinch collars based on the fact that there are potential contingencies attached to them.

        Both stances would be purely ideological in nature, based on emotion, and most certainly not on fact.

        The same can be said for any person that justifies a ban on certain devices based on a dog, or a trainer, working successfully without them.

  6. Good article but remember most trainers even food motivated reward based trainers give negative reinforcement at sometime. It may be pinch collar but most likely it’s E-collar. No matter how you slice it. It’s the way you use the tools not the tools themselves.

    • Every tool can be used incorrectly to damage.

      Some tools only work through discomfort or pain. That’s not necessarily the same as damage, but it is not at all the same as saying “it’s not the tool, it’s the way you use it”. The only way they work is because they are unpleasant (at best).

      Why would you ever do that intentionally if there was (and there is) a much better way?

  7. This is a great post. I worked with several +R trainers with my dog and while we accomplished some wonderful things, we did not transform her aggression. It took balanced training to do that. The +R trainers we worked with, who are the best in my area, said the only solution was Prozac. If that didn’t work, there was only one other alternative… I didn’t support either of those options. What bothers me is when people believe their limited tool set will work for every dog and that’s simply not the case. I spent thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars working with the best +R trainers – I was determined to make it work, I was committed and put in the time and effort. +R – what I call “human communication” just excites my dog too much. But she responded extremely well to the prong collar, I never caused her pain using it, and now I can take her anywhere or do anything. It’s just as closed minded for +R trainers to say their methods can help every dog in every situation as it would be for balanced trainers to say that every dog in training needs a prong collar. I’d love to see more unity and collaboration between trainers – when we move beyond our differences we can help the most dogs. I’ve yet to meet a trainer that doesn’t have the dog’s best interest at heart.

    • Very well said!

      • “Looks like you’ve already stopped learning.” Yeah, but not trying endlessly to push her new religion. Many of the +R trainers I know are a lot like reformed smokers or maybe even more like Born Again Christians: far harsher on others who question their ‘enlightenment’ than those who never ‘sinned’ because THEY have been there and THEY KNOW. And you see, no one else’s *different* experience counts… if you really understood you just would fall in line and agree with them, and the fact that you do not means you don’t get it. Not that their message is flawed; that is simply not possible. And if you continue to insist, you must not just be patronized and talked down to, you must be insulted and talked to as if you were some kind of incorrigible Philistine who likes torturing helpless animals. The article is dead on: it is propaganda, and woe betide those who fail to accept it. God help the poor novices who have a dog with real character and try to learn something useful in this environment.

      • MotleyDragon – agreed.

    • First, you assume that all positive trainers only know positive training. This is simply not the case. Anyone who has been training for 10 years or more has used some level of aversive methods or equipment, including me. I thought clicker training was ridiculous and believed that some dogs needed prong collars in some situations – what I was really saying was that I didn’t know what else to do. You know what changed that? Continued education. The more I learned, the less I needed it.

      You also assume that the “several” trainers you worked with had the most experience and knowledge possible in the wide world of training. There are multiple “positive” trainers in my area who aren’t worth the hot dog in their hand. That doesn’t mean that positive methods are ineffective.

      Time will tell here. The prong collar is suppressing the display of aggression, but it isn’t changing her association to whatever triggers her aggression. The shock collar worked very well on my own dog to suppress his aggressive behavior towards humans…until one day it didn’t and he put a teenage girl in the hospital, leading to me seeking alternative methods. So, I caution you to not get too comfortable that her aggression is fixed. That’s not how it works. Keep reading, keep learning.

      • So sorry that your dog still has aggression. Mine doesn’t and the balanced trainers I worked with didn’t simply rely on a collar to transform the aggression. It sounds from what you said like that was the case with your dog – perhaps that’s why it didn’t work. I said that +R only training didn’t transform the aggression and that my dog responded well to the prong collar – NOT that the prong collar is responsible for transforming the aggression. I’m not putting magic in a prong collar. With all do respect, you don’t know the trainers I worked with, me or my dog. I’d like to give you your own advice to keep reading and learning. You seem to be the only person in this string of comments who won’t accept what anyone else has to say. Looks like you’ve already stopped learning.

      • You constantly talk about +R training. Have you ever tried to train a sighthound? These are dogs that can’t be off leash outside of a fenced yard. Can they be trained to be off leash? Yes. But let me tell you, they are very few and far between. these dogs can spot a squirrel half a mile away and leave you wondering why they are standing on the end of the leash, trying to drag you. And there is next to nothing you can do to break their concentration without some kind of training collar. I would never use a prong collar on my greyhound but do use a shock collar on my afghan hound. I have also spent over an hour, hotdog in hand trying to catch him after coursing him, so he never courses without the shock collar now. Tell me what to do differently. Come show me how to train him differently. I would love to get rid of the shock collar. i dislike using it. However, the reality is that I much prefer being able to catch my dog when he is running wihtout a collar on.

    • Good point BoingyDog.I love your response.Unity and collaboration between trainers is what is needed – after all it is for the dogs – trying to make the dogs better, have better manners, and generally be real cool to live with. I’ve found the balanced trainers are willing to try positive trainer methods – they have a “bag” full of tools, including their own body language. I haven’t met a balanced trainer yet who would ever hurt a dog. It is the positive trainers i’ve come across who can’t seem to admit that not every dog will respond to positive methods and are quick to make judgments. They should be more open to using other methods and I’m not talking about anything that would hurt the dog. I had a lab I trained 16 years ago using positive methods only. He would not come when called, he would not fetch, he was very anxious nd basically thought he didn’t have to do anything if he didn’t want to. One trainer, during a rally class, even said he was too smart – didn’t see the point of the exercise. I guess that was her excuse for us not using the right methods to train the dog. If I knew then what I know now, he would have been a completely different dog. Granted, he wasn’t aggressive, but he also did not respond well to positive only methods.

  8. You know the defenders always say, “I put one on my arm and it didn’t hurt”… But the collar goes around a dog’s NECK, which is far more sensitive than a human arm. Indeed, the human neck is more sensitive than a human arm. Has anyone tried to put one around her own neck and tightened it?

    • yes, actually…i have. if the collar is fitted correctly by length and size of prong, it doesn’t hurt what-so-ever unless you’re stringing a dog up to hang them…which is NOT proper use of this collar.

      and actually, the dog’s neck is not sensitive like a human’s neck. we should stop anthropomorphizing dogs. their necks are solid and muscular, not sensitive, but also a part of their bodies where you need little force to control them, their heads, their direction, etc. their flank is “sensitive”. totally different.

      • Great comment.

      • Correct, a dog’s neck isn’t very sensitive – hence the reason you see dogs dragging people down the street on walks – the collar around their neck doesn’t even phase them. And if it does phase them at first, they slowly become insensitive to it. The neck way up high towards the ears is a little more sensitive – if you watch dog shows you will see their slip leads placed there, instead of around the general neck area.

    • What scientific evidence do you have that a dogs neck is more sensitive to a human arm?

      None.

      Why?

      Because all you have to do is watch two dogs playing with one another, hanging off each other’s neck.

      Try playing with your dog like that and let him use your arm. Please. Then send us pictures.

      No?! You won’t do it?! Why?!

      Because you know inherently that it’s a bad idea.

      We train Police K9’s to do this very job. Why? Because the human arm, and indeed the vast majority of their body is far, far more sensitive than a dogs neck.

      Just ask the bad guy that just got taken down.

      • Finally,a response to this article that makes sense!I have trained for over 30 yrs.,I have mentored over the years with some very talented trainers,a vast majority of them would throw the clickers in the trash,that the “guardians”,may show up with for training,and yes I am being sarcastic about the video,we are owners/handlers,save the peta/hsus terminology for some place other than the the dog training world.The + R training which is promoted by everyone now,because of the brainwashing from these organizations,has truly hurt the dog world,as a Pro Groomer of many yrs. also,I can tell you the behavior of the dogs,that the general public,has is atrocious.Obviously,the +R,movement,is really not paying off.I breed,import,and train “Czech” bred GSD”S,for K-9,military,personal protection/companion,sport.I can reassure you,the clicker was started on the “Maly”,probably by 8 wks. of age not a hard 2-5 yr. old dog imported which has a very hard edge on it,prong collars,e-collars,are very necessary tools for working with these animals.Several behavior issues can be cut off at the pass,with proper use of these tools,yes alot can be accomplished with food also,I prefer to use alot of praise,for the positive,and proper correction for the rest.

    • My dogs necks are NOT more sensitive than my arm. I have Jack Russell terriers and they are bred to ignore pain to the neck and head. Choke(training) collars just cut off their air supply, it doesn’t deter them. I have seen them pull on the coke collars enough to start coughing and gagging. Chasing anything is more rewarding than food. I use a prong collars as a tool, it is fitted properly and I use it properly. But it is a tool just a food is a tool.

    • I made all of my students put prong collars on their necks and give themselves a correction (or on fun days, correct each other). I’ve even had one around my neck and was nice enough to give by boyfriend the leash (nothing kinky, we were at work LOL!)

  9. I’m sure I’m not a good enough trainer, because I have a small-ish dog here that I have used a prong collar on. She’s young, behaves as though she has ADHD. She *is* food motivated but it’s extraordinarily difficult to get her attention for more than about 1 second to teach her anything. She can’t be still and runs all the other dogs here ragged, including the other young dog. Despite her being only 35 lbs, she has pulled me off my feet a couple times and I was lucky I didn’t get badly hurt.

    I used a prong collar until she got the idea that dragging me around wasn’t acceptable. It didn’t cause injury, and she looked forward to her training sessions with it so much she’d run, wagging, when I got it off its hook. So apparently it wasn’t a terribly negative/painful reinforcement for *her.* ::shrug:: Most dogs I’ve had, I’d not use a prong collar to train, though I have used one with big, powerful dogs for safety, as a just-in-case for control in extreme situations.

    The alternative to using the prong was me probably breaking a couple bones, or not being able to hold her and poor thing being smashed in the road.

    • This is a perfect example! Not every dog needs a prong collar but some responded well to it and benefit greatly from its proper use. It’s wonderful that you found what works for each dog!

  10. I never knew such things existed. The first thing I thought was BSDM.

  11. I have seen this before in person. This is what happen when you use a prong collar on a dog with a metal allergy. Very rare but it can do this in a very short amount of time.

    • N, the metal allergy (or reaction/sensitivity) is the only explanation I’ve ever heard for this image that made any sense. If you understand how prongs work, the basic mechanics of them, you know that the collar simply *cannot* poke holes in that manner.

      If the same dog wore a chain collar, or one of those fancy dress collars made of metal links like a watchband, the damage would have been much worse, I imagine.

    • My dog has a pretty severe metal allergy, and I can say that it would take leaving a prong collar on her for days to make this kind of mark on her. It would happen, but not with proper use of the collar. The marks are so pinpointed that I highly doubt it was caused by a dog having a metal allergy. More likely, a dog with a metal allergy would have an indistinct line of redness, swelling, blisters, pus, open wounds, etc (depending on the severity of the allergy) all around their neck, since the prongs don’t stay exactly in the same place. Not to mention that correct use of a prong collar involved it being removed when done with training- it should not be left on while the dog is in the house, in the yard, off leash at the park, etc.

      Of course, a dog may have an even more severe metal allergy than my dog and react within a few minutes/an hour/a reasonable amount of time for a prong collar to be used within its proper use. But it would be extremely rare. Dogs with metal allergies are rare enough (though plenty of people probably have metal allergic dogs and just don’t realize the cause of the allergies). Dogs with that severe of a metal allergy would be even more rare. And this level of reaction would mean that a standard buckle collar with a metal buckle would cause a giant gaping open sore, as would a metal D ring on a collar, and the dog’s ears would likely be falling to pieces from contact with their collar/tags when they shake their heads. And their nose/mouth/chin would be full of sores if they used a metal bowl or were confined by a metal crate or fence that they put their nose up against. In other words, it would have some other majorly messed up symptoms to go along with the prong marks.

      • Could be because the dog is coated, the owner did not realize the damage until it festered and bled out far enough to be visible through the fur. I have seen worse damage just from regular collars left on too long. It’s ugly but it’s not really indicative of abuse as such, which is the message that is being sold here.

      • This was indeed the case the dog had to be crated in a plastic crate with rubber coated metal door. ID had to be plastic and attached with a zip tie. There had to be no metal on his collar at all. Lucky the dog was long haired so that protected him some but any metal that he came into contact with left a bloody sore almost instantly.

  12. Who are these people you know who use prongs and are open to using potentially more effective methods? I have NEVER met anybody who uses a prong and is open to anything BUT the prong, and indeed defends the prong as though it was some kind of religious object. I also agree with the comment above that there are plenty of techniques that we should not shoot down until we see the results. I think that is extremely dangerous and also very selfish. Basically you are saying that the ends justify the means, regardless of what the dog goes through to get there. That’s not AT ALL positive, and people who speak out against the use of aversive dog training methods should be hailed as heroes for doing the right thing, not as hypocrites for speaking negatively about positive punishment.

    • Maybe you haven’t shown them a better alternative? I use prongs and e-collars on a regular basis and I will continue to do so until someone shows me something that works better. I’ve yet to see it. They are not the best tools for all circumstances but those two tools are my go to tools for many just because they work so well. I combine this with positive reinforcement and get the outcome I want.

    • Hi. I use a peong but I am open to other options. I use a prong because it is more “humane” than using a choke (training) collar. The choke collar chokes them. They are high prey drive and that is self-rewarding behavior.

    • I’m open to using something different – now you can say you know someone who is. As soon as something better comes along, I’d be happy to. In the meantime, I will continue to speak out for an effective tool that doesn’t hurt dogs but that can communicate with them in a way that they can easily understand. It’s a tool that has saved lives – it played a role in saving my own dog’s life when we exhausted other possibilities.

  13. One of the responses to being aroused or fearful is pain suppression. A dog who is aroused, for one reason or another may not respond to the sensation being produced by the prongs, causing the handler to increase the pressure, or the dog may increase the pressure. Because the dog is not responding in the way one would assume an animal would respond to feeling the prongs, an uninformed owner could come to the conclusion that it’s not actually “hurting” their dog. But the physiological stress response to the pain is occurring whether the dog is actually “aware” of the sensation or not. Through contextual conditioning that stress response and events/objects in the environment are becoming associated with each other. The fewer of these negative associations we have to deal with, the better.

  14. Interesting article and no, I didn’t run screaming after the first paragraph. I have no idea whether these prong collars work and have no interest in finding out. My argument, which extends to halti’s, choke chains, e collars and any other forceful equipment is totally about the availability of these commercial items to the general public. It is no good saying they are effective and humane in experienced hands because the moment an ‘experienced’ dog trainer promotes a tool the production increases and the big sell starts to joe public. This results in these gadgets being available to any Tom, Dick or Harry who fancies teaching their dog a lesson. Worse still, they use it with impunity because ‘Cesar’ does or whoever they happened to see promote the offending item. On a lesser scale I see so many uncomfortable dogs with halti’s sitting just below or in their eyes and every pet store has these for sale. To think the prong collar or e collar can be bought off the shelf by anybody, even a first time dog owner, who is having a little trouble with pulling, is disturbing. You know and I know that the prong collar will be snapped up by macho lads with bull types, inexperienced owners who want a quick and instant fix and probably some idiot who chains his dog in the yard 24/7. I recently signed a petition to stop the Kennel Club allowing a stand to a company that promotes prong collars and it worked. Thank goodness they could see sense on the subject. You would have to be naïve to think that the prong collar and indeed the e collar would not be widely abused by at best ignorant owners and at worst by people who see punishment as the way to train a dog and they would be above the law if these horrible things were not banned. Professional dog trainers need to realise that the use of these gadgets will not be contained to their pupils but will extend to untrained and unsupervised owners. Like fashion designers, professional dog trainers set the trend for the latest doggy accessories and should be thinking outside the box when it comes to who will be using them.

    • OK, so an item that could be abused or misused shouldn’t be offered for sale to the public….that is pretty much everything.

      • Like what?? I don’t think dog training would suffer at all if these ridiculous gadgets were not in use. There is nothing like hard work, patience and reward for getting the very best out of our dogs. And yes… items that WILL be abused and misused by the public shouldn’t be endorsed by so called professionals to promote sales for companies that are out for profit!

      • So I guess we better ban everything that can be misused. Here is a short list but I think if I had the time I could list thousands upon thousands of examples:

        – the automobile: many people speed an drive recklessly. This can and has resulted in many serious injuries and fatalities.

        – kitchen knives: people have used them to stab others.

        – social networking: people have used it bully others in a very public manner and that has resulted in suicides.

        – Planes: they have been hijacked and misused by others (911?). I guess they should be banned so it never happens again.

        – martial arts: why teach people martial arts because they may misuse it and hurt someone – and many have.

        – Food: obesity is a huge problem and many people in the public are abusing poor quality foods. Why don’t we ban all the fast food places?

        – Prescription drugs: when used properly they can be very effective but many people use them incorrectly and cause themselves harm – or even death. Why are we still using them?

    • …”I have no idea whether these prong collars work and have no interest in finding out.”

      A splendid advertisement for a closed mind. Congratulations.

    • I certainly hope you have put efforts into banning choke chains then. I have seen a lot of people with a gagging, coughing dog hitting the end of a choke likely causing damage to the trachea. Of course I don’t need to point out the hundreds of embedded chain photos one could find on the internet with a quick search. (Versus the one photos of a damaged neck like the photo in this article.) But clearly that is meaningless to you as you pointed out that you have no desire to learn the truth and come to an educated decision for a against. (“I have no idea whether these prong collars work and have no interest in finding out.”) Your banning one company for promoting a toll you know nothing about yet not complaining about a similar tool is hypocritical. Shame on you.

  15. Too tight collar and kept on dog 24/7..Dog’s owner needs a swift kick somewhere..and arrested for animal cruelty.

  16. Very good article. Like you say, the last picture, no matter what the circumstances, makes a lasting impression on those who know nothing about training dogs and the use of a prong collar. In fact, the last picture looks as if some idiot left this collar on this dog as a normal collar, probably tied to a chain in his or hers back yard.

    • And that is why they should not be promoted, because some idiot will do just that. The Kennel Club have banned the company promoting the prong collar from having a stand at Crufts. I am so glad the UK will not be buying into another ‘tool’ used by people who should know better. If you need a tool box to fix your dogs then I think you have sadly lost the way.

      • Then dogs will suffer. The absence of another tool that can help dogs just means fewer dogs with access to more options for training and rehabilitation. I’ve seen countless dogs helped with prong collars, and as many owners finding hope and relief through their judicious and appropraiet use (as I have with the use of e-collars). More emotionally-based prohibitions and public censure just hurts more dogs and frustrates more people. The euthanasia business is booming for a reason.

      • I agree with Rip and I know this first hand. I run a rescue and we train the dogs before they are adopted out. I take a lot of abuse in the rescue world because we do not hide the fact that we use prong and e-collars. However, most of our dogs are owner surrender for behavior issues. Many of these dogs have been to multiple positive only trainers over a long period of time and still have issues. In some cases, they’ve been told by the trainers to put the dog down. Of course, this is after spending lots of money over a long period of time with little to no results.

        First, we recommend a trainer we know that can help them but often they can’t because they are financially tapped out at this point and do not want to put more money into the dog’s training. Mostly, they just don’t believe the dog can be “fixed” after spending so much time and money on it to that point. So they surrender it to us to be trained and rehomed. All of these dogs have been rehabbed and adopted to new families without issue.

        The funny thing is, as much as we are loathed in the rescue community, we get contacted on a regular basis by the same rescues that criticize us publicly for advice. They also refer dogs to us that they can’t deal with. Of course, all of this is done on the sly as they don’t want anyone to know. We have not and will not reveal these people because we are in it for the dogs and don’t want anything to do with the drama and political correctness that is dog rescue and training.

        What people claim publicly and what they do behind closed doors can be two very different things.

      • We’ve not been banned from Crufts, the prong collar is not an American design, the oldest version is in Leeds Castle in Maidstone…. and your assessment of the type of owner buying these is way out. Since you’ve failed to make one single correct statement on a prong collar so far, where did you learn about them?

    • I am thinking the same,the general public is virtually “clueless” when it comes to anything pertaining to dogs!After 30 yrs.,I have seen it all from them!

  17. I wrote a similar article that is posted on the German Shepherd Adventures Blog.. Coincidentally, I used the same word “Propaganda” in my article that was written 3 years ago. The difference in my article VS this one is the message. I reinforce that no one method is right for every dog and no tool is right for every dog, but as professionals, we need to match the right tool and method with the right dog to maximize effectiveness in the training. +R has it’s place just as other methods have its place in our tool box. A good mechanic adds tools to their tool box, they do not remove and throw away effective tools that are not broken and replace it with a tool that will work on every car because it does not exist.

    • Good points, and necessary to be reiterated. What’s interesting is that I rarely hear “positive only” trainers make comparable fair-minded statements which respect the individuality of dogs and the prerogatives of trainers. Why is that?

    • Well said. The comparison I used in a recent post was to a doctor that had a limited set of tools and treatments vs. having an entire set to work with.

    • “Positive only has it’s limitations”… Yeah, probably because nobody breathing can train a dog using ONLY +R and nothing else period. Impossible. But, show me where these limitations are in not using an aversive tool. It’s not training that has limitations, it’s the TRAINER. It’s the skill of the trainer. Besides, nobody can say one way or another, it’s all just personal opinion and conjecture. There’s nothing to admit to. A trainer should admit to their limits, no matter what’s in their toolbox. What are the “obvious” limitations, to you?

  18. So, what is the alternative most often given for the prong collar? The head collar. More aversive and less tolerated by most dogs in my experience and opinion.

    Thanks to everyone for keeping this civil. I do think that if you’re going to claim that you work with high drive dogs but never use aversives, it’s best to back that up.

    Carolee

    • That is my argument against the prong caller and halters. The halter is no longer a training tool used by professionals. It fast became the must have fashion accessory to people who barely train their dogs at all let alone seek professional help. They see it and they think great idea and the poor dog is the unlucky recipient. When (not if) that happens with the prong collar it is going to be abused in the same way. It will be used harshly on strong untrained dogs by unknowledgeable people, and worse it will be legal so there can be no action taken to stop it. When you professional trainers introduce a new device and unleash it on the public you are not doing the dogs a service at all. You can argue as much as you like about your own use of it as I am not qualified to advise you against it. However I can vouch for the many dog owners I see regularly who have little idea how to train let alone how to use with effect such a harsh tool. I do believe this is an American design and I am glad that the UK kennel club has seen fit to banish it from their events.

  19. I do believe that you can teach high drive dogs without the use of a prong collar. My dogs’ foundation in obedience was off leash using food and toys. My dogs were taught to “out” off of the decoy by starting with outing off of toys, and then moved up to outing one sleeve for another, and then moved up to outing off of one decoy for a second decoy. Also taught by using obedience for bites. I have found that TEACHING the dogs through motivation gives a more solid foundation than initially teaching through aversives.

    Now, with that being said, my dogs wear prong collars. If they need a correction, they get a correction. Typically they don’t need big corrections because of their motivational foundation. But especially because they are high drive, they may need a reminder here and there, and the prong affords me a safe way to give them that reminder.

    Nice article!

  20. One thing worth noting: anyone who uses +R training uses the concept of pressure and release. And, in fact, by withholding food from a dog (in most cases) you are creating more stress and frustration than any other form of (reasonable) correction.

  21. why do we have tools? To make our lives easier – that is simple. do these tools make training the dog easier – YES they do. Is that bad? NO it isnt. I compete in Competitive Obedience and I use a pinch collar everytime I work my dog to communicate what I like/dislike about its work. Pinch says “Not here” and my marker for “Yes” tells them that is what you do to get reinforced. I take my dog out in multiple locations without cookies, without toys, I can only say my command once – this is true Obedience and it doesnt happen with positive only I assure you. The few people who claim they dont use negatives have taken YEARS to get anywhere and not overly impressive. Sorry – My pinch collar will be in my bag for MANY years to come. I am softer on my dogs with my pinch than most without. Just part of the deal.

  22. As far as high level training, employing deliberate binary feedback from an earlier stage is what some people choose to do. This is where “proof in the pudding” comes in, one I choose to live by with my dogs and those I help. The dog will tell you if it’s too much or they can’t handle it, and your common sense should do the rest. There is no need to live in your mind or on paper – if you can do it and replicate it widely for similar dogs with success and no ill effects, then why not?

    I do believe that the reason many +R people get up in arms has nothing to do with a perceived abusive treatment of their dogs. Some of these same people do harsh things that I wouldn’t dream of employing in training or life. I think it has more to do with the fact that they don’t like the idea that life is not as black and white as they’d like. Anyone who has to be very loud about something that they have minimal experience with is operating from a place of insecurity.

    At the end of the day, I’m fine with people training their way and I’ll train mine. We can’t all agree, we wouldn’t be human and life would be pretty boring if we could. But when people are pushing their agenda so hard that it is influencing governmental policy, then the gloves are off. I feel like people need to stop running scared and say “Enough”.

    • “I do believe that the reason many +R people get up in arms has nothing to do with a perceived abusive treatment of their dogs.”

      I agree, with a twist. The outright rejection of evidence of how prongs and e-collars improve training and dogs and in many cases actually save dogs indicates a basic lack of interest in dogs, or at least an interest unequal to the need to be self-righteously affirmed in their construct of good vs. evil and themselves as the sole and noble representatives of dog welfare. The dogs themselves become an abstraction, secondary to their quasi-religious outrage. If there was a genuine concern for dogs, a truly ideological-free interest in what was good for dogs, there would be an intense curiosity as to how prongs and e-collars help dogs in a humane and effective manner, a willingness to engage trainers who used them in order to learn and decide for themselves — just as there is an interest and openness to all forms of positive training by most balanced trainers (all the ones I know anway). It’s that simple.

      • Why don’t you so called professionals just keep your devices for your own use and stop promoting them to be used by amateurs with neither the knowledge or the supervision required to ensure correct use. There are no short cuts to training and this constant striving for tools to lessen the work does you no credit at all. I would not enlist the help of one person promoting these items as it is you who has sadly lost the way.

      • Let’s examine what you’ve said, Judy.

        Who is promoting or advocating here? This “controversy” began with the effort not to promote the use of prong collars but to promote their prohibition, and the derogation of those who use them. This is why we’re in a state of conflict;
        your comment represents an emotionally distortive inversion of this debate. Professionals (as opposed to your “so-called professionals”, which sounds like an offhand smear) don’t indiscriminantly promote any tool to be used by amateurs, but to maintain the right both to use them and to educate others in their use. If you disagree, please cite the professional who advocates that people untrained in the uses of any tool conduct themselves in such a way to abuse it.

        Please cite evidence to indicate balanced trainers or those who use such tools as prongs believe there are “short-cuts” to training (a non-sequitur, really, and with an unpleasant implication of laziness). I don’t see anyone commenting on this board who asserts this or whose personal account illustrates this belief. The stories reflect individuals’ actual need and how they have found real-life, effective and humane solutions to their needs through a prong collar. No one is hawking prong collars, merely defending their use, and indeed refusing to be put on the defensive over their use. Perhaps this is what irritates the PP bluenoses; that we refuse to play defense. I’ll repeat what I’ve said elsewhere: I’ve not met a balanced trainer using this tool, or other tools, who didn’t practice and promote their responsible and conscientious use.

        So those who simply wish to retain the right to full access of all the tools available to them have “lost their way”? I don’t mean to pick on you, but your comment exemplifies an unreflective emotionalism common to these colloquys. No one wants to tell you how to train or what tools to use. We give benefit of the doubt to your responsibility and autonomy. You might want to try returning the respect.

      • Judy, the balanced trainers I know hardly promote use of tools by amateurs. To the contrary actually. In addition, they don’t use a “tool” first, unless it is a muzzle to keep from being bitten by a human-aggressive dog. They assess and evaluate the dog first. If no tools are needed, they don’t use a tool. Again, some dogs just need something else other than treats or a clicker.

  23. These collars work GREAT if used correctly! This is the safest way for myself and my 105 lb to walk safely.

  24. Even after reading this article I am still most definitely using the prong collar on my dog. He is 140lbs and it’s the only collar that I can use to walk him on. He only wears his prong collar for walks otherwise he has a regular collar with tags. The prong collar does not hurt him and I believe if used appropriately then any dog should be fine with it. He is a big dog and on multiple occassions I have tried him on a regular collar for walks but he does no good. He walks me instead of me walking him and a couple times he has pulled me to the ground and off the porch. The prong collar is a blessing and I would recommend it to everyone:)

  25. Very good article. I have an 80 lb. high drive boy that was trained +R from day one. His reward is the work. The number of times I give him a treat for good behavior to have him spit it out because he doesn’t have time to chew is very funny. He started trying to drag me around on the leash after my back surgery, so I went to the prong for a few days and simple as that, he stopped. He doesn’t care what I put around his neck or if I leave him naked. He lives to work. I love him and we all need to be safe, so when I need to, I use aversives. That is my right and privilege. Just as it is your right and privilege to train +R with your dog.
    I also have an 80 lb. low drive bitch that will do anything for treats, and if I accidentally say “oh no” when I make a mistake while training, she will shut down and quit. OBVIOUSLY, I don’t use aversives on her to correct her. Once again, my right and privilege.
    Just because you are against using the pinch collar, you do not have the right, the power or the privlege to ban it from the world. That is just egocentric.

    • It’s great that you have found what works for each dog. I hear all too often people claim that only aversive tools and physical correction can shut a dog down – so not true, as your comment illustrates. It gets used often as the reason to ban aversive tools. We have to treat each dog as an individual and understand that each has different thresholds.

  26. Propaganda? I used a prong collar for just 3 days on a dog a very long time ago. I even put on the rubber tips. I ended up with a broken-skin sore quite similar to the photo you call propaganda. I followed the instructions, I was careful, I learned that these are not what I would ever want to put on my family companion animal again. Then I learned the skills that kept my dogs motivated during training and without the need to have equipment such as this. I volunteer at a rescue and have seen more than one dog come in with sores on his/her neck from prongs – it’s not a rare thing.

    For those who struggle with dogs who pull, I know that’s frustrating, but there really are better ways to do it without making your dog uncomfortable every time they or you pull on the leash. Ultimately, I like to help dogs get past the point of needing any equipment at all to walk nicely and to listen to their humans.

    • I’m really sorry that you had that experience, Rise. I cannot imagine why that was – in years of using them on multiple dogs, I never had that happen and have not seen it either.

      If that’s your experience, I can understand why you wouldn’t want to use them. I do think that it is one subjective experience over a relatively short time, and further that there are dogs who come into rescue with all kinds of injuries from being maltreated. I have seen some horrible wounds from embedded flat collars as well, but no move to ban them. In fact, with every piece of equipment we use with dogs, there is a chance of harm. Flat collars can get hung up and allowing dogs to pull against them can cause tracheal injuries. Body harnesses can also cause injury if not fitted well and head halters as well. Even well fitted, a head harness carries a risk of injury if not handled properly and they are often very aversive for dogs.

      • That experience is extremely atypical and I can say that with great confidence.

        Extremely atypical.

      • A head halter caused injuries to my dog’s face and muzzle. It was torturous for her to have it on and she moved away fearfully whenever I tried to put it on. She’s never been injured by a prong collar and she’s excited as hell whenever I pick it up. I see dogs daily with prong collars on with no adverse effects to wearing them.

  27. The very fact that you think positive reinforcement is just food makes me question your ability and knowledge as a dog trainer. As if the entire article didn’t do that anyway.

  28. Great article that I can easily relate to for the following reasons:

    My wife and I have a puggle who weighs around 35 pounds. She will do anything for food, I mean anything. When we got her I could easily start to train her using treats or her normal kibble.

    We are now boarding a military members dog while she is overseas deployed and she wanted to use a prong collar to help with her dog. Her dog is a boxer and does not care for any treats, I have found out she eventually started to like cheese though. Since I was unfamiliar with prong collars I went to a trainer who gave me tips and showed me the correct way to use it and it is very helpful. As long as a prong collar is used correctly it can be a good tool to help with training and more. For Riley, the boxer, she’ll bounce off the wall when she sees the prong collar in my hands because she knows she is about to have some fun with walking or other training that she loves.

  29. The only way this happens is if the collar is left on as the dog grows up.. and is not loosed.
    When used properly the PINCH COLLAR can be a excellent tool for puppy and dog training.. I have allways used the Pinch collar in training my dogs, and never had this happen, My current puppy will also be using a pinch collar. I have been using pinch collars for over 30 yrs. with anything from a poodle, to a border collie, to Pomeranian, to a Shepherd, or a Husky, or a beagle, or a Wolf hybrid, or a Rottweiller, to a Australian Kelpie.

  30. I do want to be clear and reiterate that I believe that dogs should be trained using +R methods as often and as much as possible. There is a vast wealth of knowledge and there are a lot of tools that are important for dog training in the +R quadrant. My article was not meant to promote the use of aversive tools, but was meant to outline the fallacy in the argument that they should be banned.

    I do not believe they are inherently abusive, but they are aversive, so just like anything else of that nature, it is most important that people understand how to use them properly so that they don’t cause damage to the dog. Education is key, not banishment. Further, I do not believe that denying the limitations of the +R quadrant for some situations is fair or in any way productive. I absolutely agree with the comments that some have made about religious zealotry in certain circles, as that has been my experience as well. The result of this is an alienation of people who really want honesty and answers as well as a growing frustration with the answers they are getting. I have also seen the equivalent of fingers in ears in the other side: people who don’t want to hear that using rewards is a good thing in training. As a result, they can be overly harsh with their dogs and not listen to what the dogs are telling them.

    Somewhere in the middle lies a spectrum of people who are very skilled at what they do, who have a loaded toolbox and a compassionate heart. These are people who do not want to be vilified for choosing to use a certain tool on a certain dog, and who also don’t want to be scoffed at for rewarding their dogs for working with them. These are people who care about relationship above all. These are people who are tired of being pushed and pulled around in a political war that they want nothing to do with. They care more about the dogs than the marketing, and they care more about meeting the needs of those dogs and the needs of their owners than they do about being lauded and awarded or belonging to a clique. These are the people who just want to be left alone to do what they do best – train dogs and help people. It’s for these people that I wrote this blog post.

    • Great comment, excellent article. Thank you! Thank you too, for reminding people that +R and prong use aren’t mutually exclusive as the nay-sayers would like their followers to believe. I trained my dog primarily via +R and some lure/reward methods, but use a prong collar as a management tool. My dog is very well-trained and walks beautifully on leash, but he is a high-drive, primarily working-line Doberman who is much stronger than I am. He WILL try to chase (and kill) small animals. He almost killed us both (and tore my rotator cuff) chasing a squirrel across a busy road on a no-pull harness. I live in an urban area, I don’t have a yard and walking my dog for exercise is not “optional”. I have 20 years of experience and have still not had success in quelling this urge. This is instinctive, and it’s not going to be overcome with food.There are more than a few of us in similar circumstances, and I get really fed up with the shortsighted ignorance around the “all positive, all the time or you’re cruel” crowd. Thank you again for providing a common sense perspective.

    • Still not one person has answered my argument against these harsh devices. You all spout about ‘in the right hands’ ‘used by professionals’ and nobody has admitted that they will end up in the ‘wrong hands’ and will be used badly in the hands of complete amateurs. As nobody has these unfortunate dogs in mind at all, I will leave this debate and just hope that in the UK at least we will not have these things available in pet shops in the near future. I believe e collars are already banned. Makes me wonder why such a difference between UK and US training methods??

      • E-collars are not banned in the UK. I even have a letter from DEFRA stating that the study they conducted did not support any evidence that would suggest they ban them. Stop spreading false information. I guess we should also ban the fork and spoon because as tools used to eat with they are the leading cause of obesity causing all kinds of health issues. The human race is not smart enough to make wise food choices or educate themselves on proper nutrition so we should just ban all tools used by culinary professionals so that the regular joe can’t use them. I guess we should also start supporting BSL too because a lot of people don’t know how to care for certain breeds and raise them properly so if we just ban and kill all those dogs the problem will be solved.

        The tools are not the problem. There is a lady that walks around my neighborhood that whips her dog with the leash when it doesn’t listen. Should we ban the leash? I’m sure she bought it in a pet store.

      • Banned in Wales and being discussed in parliament to ban in England too. Defra have been accused of not taking notice of their own evidence. Very glad if the ban is put in place and horrified it was ever put to use in the first place. Lazy short cuts to serious behaviour problems. http://news.sky.com/story/1199078/electric-shock-collars-should-be-banned

      • Maybe DEFRA refuses to drink the Kool-Aid?

      • UK laws greatly differ to US when it comes to animal welfare. 2016 sees the end of using wild animals in circuses. We have no captive cetaceans in aquariums. Ear trimming and tail docking is banned (some working dogs may be docked) and Wales at least has seen fit to ban all electric shock devices for dogs and I am sure UK will still follow. Bear baiting was banned decades ago and hunting with dogs a few years ago. Meanwhile the US allows all of the above and many more atrocities. Just because its legal don’t make it right!!

      • Just because you don’t agree with something doesn’t make you right. You seem too arrogant to accept that, however.

      • The classic Progressive view that people are fundamentally incapable of responsible decisions and require an authoritarian do-gooder elite to oversee their choices. One can make this infantilizing argument about anything, from cigarette lighters to jacknives. Why not choose the path to uplift and educate, to assume that people can be masters of their tools?

      • You carry on and pinch and poke and punish and promote this type of dog training. Thankfully there are people on this page who don’t need to use these methods of training and don’t use an extensive vocabulary to confuse and bewilder us lesser mortals. You are by far the most pompous and overbearing individual I have come across in the field of dog training and our paths would never cross as my dog would never respond to such an intimidating and ridiculing ‘master’. Yes I do care about the welfare of dogs and I am not going to apologise for it. Your level of dog training probably wont bear witness to the misuse of this horrible contraption on an ordinary level.

      • Before I use *any* tool – chainsaw, sewing machine, or prong collar – I research how to use it properly. I don’t like to get hurt and don’t like hurting others (or wrecking an expensive tool).

        You can’t make the world and all its creatures safe by banning devices that can be misused. Soon, we’d be digging up roots with sharpened sticks — until the Anti-Sharpening Brigade tells us we can’t. Remember one of Murphy’s Laws: Nothing is foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

      • So you’ve never used a prong collar or seen it used? At all?

        And you care so much about dogs you’re completely uninterested in the mountain of evidence that prong collars have helped dogs, as testimony here offers. How many people who claim their lives have improved and their relationships with their dogs are better and their dogs are happier does it take? You are obviously free to use or not use any tool you wish. Just don’t expect to be taken seriously for condemning “horrible contraptions” you know nothing about and refuse to learn about.

      • I will condemn as I see fit and no I am not interested in a lot of the views here as they are the views of the professional dog trainer who has no interest in the effect on the general dog owning public who will sadly abuse these devices. My hope is that the UK will view these differently and ban them. If I had to resort to using an e collar to train dogs I would consider a career change. I think US operate on a different level to UK as I have yet to hear anybody extol the virtues of either.

      • I’ll offer a bit of an answer. I live in Australia, where prong and e-collars are not sold in any pet shops. They are extremely expensive (more than double the U.S prices), and require a license for suppliers to import. As a result, the only people I know who use them are either professional dog trainers, or their clients. Most people think that the prong collar on my dogs neck is some kind of jewelry or ‘bling’ (seriously), or that an e-collar is an Elizabethan collar. There is only a small market for these tools, which wholly consists of people who know what they’re doing.

        I like this system, but I think that’s because I can afford these tools.

      • That is exactly how it should be too but with the company that sells these devices trying to get stands at major dog shows or wherever in UK I fear that they will end up widely available and misused.

      • Who are you to assume? Just because YOU don’t understand the tool you think no-one should? What a fucktard!

  31. Wow, amazing to see the emotion elicited by this issue. I’m not an expert dog trainer by any means; I’ve owned the same breed, a large working breed known for being rather soft, for almost 30 years and have shown in performance events sporadically over the years, never going after or reaching the highest levels because of the time involved, but getting what our schedule would allow, which has been AKC novice and open obedience titles with a HIT along the way, a lot of rally titles and some drafting titles. Up until now, I’ve used nothing but positive training, but then I’ve never had a dog like the male I’m currently training. Guess he didn’t read the book on his breed, but he has intense drive, is in a constant state of arousal, and weighs over 100 pounds (he’s young, so he’ll put on another 15-20 pounds when he’s done filling out.) Last year, in spite of extensive training, he pulled me down–hard–and threw my back out so badly I could barely walk for two months. I am considering using a pinch for him on occasion, but even if I don’t, I’m sure as hell not going to get sanctimonious about the issue. Before I had this dog, I never would have thought I’d consider using one.

    • Yes, that is what some people don’t understand. I am the same. Didn’t really consider other methods until I had a dog-aggressive dog who wouldn’t respond to anything I tried. Walk a mile in your shoes type of thing.

  32. When I first began dog training, I was taught to use all rewards-based positive reinforcement (PR) training. I learned this methodology at the premier facility for this type of training in our area, and augmented my learning through careful study of the books frequently cited as the “bibles” in this training movement. After 2-3 years of very intense learning and practice, I basically had a dog that had some awesome obedience skills and several really cool tricks under her belt. But I could not take Pepper (my dog at the time) out if public around other dogs, because of her barking and lunging at them. I practiced the watch and redirect as taught to me, but no matter, all bets were off once a dog entered her field of view.

    Fast forward a couple of years. I found an experienced dog trainer who specializes in behavior problems and who trains using a pinch collar. I was cautious, because the PR trainers and gurus all warned that “aversives” will make undesirable behavior worse by creating a “bad association” in the dog’s mind.

    Well, the “aversive” trainer took care of the problem behavior in about 10 minutes. Yes, I needed to do what the trainer taught me to do after he handed the leash back to me – Pepper wasn’t stupid, after all! But that took maybe 5 minutes of my time. After that, we have been able to get on with our lives, enjoying the many activities that were closed off to us because of this stubborn problem behavior. 15 minutes and success vs. 2+ years and hundreds of hours and ultimately frustration. Which method would you choose?

    One last thing: Pepper’s demeanor after getting corrected? She gave me her attention – the kind of attention that I could not buy with all the high value food rewards in the Western Hemisphere! Not cringing or cowering, but eager, respectful attentiveness.

    Pepper’s quality of life (not to mention mine) improved immeasurably thanks to my being taught how to use the pinch collar. I have used it with all of my other dogs, with the same very positive result. They all squirm with excitement when I take the pinch collar off the hook. “Aversive”…really???

    I think we (humans) need to stop superimposing our perceptions, symbolic and tactile, about equipment and methods onto our dogs. Its always important to be empathetic and to want to avoid harm, but going to the other extreme by anthropomorphizing the dog is just as unlikely to help them. How a piece of equipment looks and feels to us has little to do with how the dog experiences it. We need to remember how dogs interact with each other when they play and communicate. Much of this behavior involves biting the scruff of the neck. These bites if applied to our skin would certainly hurt us or even kill us. For them, its enjoyable (play bites) or elicit compliance and respect (discipline).

    I have since learned that the pinch collar was designed to replicate the action of a dog’s mouth on the neck, to communicate with the dog in terms that he can understand instinctively. In my experience, it does this beautifully.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience with Pepper. I have heard a lot of similar stories, which is what got me thinking about writing this post initially. You make a good point about viewing things through our own prejudices and our own lenses and not looking at what the dog is telling us. This is exactly what I meant by “the proof is in the pudding”.

  33. Unfortunately the average dog owner has no clue as to how to properly use this piece of equipment – proper placement on neck and the “pressure and release” as you call it are never seen by me and I work in a large pet store and have been a dog trainer for years. At least 5-10 dogs come through the door every day with one on and it’s horrendous. The collar is low on the neck, it is at the end of a retractable leash, or the leash is held as tight as possible.

    I will agree to a point that ** if** used correctly that it can be a tool to control a dog effectively however I find much less cumbersome tools work for my 2 over 100lb working breed dogs that are breed among other things to pull. I will not recommend their use to pretty much anyone because I do not believe and have evidence to back this up that 95%+ of your average dog owner has not the skills nor the desire to learn the skills needed to operate this equipment properly. So while your argument in theory is valid the practical application is pretty much null as it is not used properly in just about every case I’ve seen. So thank you for your opinion and in the perfect lala land that every dog owner will not only place the collar properly but apply it correctly (with the proper training and timing) your article has merit. In the real world of improper placement, lack of training, timing and application. I call foul. Thank you.

    • Is it not possible for you to show them how to position it and use it properly? I always worry when people want to take a tool off a dog right away – that tool could be the only thing that is keeping that dog under control.

    • Oh Wendy, you were music to my ears with that reply. I have unsuccessfully tried to put that very point across here but was smacked down with scoffing replies using vocabulary and knowledge that I admit I do not possess. I have seen exactly the same thing happen with the Halti in the UK. I have seen dogs throwing themselves to the ground in their efforts to get the offending item off their nose and have also seen many pinched up around the eyes where they are ill fitting. I have neither the knowledge or the desire to use any devices on my own very well behaved dog and my plea was here for professionals to keep such things for themselves and their pupils if they must. Unleashing the prong on the general public is, as I thought, a great mistake. You are already witnessing the misuse. For every one used properly and knowledgeably their will be hundreds which will be abused. If professionals are concerned at all with the welfare of dogs everywhere they will NOT promote this tool for general use and will not sanction it to be available on general sale.

  34. Pingback: Dogs, Mental Health, and The Prong Collar | The Dog's Assistant

  35. Unfortunately, I *have* seen the results of someone deliberately using a sharpened prong collar (about 15 years ago), and it doesn’t look like this, it looks like, in the words of the person who did this to her dog, “hamburger”–it makes many small wounds, not big open circles. It didn’t look at all like this picture.

    The use of sharpened prongs–that moves right into the realm of harm, not help, and shouldn’t be tolerated any more than spurs causing wounds on a horse or a halti wearing the skin off a muzzle or a front-attachment harness that wears sores under a dog’s forelegs–but even worse, because someone made the decision to use a tool that was altered for the purpose of causing pain and damage.

    If your dog isn’t responding, a “bigger hammer” isn’t the solution–teach and train and give them positive reasons to obey.

    However, I believe that a prong collar used properly is the kindest, safest, most effective tool to use in some cases. But not as a weapon against a dog, rather as a tool toward greater communication and to help achieve something that might be hard to gain/teach otherwise. It’s a tool in the toolbox, and I’m glad it’s an option to access if it’s the best choice.

    FWIW, I dislike choke collars as I think they cause are easy to misuse to cause damage to the trachea, and I don’t think they are very useful for corrections (can cause more damage than it is aversive, so the dog will lean into it and pull and constrict his airways and blood flow and not avoid further self-damage). But I’m also glad we have choke collars as options for when there is a dog that might try to slip a leash in a dangerous situation (a stray or panicked dog who is trying to escape) and for when there are handler-aggressive dogs who might not otherwise be safe to handle.

  36. i am devastated to see such bad treatment of any animal,,i just hope these people do not have children.

  37. Pingback: Hashtag Aggression | Guard Dog Blog

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  39. Excellent article and excellent rational responses regarding proper use of prong collar.

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