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What is The Purpose of a Prong Collar? Are They Beneficial?

    The prong collar aims to safely correct bad behavior while your dog is on the leash. When a dog pulls or lunges, the collar will tighten. The tightening will not hurt the dog, but will immediately let your dog know they are doing something wrong.

    Training your dog is one of the essentials in raising a pet. It not only teaches your dog obedience, but ensures the safety of you, your pup, and your family members and friends. You may seek local training classes, professional trainers, or consult with your veterinarian. While classes are a great option, others have found the use of a prong collar to be effective.

    Types of Collars

    Standard Collars

    Different dogs will require different levels of control through their collar. Flat collars are your typical dog collar. They have a quick release and work well for all the basics (attaching a leash, holding the tags, etc.)

    Martingale collars are sized to fit like a flat collar, but allow tightening when a dog pulls from its owner. This gives the owner more control of their dog.

    There are different harness options, as well. Some wrap the front portion of the body and secure it on the back to provide full control of the dog. Others have a link for the leash in the front to better guide the dog in walking.

    Punishment Collars

    Punishment collars inflict pain or cause discomfort to your dog when an undesired behavior occurs.

    Choke collars are chains that tighten around the dog’s neck when it pulls. When the dog stops pulling, the chain releases back into a loose loop around the neck.

    Shock collars provide variations of electrical currents from mild to higher levels. These sensations are often used to discourage barking or unwanted behavior.

    Lastly, the prong collar is a variation of the choke collar but has prongs along the inside of the chain that rest on the dog’s neck.

    Purpose of The Prong Collar

    The purpose of the prong collar is to inform your dog immediately that they are exhibiting unwanted behavior.

    This lets your dog know in the moment that they have done something wrong. However, to truly train your dog, you must train it beyond saying “no” or “stop.”

    Your dog will learn what not to do, but will need other forms of training and positive reinforcement to shape behaviors as a whole.

    How Do Prong Collars Work

    Prong collars consist of linked chains with metal prongs that curve into the dog’s neck. These can look different but serve the same purpose.

    They rest on the dog’s neck until the owner pulls the leash or a dog proceeds in pulling on their leash.

    When the pull occurs, a tightening of the prongs on the dog’s neck will occur, alerting it to stop.

    Proper Fitting

    For any collar of this sort, proper fitting is essential. The size of the prongs must be appropriate for the size of the dog.

    Placement of the collar should be high and snug on the neck reaching up to the back of the ears.

    If the collar is too large, it can bring shifting in the placement and cause damage to the trachea of the dog.

    Reasons to Use a Prong Collar

    Leash Training

    Training your dog to walk on a leash can be difficult. Walks introduce your dog to a whole new world that brings lots of curiosity and wandering. However, it can also bring out some unsafe behaviors.

    Prong collars can be effective if your dog is aggressive towards other dogs. When walking, it’s rare to not encounter other animals along the way.

    Prong collars help keep your dog under control and prevent injury to themself or others. They also provide pressure when the dog is pulling on your walks.

    This is an immediate message they receive when they pull and can discourage them from continuing their behavior.

    Using this collar can help transition your walks that may be chaotic at first and help train your dog to know its boundaries when on the leash.

    If Traditional Training Has Been Ineffective

    Some state that traditional training has been ineffective for their dog or that their dog is a breed that needs more than what a typical training class can offer.

    Although leash training is a common way to use the prong collar, training in the home and social settings can be taught with the prong collar as well.

    As with walking, when a dog partakes in undesired behavior, the pull of a prong collar gives immediate notification to the dog that it has done something wrong.

    In accordance with a trained professional, the prong collar can aid in sending this message, allowing redirection and behavior improvement.

    This can be used in teaching what’s appropriate and what’s not with other pets in the home, along with other mannerisms.

    Reasons Not to Use a Prong Collar


    Prong collars are controversial and have many who strongly believe for and against it. Prong collars are not recommended to be purchased and used without proper training.

    This can be training directly to you as an owner on the use or working with a professional on how to effectively and safely use the collar.

    Although some may recommend you try this to help with your pup, always seek professional guidance.

    Infliction of Pain

    The purpose of the prong collar is to cause discomfort. If not used correctly, pain and injury can occur.

    There are many classes and professionals that focus on training dogs through positive reinforcement as opposed to this punishment method.

    Many argue that this collar brings unnecessary pain and discomfort to dogs in the most sensitive areas of their bodies.

    Injuries Because of Misuse

    Prong collars are to be used for walks, training, or when addressing behaviors. These are not to be used as a permanent collar for the dog or to be used unsupervised. Your dog should never be placed outside on a chain or line with this collar on.

    Injuries occur when owners misuse them or allow their dog to wear them frequently. This includes not ensuring the collar is a fit for their dog. Not all dogs require a prong collar though some will purchase the collar and use it the way a flat collar is intended to be used.

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