Is it OK to use a prong collar or pinch collar?
I have a 4 yr old pit mix (pit/lab really but in strength and personality she leans a lot more toward "pit"). She is trained well and usually listens wonderfully. She is quite submissive and has never ever shown any type of human or animal aggression.
As soon as we step outside she forgets her manners, she wants to play and meet everything and everyone we come across. Needless to say most people aren't happy with a 70lb pit straining to greet them!
I took her to the pet store with me with the intention of buying a "gentle lead" harness and luckily for me the store had just gotten in a shipment of about 500 baby chicks, so they saw first hand the pulling problem, she has bruised my wrists from me holding so tight to the leash.
They were really discouraging about the gentle lead and had a lot of reasons why it wouldn't work for her, most of which did make sense. 45 minutes of them convincing me and I left with a "pinch" collar.
Here it sits, I can not bring myself to putting this on her, it looks so mean. I have put it on myself and had my husband give it a few tugs so I know it doesn't really hurt but.. I have tried every other method to get her to behave on leash and nothing is working.
However, I would rather let her pull and tug all day long then to use something that could hurt her or stress her out. I have watched endless video's and read countless articles on the proper way to use it but I just am not sure.
I guess I'm asking for a recommendation? Will it
help me to train her better on leash? Can it damage her? Have you had good experiences with these as a training tool? Gale's Reply:
I can't recommend a prong collar (sometimes called a pinch collar) because I have never used one. I do know that a lot of people use them and swear by them. But, I believe there are better ways to train a dog not to pull.
For example this article
outlines a simple, but elegant process for extinguishing pulling behavior and replacing it with loose leash walking. If your dog strains against the end of the leash even when you are standing still, be sure to note the final technique at the bottom of the article, "Back and to the Right". I have used this with my dogs with excellent results.
You asked about how safe and effective prong collars are. I would say it depends largely on the operator. The collar has to be properly fitted. And, proper technique has to be used to avoid injury. And, if your dog has a high pain tolerance (as many pit bulls do), you can't necessarily gauge whether you are using proper technique by how your dog reacts to the pinch.
Seeing that you are ambivalent about using the collar, I would suggest you try techniques like the ones outlined in the article referenced above. And, for a comprehensive training program, I can also recommend Canis Clicker Training
However, if you do decide to use the prong collar, I suggest you schedule a session with a professional trainer who can show you how to use it correctly. And, with whom you can practice under their professional guidance.
For more information on obedience training, visit our Pit Bull Training
For help with behavioral problems, check out our Dog Behavior Training