Sunday, March 12, 2023
HomePetProng Collars: Every little thing it is advisable know (2023)

Prong Collars: Every little thing it is advisable know (2023)

As topics go, Prong collars are fairly divisive within the canine world. 

When the mother and father of a giant canine (notably, although small breeds usually are not exempt) increase the query of free leash strolling or stopping their canine from pulling on their leash, the topic will get heated quick. “Prong collar is the one means”, “Headcollar” “coaching” “harness with a entrance level” “Stability harness” and many others and many others. After which comes the controversy of aversive vs constructive. Inevitably inaccuracies get thrown round and general? There’s a variety of myths and a lack of knowledge as a result of all of it comes from a passionate place.

I imply, afterall, for those who’ve been utilizing a device for 30 years along with your canine (and even 3 months) you don’t wish to discover out that you just’ve been doing a foul factor, or that for those who’ve been sucking it up and utilizing a harness, you don’t wish to discover there’s doubtlessly a better choice. 

So, I wish to talk about a type of choices for you now, so that you just, my expensive pet guardian, perceive what you’re when assessing these choices for you and your little pup. Since you deserve info that’s clear, truthful and backed by science or the knowledge of the producer. 


Discovering the perfect technique for each you and your canine is basically necessary, so I have to talk about it. 

I’m going to debate what they’re, how they work, why they work. Focus on with you when they need to be used and after they shouldn’t. What they’re made to do, and what they’re not made to do. 

Caveat Inbound

I’m stating it like this so it’s tremendous apparent for any coach coming into this piece to know my stance, this caveat is just not essentially for you, my expensive new pet guardian, however I’ve a dedication to my coaching methodology and have to brazenly state this.
For causes defined beneath, I’m not a fan of prong collars, nonetheless, to be able to give a view into why, this piece is required. I’ll write as unbiasedly as I can, and be informative and factual, permitting you to make your personal choices.

The entire pictures on this publish include canine who’re carrying prong collars incorrectly.
That is deliberate! As you undergo the article, see for those who can inform why they’re flawed.


weimeraner in a prong collar
Weimeraner in a prong collar… see that tag?

What Is A Prong Collar

A prong collar (additionally referred to as a pinch collar) is an instance of a canine coaching collar, and normally replaces a flat collar. It’s an adaptation of choke chains, the hyperlinks develop into bigger and there are “enamel” on every hyperlink that encircle the neck. The collar is designed to create even strain across the neck and distribute the ‘correction’ so it may be thought of ‘kinder’ than a choke collar, choke chains, or slip leash different.

Nevertheless, it’s good to notice that the prong collar works by giving a ‘leash pop’ or ‘correction’ by means of the leash, a fast jerk on the leash ends in a sudden constriction of the neck. 

Now, numerous trainers will let you know that this doesn’t damage the canine, that it merely tells them no in a language they perceive. 

While that could be true, it’s not one thing we’ve knowledge for, and taking into account {that a} canine neck is 3x extra delicate than ours, and so they positively limit airflow for a short while, it’s debatable that this system goes towards animal welfare rights and are subsequently banned in sure international locations like Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland and the Canadian Province of Quebec. 

In fact this may be argued as human error, however typically it’s simply simpler to manage the scenario than treatment the fallout… 

dog tethered to a railing by a prong collar
canine tethered to a railing by a prong collar, would we deem that secure?

How Does A Prong Collar Work?

This one is basically necessary, earlier than you employ any device along with your canine that you just perceive how they work and why your canine will reply to it – particularly after they can not talk their wants or emotions clearly.

The prong collar (much like a choke chain or slip lead) works on constriction. It’s structured like a martingale collar, the place the majority of the collar is tightened by a cinching chain which attaches to your leash. What’s completely different a couple of prong collar is that because the martingale tightens it brings in “enamel” or prongs. These are then used whenever you wish to apply a “Correction” (additionally referred to as a leash pop) that press into the pores and skin round your canine’s neck to use discomfort or ache to be able to talk that your canine has achieved one thing incorrectly.


Then, after they do one thing proper, or are questioning themselves, the actual fact you don’t pop the leash implies that they get a rush of aid.

Nevertheless, it’s actually necessary that all through the method of coaching a canine with a prong collar that we’re conscious, that we admit that it causes ache or discomfort to be able to have an impact. This provides respect for the device, and implies that you’re much less possible to misuse it. And in case your coach tells you that that is not the case, then they’re not a coach you ought to be working with.

These are the "quadrants of operant conditioning" that exist within dog training, with Positive reinforcement, negative punishment, positive punishment and negative reinforcement
This can be a nice perception into how canine coaching boils down. These are the 4 quadrants of operant conditioning – which is what motivates any learner (be they human or canine or in any other case) is motivated by. The usage of a prong collar falls firmly on that backside row, it’s constructive punishment and damaging reinforcement.

When To Begin Utilizing A Prong Collar

So, the time to start out utilizing it’s everytime you’ve genuinely exhausted your choices whenever you’ve tried the kinder methodology, you’ve tried an expert constructive coach, and also you’ve gotten to some extent the place your canine can not progress regardless of your dedication, endurance and addressing the entire points of your canine’s life that could be inhibiting their studying.

In response to Herm Sprenger: 

“They [Prong Collars] usually are not beneficial until different coaching strategies have been exhausted.” 

Herm Sprenger

You ought to be exhausting different means earlier than resorting to a prong collar. And I do know that typically it could possibly really feel like you will have achieved so, however usually? That’s not the case.

A prong collar is a tool that has good and dangerous factors to it, however as we’ll go into later, it’s ripe for misuse. While I’d hope you’d use it proper (although, I don’t suppose I’d belief myself to make use of it proper constantly over lengthy intervals of time), it additionally doesn’t surpass the truth that you’ll be able to most likely obtain your free leash strolling targets means simpler than banishing your pup or canine to this system. 

Can I Use A Prong Collar On A Pet?

No, they aren’t appropriate to be used on a pet. While Herm Sprenger advise that 5-6 months is the minimal? I’d argue a yr to 18 months is the minimal you ought to be contemplating this device. 

Why? As a result of puppies study actually simply. Like… actually simply. I don’t care what breed you will have, how sturdy they’re, or how small you’re. You’ll be able to have a canine who listens properly, learns properly and as a pet? They’re primed for that. That’s what they had been constructed for, is to study.  (When you’re struggling to show a free leash, that is for you.)

All you need to do to unlock that? Is to determine how you can talk with them. When you can determine that out? You don’t want a prong collar. You’ll be able to stroll your canine round and not using a collar, harness, leash (please don’t do it in public, there are legal guidelines in place) and they’ll take heed to you each step of the best way. 

Oh! And for those who comply with my steerage with pupdates? You received’t ever get to this stage, since you’ll be practising a free leash lengthy earlier than they’re massive and unruly!

large dog in a prong collar getting out of a pool on a leash
massive canine in a prong collar getting out of a pool on a leash…

Are Prong Collars Dangerous To My Canine Or Pet?

They definitely may be if misused. 

Misuse covers :
❌ poor or incorrect placement on the canine.
❌ poorly fitted collars or incorrectly sized.
❌ incorrect timing of ‘corrections’
❌ permitting canine to self appropriate.
❌ used within the automotive (particularly to safe within the automotive)
❌ worn in a crate
❌ Making an attempt to resolve incorrect issues with a prong
❌ lengthy durations carrying a prong
❌ when used on the underaged
❌ when used on shy canine
❌ when used on scared canine
❌ when used on aggressive canine
❌ when used while not outlined coaching periods
❌ when used while unattended
❌ when used with something aside from a brief leash

With this quantity of no-no’s it’s so freaking simple to get flawed that may trigger injury to your canine bodily, mentally, or simply to the bond between you and your canine. To not point out that the window of alternative to be used turns into so slim that these canine are literally most likely very easy to coach anyway.

That is the place a variety of pro-prong folks will say “However my canine loves their prong” – which is nice, however in the identical means you’ve conditioned them to like that prong? You may have taught a free leash and not using a prong. Or I may truly train them to like a jellyfish on their head…

So sure, Prong Collars can have the flexibility to be very dangerous, very simply.

How To Place A Prong Collar

The correct positioning for a prong collar is correct on the high of the neck, the place the cranium meets the neck muscle as that is essentially the most ‘weak’ a part of your canine, the place the prong collar will yield most impact for coaching and consequently the specified end result. Nevertheless, the device will work regardless of the place it’s been positioned.

It’s good to notice {that a} canine’s neck is 3x extra delicate than a human neck, so we actually don’t want to make use of a lot strain.

Can You Go away A Prong Collar On A Canine


Prong collars are designed to be in your canine during coaching solely. ID tags shouldn’t be placed on a prong collar, and your canine ought to not be left in a single for lengthy intervals of time. Doing so exposes your canine to an inordinate quantity of hazard, injury and dangers that simply usually are not price speaking about.

two dogs with their heads out of windows, prong collar on spaniel
two canine with their heads out of home windows, prong collar on spaniel, what do you suppose on the dimensions and timing of it’s utilization?

How To Prepare Your Canine Off Of A Prong Collar

This can be a actually easy. Determine which tools you want to your canine to stroll on, and seize a double ended leash, like a halti coaching leash, and clip the prong to 1 finish of the leash, and the harness or collar to the opposite. 

As your want for corrections reduce, permit the steadiness of the leash to lean in the direction of the harness, and away from the prong. 

Slowly, you’ll switch all of the leash to the harness or collar, and depart the prong collar on, however unattached (nonetheless for brief intervals please, and underneath fixed supervision!) and finally? Take away the prong collar totally.

In fact, for those who see regression, then ensure that the earlier coaching technique is reverted to. 

Is A Prong Collar Unhealthy? 

They definitely have the potential to be.

This can be a actually subjective query. My private stance? Sure they’re dangerous, as a result of they’ve far too massive a capability to be misused. While I do know that the potential for misuse is just not a motive to name one thing dangerous, it’s primarily a way of coaching that I see no motive for. 

In my years of canine coaching (at this level, I’ve been concerned in coaching over 1300 canine and received awards), I’ve by no means discovered a motive for a prong collar that can’t be resolved with constructive coaching.

Sure, constructive coaching will take longer and shall be more durable work, however is that any excuse to resort to one thing that can make your canine life uncomfortable? I don’t suppose so. Additionally, the results of constructive coaching isn’t depending on the presence of the system… which is certainly a great factor. 

The opposite motive I’d advise towards prong collar utilization is due to the time by which you need to apply the ‘correction’. 

little bully breed wearing a prong collar
little bully breed carrying a prong collar – How do you’re feeling concerning the sizing right here?

You might have 2 seconds to seize a behaviour, proper or flawed, reward or correction. 

With constructive reinforcement, you need to use a marker phrase, and reward to present you just a little longer for the deal with/play reward. However for corrections? You need to interpret the motion, and inform your arm to maneuver at a sure velocity/tempo/no matter else and ship it shortly, or else your canine won’t perceive what you’re correcting. 

If that window is that small and also you make a mistake, would you favor to be delivering complicated rewards, or complicated punishment? 

Are Prong Collars Appropriate For A Reactive Canine? 

No. That is supported by Herm Sprenger, the highest producer of prong collars on the earth. 

Something ache based mostly is just not appropriate for a reactive canine. 

Canine develop into reactive (largely) by means of worry or pleasure. Damaging experiences that they’ve realized to drawback clear up with trying mighty scary, scare the opposite canine away, after which security is restored. It’s one other self-rewarding cycle.

Including in a prong collar and ‘correcting’ their worry (aka. A jerk on the leash to all of the sudden, shortly limit airflow because the enamel of the prong squeeze the neck, usually misappropriated as a ‘mommy chunk’ – I’ll talk about that each other time…)  truly simply reinforces the concept that they had been proper to be scared of the oncoming risk. 

Over time? This forces the canine right into a state of realized helplessness. This kind of state is just not a state the place studying can happen, it’s a state the place all their choices have been eliminated. 

The analogy utilized by lots of people is think about your worst worry, after which somebody sitting there and forcing you to face it. 

Prong collars usually are not appropriate for something fear-based, which is the place reactivity falls. 

a rather sad looking rottweiler wearing a prong collar
a relatively unhappy trying Rottweiler carrying a prong collar, actually shut right here… however what’s the difficulty?

My Opinion On Prong Collars

No matter my coaching preferences. Prongs are extensively, extensively misunderstood and consequently extensively misused. 

The truth that a reward or a correction can solely be given inside 2 seconds of the motion for both to be of impact implies that your reactions have very slim home windows to realize their purpose. Consequently, it’s my recommendation to not use ‘corrections’ as a result of they’re too simple to overlook. When you’re going to overlook one thing, would you relatively that your canine misunderstood a reward, or a punishment? The previous associates you as a great factor, the latter associates you with dangerous issues. 

With the usage of a prong collar, you instantly develop into your canine supply of punishment.

The usage of these instruments in any ‘physique’ of labor (reminiscent of on police k9’s) is not an excuse so that you can use them on a pet canine. It doesn’t lend them any credibility. It in actual fact dates the police academy’s coaching strategies again to the 1990’s, together with their laptop techniques and their strategy to the legislation… is that one thing you actually want to stand with

The “My canine loves his prong, and get’s all excited when he sees it” is easy classical conditioning, such that your canine recognises which means coaching or walkies, that doesn’t imply that they really feel constructive concerning the expertise when the prong tightens round their neck. 

I imply, I can prepare your canine to see a lemon and suppose it’s the perfect factor on the earth – it doesn’t imply they’ll just like the style of lemon. 

It’s a device that I imagine, like headcollars, folks use as a shortcut of their coaching. They take the simple route, versus instructing correct, stable cues and instructions.

Oftentimes, breed is an excuse “Oh, he’s a German Shepherd, he wants a prong or he’ll be uncontrolled” properly… no… that’s probably not true is it? It implies that you’re not in management. That implies that you have failed in coaching your canine and have taken a shortcut as a substitute of studying to know and work along with your canine. 

I imply… zookeepers prepare tigers. A bloody Tiger!!! With constructive reinforcement. That creature is means stronger and far more harmful than a german shepherd… so why hold perpetuating the identical garbage? 

Coaching continues to be required.

Even with a prong? You continue to want to coach your canine. And Herm Sprenger agrees.

“No collar will completely repair a canine’s dangerous conduct. This must be achieved with good coaching. A prong collar offers you a little bit of “energy steering” with a bigger canine that pulls laborious, but it surely’s no substitute for coaching.”

Herm Sprenger

So… for those who’re coaching? Simply prepare the proper means… the primary time and don’t search shortcuts. 

If You Do Determine To Use A Prong Collar

✅ Exhaust different choices
✅ Match it correctly
✅ Use an skilled coach (who admits what it’s and the way it works)
✅ Use as designed
✅ Decide a top quality one (no rubber ideas!)
✅ Don’t neglect to coach them off of it.
✅ Familiarise your self with canine physique language, notably stress indicators.

While I don’t agree with them, that doesn’t imply you need to. When you resolve that is your proper path, simply just be sure you’re going into this as ready as you’ll be able to, since you owe it to your canine to take action.

belgian malinois wearing a prong collar, an ecollar, a regular collar and harness.
belgian malinois carrying a prong collar, an ecollar, an everyday collar and harness. Greater than just a little overkill… huh? However aside from that, what’s flawed?

A Observe About Herm Sprenger

While the product is clearly high quality, and I really like that they really provide you with most of this info – the knowledge is relatively buried. It ought to be one thing just a little louder and prouder on their website. It’s a big a part of what drove me to write down this weblog publish was as a result of individuals are utilizing these instruments and usually are not truly trying on the complete web page, studying all the knowledge and are consequently making poorly knowledgeable choices. 

Or, they’re making their determination based mostly on the phrase of a coach who’s practising with outdated strategies – which is a very easy mistake to make. 

My hope? Is that this info will get shared, heaps. That it seems on google when folks search “Prong collar for my canine” and so they have the chance to study. The knowledge is available, but it surely is a bit more buried than I want to see.

So please Herm Sprenger! Stand behind your product and inform folks brazenly the reality!

Problem Accepted.

Oftentimes Prong collars are brandished round because the holy grail of proudly owning a canine. However they’re not. 

Merely put? They’re a shortcut. 

A shortcut that compromises an excessive amount of for me to really feel comfy utilizing one or recommending one when there are tried and examined strategies that don’t require one.

There’s not often a time the place a prong is genuinely wanted in a great relationship along with your canine. And for those who genuinely really feel like that’s the case? Superb, however I promise you (problem me if you need! Positively, constructively and with an open thoughts) there’s a constructive answer you’ll be able to take to realize the similar purpose. Irrespective of how prey pushed, regardless of how sturdy. Irrespective of how ‘cussed’. You are able to do it with endurance and steerage. 

Truthfully, I do know, I’ve taught an amazing, dependable free leash (even with out the leash) so much with all types of canine, all types of breeds. It’s about endurance and consistency. That’s all. You might have that. All of us have that. We simply have to use it.

If you would like the bones of how you can prepare your canine to stroll on a free leash and not using a prong collar? Do that publish, and for those who want extra assist? Have a learn of how you can prepare your canine to stroll free leash.

Writer, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Constructive Pet Knowledgeable, canine coach and is the founding father of Rebarkable. She is obsessed with serving to pet mother and father get issues proper, proper from the beginning. To assist create a pet able to being a assured and adaptable member of the family and hold puppies out of shelters.

Ali has received a number of awards for her canine coaching, and has had her weblog (this weblog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ finest pet weblog!

P.s. Pssssst – Each single picture I may discover on my inventory picture supplier was a prong collar being misused. Are you able to inform me why they’re being misused? I’ll let you realize for those who’re proper!

Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
He started his career as a columnist, contributing to the staff of a local blog. His articles with amusing views on everyday situations in the news soon became one of the main features of the current editions of the blog. For the divergences of thought about which direction the blog would follow. He left and founded three other great journalistic blogs,, and With a certain passion for writing, holder of a versatile talent, in addition to coordinating, directing, he writes fantastic scripts quickly, he likes to say that he writes for a select group of enthusiasts in love with serious and true writing.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments