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A Study on Prong Collars

Who can benefit from using Prong Collars

Is this the right collar?

Personal Notes

Prong Collars

Two types. One has a swivel so the chain doesn't get twisted at the point where the leash is snapped to the collar.

To put this collar on one's dog, one must take one of the prong links and disconnect it from another link that is just like it. Like a string of paper clips. You unfasten one and take the opened collar and place it fasten it around the dog's neck so it is high on the neck. It should fit so the links are gently pressing against the dog's neck with very light pressure, if the dog is not doing anything. For adjustments, You may need to remove or add links in order to get the perfect fit. Rethread the opened link back into it's mate.

Another variation of the prong collar, which I donít prefer, is the one with a snap or special link opener that is on the chain part of the collar. This makes it easier for the collar to fall off, should you accidentally, depress it when giving a correction.

Not all collars with a snap on the chain part have the same kind of snap and you might find a variety of snap or chain-type closure that you prefer. Some are better made than others - remember that any collar is only as strong as it's weakest point. As a safety measure -- Some prong collar users will put an additional slip or buckle collar on the dog and thread their leash snap through the rings of both prong and the second collar -- so if the prong collar comes loose for any reason, they still have control of the dog.

A Study on Prong Collars was done in Germany:

100 dogs were in the study. 50 used choke and 50 used prong.

The dogs were studied for their entire lives. As dogs died, autopsies were performed.

Of the 50 which had chokes, 48 had injuries to the neck, trachea, or back. 2 of those were determined to be genetic. The other 46 were caused by trauma.

Of the 50 which had prongs, 2 had injuries in the neck area, 1 was determined to be genetic. 1 was caused by trauma.

The numbers seem to speak for themselves.

(Information about this study taken from an Anne Marie Silverton Seminar)

A short list of people/dog teams that have benefited from the use of prong collars:

  • Small people with large dogs.
  • Any person with a dog that seems calm but suddenly bursts into action in some circumstances.
  • People with dogs that are pullers. (dogs choke/gag on a slip collar or ignore a buckle collar)
  • Disabled people with limited strength or range-of-motion to properly 'snap' correct a dog wearing a slip collar. A light touch is all that is needed.
  • Sometimes the collars are put into a cloth tube (like a scrunchy).
  • Persons with dogs with damaged trachea or collapsing tracheas.
  • Persons 'fine-tuning' a dog's responses to commands.
  • Bouncy puppies that are difficult to control in any other collars.
  • Walking more than one of these dogs at the same time -- you don't want ride your belly like a skate board while 200 or 300 some pounds of Anatolian in a team or troika take off with you.
  • ** Walking a large protective dog at night in an area where the normally calm dog is walking high on his toes, ready to react before you are. He is on 'predator alert'.

Certainly not an all inclusive list.

**Pinch Collars should NEVER be used on aggressive dogs no matter what the situation. Likewise Pinch Collars are not allowed in American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club, obedience competition. Further dogs testing for the American Kennel Club, Canine Good Citizens Certification are not allowed to be tested on a pinch collar.

Slip Collars:

There is only one correct way to put on a slip collar; the live ring ALWAYS lies across the top of the dogís neck. The weight of the collar is very important to the handlerís abilities to give a meaningful correction. Slip collars should never be used on dogs with protruding eyes or on dogs with weak or soft palates. The force of even a mild correction can pop the eyeballs out of the eye socket, or collapse the palate and/or the trachea. Slip collars are never to be left on any dog that is not under you direct supervision. Slip Collars will kill your dog, if improperly used or left on the dog! Never leave a slip collar on your dog!

Slip collars are allowed in American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club, obedience competition, provided that the leash is connected to the dead ring.

NOTE: USE the MILDEST collar that gives the results you need.

NOT every person/dog team is right for a prong collar, or a slip collar for that matter. We will evaluate you and your dog during the first class, then give you recommendations on which collar to use. Some dogs with damaged tracheas have to use flat buckle collars or pinch collars only. Starting a dog on a specialized correction collar, adds another step in your training program, requiring more time, effort, and retraining. We have a student that made her own training collar at her machine shop to use with her Chihuahuas.

You should be able to get the type of work you want from a dog, if you are using the right tools. You should be able to control and work with your dog without constantly 'reminding' him what to do... (nag nag nag nag, jerk jerk jerk pull pull pull) Nagging a dog on a slip (choke) chain looks bad. Continuous jerking, whether it is in a buckle or slip collar just hints that another type of collar, training method, or tool should used.

Nagging is not the same as training because the dog is IGNORING your corrections! You are effectively training the dog to ignore you. (this goes hand-in-hand with nagging 'sit-sit-sit-sit-SIT!') We all remember what nagging does to us. It makes me shut down (block it out) or fight back. Our dogs are quite similar in their behavior.

Anyway, every collar has a correct fit. Be sure to learn what that 'fit' is and as your pup grows, get new collars to maintain that fit.

Personal Notes

I've used prong collars for training in certain circumstances and with certain dogs. Some of my dogs have never been in a prong collar; some of them have for limited periods of time and under certain circumstances. So while I am giving all this information on prong collars, understand that I do NOT use it on every dog.

I think of prong collar as a tool that can increase the level of safety and control for both dog and handler. Some dogs by their physical structure require a pinch collar, others can be shutdown in a heartbeat by the use of one. Dogs requiring a pinch collar, by their physical type, that are to soft for the pinch collar, should be trained on a flat wide buckle collar. The handler should note that it will take longer to train the dog, but the safety of the dog should always be placed first. Knowing whether or not, the dog is using submissive postures to gain dominant control, is a MUST with collar selection. Many dogs learn to control their owners at a very early age, what the owner observes as shutting down, could be dominant control.

The objective of Scheurman's K9 Academy, is to train the dog to a point that the dog no longer requires the use of any correction collar as required by most ring sports. French ring as well as many others require the dog to work, without the aid of any collar.

At Scheurman's k9 academy we know that most dogs can be easily trained on a slip collar, but in the instances listed above a pinch collar may be needed. While the Pinch collar is a safer collar to use, it adds a step to your dog's training. You have to go from pinch collar, to slip collar, to buckle collar, to no collar. Starting with the slip collar eliminates one step in you dogs training.

At Scheurman's K9 Academy we do not use Remote, Shock , Ecollars or Electric collars, in teaching basic obedience or intermediate obedience commands. In fact we prohibit their use. There are two situations in which we use the remote collar: Deprogramming aggression, and snake avoidance.

In my opinion the shock collar has no place in TEACHING obedience commands. It is the tool of the weak-minded. In the hands of a professional trainer it has its uses, but most people I meet are not professional dog trainers.

Many people that I have talked to that go to the shock collar as a last resort because the dog is stubborn and not doing well in obedience training , and this is where you find abuse. The owner is already mad and upset, and has vowed that his or her dog will learn or else. This is the wrong frame of mind for any correction collar, but is more so for the remote collar. The irrational pet owner can push the button hundreds of times a day if not thousands, thus creating greater problems. At least with a slip or pinch collar, the owner will get tired from the physical effort of delivering corrections.

Let me point out here and now there is NOTHING gentle about the shock collar. It is the most easily abused tools we have for training dogs. It causes PAIN, pure and simple. I love the ads and dog trainers that say it emits a tingling sensation, or that it doesn't hurt. If that were the case we would still be frying criminals in Florida.

After reading the above you may wonder why we use it at all. At Scheurman's K9 Academy we use it as a last resort in deprogramming aggression when the student lacks the physical abilities to deliver an effective correction, and then the transmitter is held by the instructor not the student. This way the instructor controls the correction for the student. The instructor is not emotionally involved, and can retain accountability of the human student as well as the dog.

Scheurman's K9 Academy has reprogrammed hundreds of dogs, and the shock collar was used in less than 3%. It is NOT our first choice for anything, it would be our last choice or our only choice such as snake avoidance training.

One thing you have to remember about training dogs with shock collars is this, IF you screw up using the shock collar, and create aggression issues, you have removed the only tool we have to recondition your dog, should your dog fall in to the 3% of the dogs that need that level of correction.

While on the subject of correction collars, it is important to note that all corrections come from the collar. Hitting or kicking of dogs is never to be tolerated. Not by the owners, or instructors. Any dog trainer or dog training methods that advocate hitting or kicking of dogs, is not dog training. As I have stated countless times, the ONLY reason to hit or kick a dog is that you are being attacked, and are in a fight for survival. You will gain NOTHING from hitting your dog, but you could gain aggression toward yourself, and loose the respect of the dog.
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Scheurmanís K9 Academy offers dog training for ALL BREEDS and ALL AGES in Group classes, Private lessons format and or Board and Trains, for Basic Obedience, Intermediate Obedience, Competition Obedience for both the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club in Novice, Open, Utility and Rally. We also offer training in Personal Protection, Therapy Dogs, Service Dogs as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Search and Rescue, Cadaver Recovery, Schutzhund, KNPV, NVBK, French Ring. We further offer Canine First Aid and CPR classes, using our canine manikin, Scruffy.

Scheurmanís K9 Academy offers training programs to security, and law enforcement to include Narcotics Interdiction Dogs, Building Search Dogs, Perpetrator Apprehension Dogs, Officer Protection Dogs, Explosive Detection Dogs (Bomb), Accelerant Detection Dogs (arson), Riot Control Dogs, Prisoner Escort dogs, Cell Phone Detection Dogs, and Patrol Dogs.

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