What is prong collars and how do you properly fit them?
I cringe every time I see a pinch/prong collar used incorrectly. If used properly they are a useful, effective and a safe tool for dog training. The wrong way to wear and use a pinch/prong collar can damage your dog and serves only to aggravate you and the dog. It is called a prong collar because it has prongs on the collar but works to pinch the dog’s neck not jab the neck if used correctly. Worn incorrectly this type of collar can have possible harmful effects on the dogs neck. People often misunderstand this style of collar and think wearing it loose and hanging down on the neck is less stressful for the dog, just the opposite is true.
The incorrect way to wear the pinch collar is loose hanging down on the lower part of the dog’s neck and the leash attached to only the live ring (one ring). Why, because there is too much play in the collar, to much time delay in the correction, to severe of a correction, and can damage the dog. When the collar is worn like this it is just not effective.
The correct way to wear a pinch collar is sitting so it will pinch the neck. This way the collar should be worn up behind the dog’s ears and the leash attached to both rings, this is called dead ring attachment. There should only be a finger difference of space between the dog’s neck and the collar. Why is this effective, because the collar is at a location and position where it takes a very short little tug or correction, the dog can feel the leash control easily. Only this small correction is necessary. Believe me I have trained many a dog and this is the only way I use this type of collar. It takes almost no correction in training to use the collar in this proper way. The dog quickly learns and understands what you want from them. The collar and leash almost become one in movement and the dog can feel the leash.
If used properly this style of collar is in no way cruel for the dog. I have found that a collar properly fitted up behind the dog’s ears, hooked on both rings, is a fast, safe, and an easy way to train.
There are many styles and a few brands of the pinch collars on the market. Herm Sprenger makes the finest engineered pinch collars. Many years ago I started out with a cheap prong collar I bought at my local farm store before I discovered the Herm Sprenger collars. The cheap collar I had at more than one point slipped the links apart and the prongs were sharp edged. So the money you pay for a Herm Sprenger will be well worth it and it will last the life time of the dog.
There are some new styles of Herm Sprenger pinch collars that are less intrusive looking and easier to put on the dog. A few years ago Herm Sprenger came out with the Neck Tech style of pinch collar. We were sent a few prototypes to test and my first reaction was the prongs are to short and I don’t think the collar will work on a longer haired dog like the German Shepherd. Boy was I wrong, they are pricey but they work fabulous. And you don’t have to put a cover on the pinch collar to disguise it while working in public. We make covers for the regular prong collars because the general public that has never trained a dog think these types of collars are cruel just by their looks.
The larger the MM gauge of wire of the pinch collar the less effective it is. I like the 3mm size myself but there are uses for all the sizes. These collars also come in much variety of metals and are priced accordingly. A chrome pinch collar will cost you less than a stainless steel collar. When training our service dogs I prefer the Neck-Tech with push release buckle. This is the easiest collar to put on for most people and especially someone who has hand mobility hand issues. The only drawback to the Neck-Tech collars is the links are not easy to take out and put in. But once you have the collar properly fitted this should only be a onetime thing to do to set the size. I use a flat blade screw driver to slightly bend open a prong and then pliers to close back up once I have the desired size I need.
In conclusion it is so important to properly fit and use this type of collar. It will be a very valuable training tool one I recommend.