When you mention a prong collar to someone, they cringe. They think using a prong collar for training your dog is cruel and inhumane.
But contrary to popular belief, a prong collar gives the same type of correction that a mother dog gives to its pups when they are doing something harmful. That correction is called ‘pinching by the teeth’.
A prong collar is just a tool, and like all tools, the benefits or harms depend on how you use it.
Most people who are against the use of prong collars either don’t know how to use it or don’t fit it correctly around the dog’s neck.
This results in confusion and injury to your dog and that’s not what the prong collar is designed to do.
If you have a dog who is leash reactive and is constantly pulling you down the street, you need to show that you are in charge. You are more than capable of handling whatever is making them anxious
There are a ton of prong collars available in the market these days. They come in many sizes and colors.
Let me answer some of the most widely asked questions people have about a prong collar.
How a prong collar should fit
Always get a 2.25mm (small) or 3.00mm (medium) sized prong collar, depending on your dog’s fur and neck. Nothing larger than a medium. If you have a very large St Bernard-type dog, buy extra links for it.
A prong collar should fit right behind the dog’s ears, at the base of their skull, where the jawline ends. It should not fall down to the neck after it is placed.
Another thing to note is that you should be able to move the collar around the neck. It shouldn’t be so tight that you have real difficulty moving it or so loose that you can easily rotate it with one hand.
How to put a prong collar together
Putting a prong collar together correctly ensures that it does not come off easily and it doesn’t hurt your dog. Some people don’t connect the links properly and as a result, the collar breaks away.
So make sure that both prongs are linking properly into the next link. When both prongs go through the link, the collar gives proper correction
Pinch one of the links and insert the two prongs into the next link. Take the collar on and off by unhooking the links, don’t put it over the dog’s head!
There are also two rings on the collar. One is D shaped which is also called the ‘live ring’ and the other is O shaped, also called the ‘dead ring’. The live ring is where you attach your leash and the dead ring is where you connect your dog to a backup collar.
How to use herm sprenger prong collar
The Herm Sprenger collar is the market leader and there is no better prong collar available in the market than a herm Sprenger.
One of its special features is that the tips of the prongs are rounded. Round tips are more humane than sharp ones. It is also very durable and reliable. Make sure you are buying the one made in Germany, and not something that you get from a local pet shop.
Use a herm Sprenger collar just like any other prong collar. Firstly, make sure it is fitted properly and sits behind the ears.
Next, give a little tug when your dog is being distracted and loosen the leash when it behaves correctly. It will gently tell your dog that it needs to guide its head where you want it to, and wherever the head goes, the body follows!
How to adjust prong collar
The prongs of a collar should be pointed towards the dog’s neck. If you want to adjust the size, simply add or remove links. Do not buy a larger size. Large-sized collars don’t fit correctly. Get extra links for larger dogs.
You need to be able to unsnap and snap it back on when it’s on your dog. It should not fall down to the neck. It should have slack to it.
Will a prong collar hurt my dog?
Prong collars with rounded tips don’t hurt your dog. This is because dogs have an additional layer of fat around their necks so they can deal with that slight pressure.
Secondly, a prong collar is fitted at the base of the skull, underneath the chin. It is not on the neck.
When you fit the collar at the base of the skull, it is only moving the head from side to side. It is not applying any pressure on the trachea, pharynx, or esophagus which results in choking.
How long should you use a prong collar?
It’s crucial to slowly introduce the collar to your dog so that it becomes desensitized to it. Put it on and off randomly throughout the day. If your dog still shows some fear and anxiety to it, associate the collar with some positive reinforcement like treats or praise whenever you put it on.
Once the dog realizes that the correction is coming from you, not the collar, it will forget that there is something around its neck. That should be your goal.
Train the dog using a prong collar for only 1 hour a day and then take it off. Once the desired behavior is achieved, you can switch to a regular martingale or flat collar.
How Should You Place a Prong Collar On a Dog?
Never place a prong collar over the head. Use the links to securely place it around the dog’s neck.
The part of the collar that hooks to the leash should be in the middle of the two ears.
Adjust the size by taking off or adding more links. Make sure it has a certain give to it and it is able to rotate around the neck with your two hands.