It is reported that in 1789, King Frederick II of Prussia was the first to refer to dogs as “man’s best friend.” In this instance, King Frederick was speaking about one of his Italian greyhounds. His words have lived on and are now used frequently to describe the tight loyalty and bond that dogs have with their human companions.

Dog shock training collars have been receiving some heat from dog owners as of late. However, many dog trainers and experts have advocated the use of these training collars on dogs as long as you purchase a high quality collar and learn how to use it properly. This is key in ensuring that your pet will never be harmed, and it seems to be true.

Nevertheless, there are other methods for training dogs as well.

Think about the hierarchy of a wild dog pack. It is based on respect. The alpha dog commands the respect of the other members of the pack and females offer their unwavering respect to the males in the group. Dogs are hard wired to respect the dominant members of their family, and in your home that should be you. The only way to earn your pet's respect is to respect him in return.

Dogs trust humans, and to uphold and repay that trust, we have an obligation to treat them humanely. This includes promoting respectfulness in all realms of dog ownership, and most importantly in the training equipment that we use. You should only use humane dog training equipment no matter what training method you select.

Training usually begins during a dog's first few days with his new family, and in truth it should start as soon as you bring him home. If you start out using inhumane training aids with your pet, you will certainly be doing more harm than good. The last thing that you want to do is teach your dog to fear his new family. You want to use humane training techniques and equipment that will help him learn while also fostering the bond that the two of you are trying to form.

Respect Your Fido - Humane Dog Training Equipment

Respect Your Fido: Humane Dog Training Equipment

Many pet owners have a hard telling the difference between inhumane and humane equipment. Obviously if a product physically hurts an animal you can understand quickly that it is not appropriate for use. But what about training aids that harm a dog emotionally or mentally? Telling the different between humane and inhumane equipment is the first step to using humane dog training equipment.

Inhumane vs. Humane Dog Equipment

When it comes to using inhumane equipment on dogs, the most likely culprits are owners who are trying to train their dog behaviorally and are either not knowledgeable about alternative equipment or too frustrated to understand the damage done by their selection of brute tools to get the job done. Although training a dog can be frustrating at times (especially if the dog is hyper and just dones’t want to listen), it’s important to be respectful of your pet regardless of what he is doing and what new behavior you’re trying to teach him.

RELATED: No More Pain: Best Alternatives to Dog Shock Collars

Inhumane equipment revolves around behavioral modification. Choke collars, electric collars, and prong collars are all examples of brutal ways to train your dog. Choke collars, also known as “choke chains,” are barbaric chain-link collars that loop around your dog’s neck and tighten when he pulls.

Respecting Your Fido Humane Dog Training Equipment
Photo: smerikal

Most owners use them for disobedient dogs more than six months old. Choke collars should NEVER be used — for training or otherwise. They can cause serious damage to a dog’s trachea and spinal cord. Use of a choke collar is tantamount to animal abuse.

Electric collars deliver a nasty shock to the dog when he crosses a certain point on the owner’s property. They’re designed to use negative reinforcement to train him not to run away. This shock is often ineffective or overly effective, leading to behavioral issues and possibly spontaneous aggression. There’s also the chance that he will misinterpret the electric collar’s goal, becoming afraid of the outdoors in general instead of just crossing the property line.

Prong collars are not humane dog training equipment either. They are designed to pinch the dog’s neck whenever he pulls on the leash. They usually have small spikes that sink into the dog’s skin slightly, and the dog is forced to walk slowly to avoid the pain that comes from pulling on his leash. Frankly, prong collars and electric collars are both inappropriate for use on your dog, regardless of how stubborn he is.

Choking, electrocuting, and pronging your dog are all unnecessarily harsh ways to instill behavioral lessons in him. Instead of using those methods, try working with humane dog training equipment. We’ve compiled a list of alternatives to choke chains, shock collars, and prong collars. Along with clear and consistent instructional behavioral training, they will help eliminate your dog’s unacceptable behavior without causing fear or pain.

Alternatives to Choking, Shocking, and Pronging Your Dog

Choke collars are designed to train a dog to be obedient while on the leash, but there’s no need to injure your pet’s trachea to get him to behave. The PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness is designed to keep your dog firmly but gently on track without wandering or misbehaving while you’re walking him.

RELATED: How to Deal with Dog Aggression Without Training Collars

It is made of strong, soft nylon that is gentle to the dog’s skin. It fits around him like a harness with snap buckles on the shoulders and belly. Adjustment points on the nylon allow the user to fit the leash comfortably and snugly to their dog.

Humane Dog Training Equipment
Photo: Amazon / PetSafe

Because the leash goes across the breastbone, low enough that it doesn’t touch the tracheal area, it never causes choking, gagging, or any other breathing problem. The harness prevents harm to the trachea by redirecting pressure throughout the dog, neutralizing any harm that an uneven pull or restrictive twisting could have caused. It’s a safe, kind alternative to choke collars. It discourages leash misbehavior without brutality.

Shock collars, another example of unnecessarily harsh punishment, are designed to prevent dogs from running away and from barking too much. Shocking is unnecessary, and many alternatives have been designed to keep dogs in the yard and reasonably quiet without electrocuting them. The most reliable by far is behavioral training combined with positive reinforcement.

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A gentle tool to use instead of the shock collar is one that sprays citronella instead. It fits comfortably around your dog’s neck just like any other collar. Instead of emitting a shock, it sends out a burst of citronella, a plant-based oil with a distinctive smell used in many insect-repelling candles. The smell of citronella neither hurts nor frightens the dog; he just doesn’t like it. While citronella is technically negative reinforcement and shouldn’t be used as your only disciplinary tactic, it is not a dangerous training tool. It’s humane and easy to use.

PetSafe offers the best-rated product here too. The PetSafe GentleSpray Anti-Bark Collar can be used on dogs six months and older, and although originally intended as a way to reduce annoying and unnecessary barking, it works on just about any undesirable behavior. Attached by a nylon collar, it sprays a gentle burst of harmless citronella to condition the dog to stop the bad behavior. Remember to use positive reinforcement along with it while training your dog.

RELATED: 10 Best Dog Products for Solving Behavior Problems

The Humane Society of the United States loathes prong collars, and for good reason. They’re painful and cruel and, although effective, have detrimental effects that are much too great to make them worthwhile. An alternative to the prong collar is the head halter. Head halters work on even the most stubborn of dogs. They are approved by the Humane Society as a harmless way to secure your dog while you are walking together.

Respecting Your Fido Humane Dog Training Equipment
Photo: Crystal Rolfe

The Premier Gentle Leader Head Dog Collar (another PetSafe product) is painless and never chokes or forcibly restrains your dog. It loops around his head and gives the owner the control. It is not a muzzle — your dog still has a good-sized range of motion of his mouth; it is simply a stronger way to guide than just a basic leash.

Take a stand for animal rights and switch any of your inhumane dog equipment to more humane (and equally or more effective) products. Advertise your purchases among your dog-owning friends and acquaintances and encourage them to switch to humane dog training products as well.