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Dog owners like us often feel the need to protect our dogs from any harm that may happen.

And to do this, we always make sure to give what's best for them—from the food they eat down to the collars they use.

Have you heard of prong collars? Prong collars are training collars used to keep our dogs' behavior in check. 

Although open-minded, most owners are wary about its structure that might compromise their dog's comfortability.   

However, this article will debunk all of the common myths regarding prong collars and discuss how to use them properly. 

But first of all, what are prong collars, and what's the reason for their creation in the first place?  

What Are Prong Collars? 

What Are Prong Collars? 

A prong collar also called a pinch collar, is simply a dog collar that has become controversial for years because of its name and structure.  

Although there are no apparent traces of prong collars in history, experts believed it started in Europe, specifically Rome, to train their hunting dogs.

However, prong collars were patented and named by Herm Sprenger, a dog equipment company in Germany.

The design of this particular collar is a series of chain links connected, with the prong structures worn inwards.

A prong collar's primary function is to pressure the dog's neck area whenever they are forced to pull their leash, which will eventually cause them to stop pulling.

The said reason is why it's popular among several dog training types such as obedience, behavioral, and vocational training. 

Many who oppose prong collars only criticize it for its structure but not its purpose. The first thought that often comes to mind is the potential damage to their dog's throats and necks.

Listed below are some myths raised and clarified about prong collars. Let's discuss it one by one.   

1. Prong Collars Are NOT Regular Collars; It’s A Training Collar

1. Prong Collars Are NOT Regular Collars; It’s A Training Collar

Dog collars, in most cases, indicate that the dog using them has owners. However, this is not the case for prong collars.

Prong collars are used primarily for intensive and systematic training, which, when used, applies pressure around your dog's neck whenever they misbehave.

This dog equipment is not for regular use since it may damage their trachea or the skin around their neck.

Hence, you must bear in mind to remove it every after training.

2. Prong Collars Are Specifically for Hyperactive and Aggressive Canines

2. Prong Collars Are Specifically for Hyperactive and Aggressive Canines

Consider this scenario; you're walking with your dog around a park full of people.

Several kids are playing at the playground, and some adults are just talking about their unexpected problems in life over a cup of coffee. 

Suddenly, your dog sees a squirrel, and their senses tell them to charge at it. It disturbs the whole park due to the sudden commotion as you run after your dog, trying to catch and stop them. 

If you relate to this problem, you might start considering purchasing prong collars for your dog.

Prong collars help in controlling hyperactive or aggressive dogs by giving a gradual pressure around their neck.

This equipment will refrain them from being mischievous, like chasing a squirrel or attacking another dog. 

3. Prong Collars Are NOT For Smaller Breeds

3. Prong Collars Are NOT For Smaller Breeds

Smaller breeds are not advisable to wear prong collars. Toy breeds like Chihuahua, Pug, and Maltese have delicate skin around their necks.

Thus, if they attempt to wear prong collars, they would only harm or injure themselves. 

However, some stores sell micro prong collars that you may use as a last resort. But bear in mind to be extra cautious when fitting them to your toy breeds to avoid further injury.

4. Prong Collars Are Guaranteed Safe and Effective

4. Prong Collars Are Guaranteed Safe and Effective

Unlike flat collars, prong collars are not mere accessories for your canine. The collar's primary function is to demonstrate proper behavior on dogs.

Prong collars only gained a bad reputation because of the misusage by some dog owners. And while we don't support inhumane activity caused by these owners, it's not the collar's fault.

As long as you know how to handle and use the collar, you're good to go.

5. Prong Collars Are NOT Painful; They Just Look Like It Does

5. Prong Collars Are NOT Painful; They Just Look Like It Does

Typically, the reason why prong collars get ostracized within the pet community is because of their appearance. The prongs look sharp and painful, but this is not the case.

As mentioned above, the prongs' primary purpose is to apply pressure around your dog's neck to stop them from misbehaving. I

t doesn't particularly hurt them unless it's fitted wrongly around their neck. 

If this happens, go back and fix them until they're comfortable enough to walk with it.

To wear the prong collar properly, ensure it is placed high on their neck, just behind their ears, and remove the extra links afterward.

If you put the collar too low on their neck, it will cause drooping. The drooping collar is what causes your dog to get hurt and injure themselves. 

6. It is NOT Pain; It’s Pressure

6. It is NOT Pain; It’s Pressure

A lot of anti-prong collars would tell you that the said equipment causes pain to your dogs. But most professional dog trainers will disagree. 

It isn't the feeling of pain that forces them to follow orders but the prong's subtle pressure around their neck.

This collar is more effective for big stubborn dogs, such as Huskies and Doberman Pinscher.

7. Prong Collars DO NOT Cause Thyroid Problems

7. Prong Collars DO NOT Cause Thyroid Problems

Contrary to popular belief, no known research or diagnosis indicates that prong collars mainly cause thyroid problems in dogs.

As aforementioned, this can only happen when misused, causing extreme pressure on the dog's throat.

In contrast, using flat collars is far more dangerous to dogs as it's more susceptible to choking, thus resulting in thyroid problems. 

8. Prong Collars DO NOT Cause Injuries On Your Dog’s Neck

8. Prong Collars DO NOT Cause Injuries On Your Dog’s Neck

Opposite to what anyone normally expects, prong collars don't cause scars or wounds around your dog's neck. In actuality, the structure of it helps them avoid this from happening. 

However, injuries may still happen if and only if they're allergic to the material of the prong collar or you fixed the collar incorrectly around their neck.

Nevertheless, it would be best to consider that something else causes your dog's skin reaction. If this happens, quickly remove the collar from their neck to avoid complicating things. 

9. It’s NOT the Prong Collars; It’s the Owner Misusing and Abusing It

9. It’s NOT the Prong Collars; It’s the Owner Misusing and Abusing It

Most people forget that it's not just simply putting a prong collar around a dog's neck but also how one uses and handles it.

Who knows? These dogs might have a trainer who mishandles them by keeping the collar on for hours, significantly putting them at risk.

If you find a dog with a bruised or scarred neck, quickly talk to its owner and ask where their dogs got their scars from.

Chances are, they have acquired their injuries from their past owners, or the owners themselves did not use the prong collar properly. 

10. Prong Collars Are Excellent Communication Tools

10. Prong Collars Are Excellent Communication Tools

A prong collar is excellent equipment to communicate with your dog. It helps your dogs determine if they're doing their tricks or cues correctly.

On the other hand, dogs tend to get active if something sparks their excitement, like a toy or a friend.

With prong collars, they'll be able to stop themselves from pouncing on it just by lightly tugging on it. 

By using this tool appropriately, you'll be able to save more time in teaching your dogs how not to misbehave. 

11. Prong Collars Are Old-Fashioned Yet Useful

11. Prong Collars Are Old-Fashioned Yet Useful

Many owners would complain about how these collars are old-fashioned and should not be used in training anymore.

However, we beg to differ—everyone takes them in a bad light instead of understanding what they’re for. 

Sure, they aren’t tools that a 21st-century dog handler may use for their everyday lifestyle.

However, some owners can handle their dogs this way; as long as they’re sure of what they’re doing, then why not?

The only time one may consider this cruelty is if a canine displays signs of extreme discomfort. If they look fine, how would you tell if their human is mishandling or abusing them?

One look at the dog will let you know if they’re asking for help when they’re uncomfortable.

Dogs are empathic creatures, and you can tell through their body language if their owners are harming them. 

12. Prong Collars Are NOT Illegal In The U.S.

12. Prong Collars Are NOT Illegal In The U.S.

Prong collars are not illegal in most nations, even the US. If they are, the whole world may have collectively hopped in banning prong collars, but they aren't. 

When wearing prong collars, it will always come to the handler or the trainer if they studied the product well. If they didn't, they would end up with a negative association with it. 

One must always do their research. After all, it's the owner's responsibility to do what's right for their pet.

13. The Collars Do Not Affect A Dog’s Mental Health

13. The Collars Do Not Directly Affect A Dog’s Mental Health

Remember that the usage of prongs is to discipline a dog’s behavior and does not directly affect a dog’s mental health.

It does not, in any way, cause depression, anxiety, and trauma straight towards your pet.

The only scenario that may be possible is if you’re not a responsible owner and think of your actions as behavioral corrections.

Your lack of knowledge, understanding, and responsibility will likely cause your dog to become anxious and depressed. 

If this happens, don’t even bother thinking of using the prongs on them because these are why prong collars on dogs are “taboo.”

Should I Opt For Prongs Or Not?

Should I Opt For Prongs Or Not?

In the end, the owner ultimately decides whether to incorporate prong collars into a dog’s training.

You may opt to use it as you see fit, or you may not use one at all.

There are many circumstances where you may think about possibly using a prong collar for behavioral correction. It’s excellent as long as you certainly know what you’re doing to them.

Your dog may still wear flat collars when you walk them, but prong collars are excellent and highly recommended.

You may even fit them into any prong collar of your choice as long as you remove it after.

You may also opt to let them wear their flat collar with the prongs, providing the leash is attached to the latter.

Other likely reasons why you should consider using prong collars are:

  • If your canine's a large mischievous breed;
  • Whenever your regular collar keeps on getting damaged;
  • If your dog lightly pulls you around; 
  • When your regular collar does not work on your dog at all; and 
  • If your dog doesn't know how to walk on a leash.

Different reasons may also apply to other people, depending on their case. 

Conclusion

Prong collars are often indicative of potential harm because they look painful when worn by dogs.

People would always look terrified for the dog whenever they see it wearing a prong, thinking it might hurt a lot.

However, bear in mind that this prejudice has been going on forever due to the misuse or ill-usage of some dog owners, which can result in a traumatizing experience for the dogs. 

Although you expect to see dirty looks around the people when you ask for prong collars in the pet stores, please take this opportunity to educate them.

Rather than arguing about it, maintain a calm composure while explaining how to use the tool to train their canines.

Remember that some people have this stigma because they don't know that some canines experience abuse by their trainers.

Furthermore, there are certain instances where the media misinforms the public about prong collars. 

It is best not to use these collars if you're not well informed of how you should use them. Your dog following your commands should not be because of their collar but how you train them.

As long as you know what to do and what to look out for, you and your dog are good to go. Your dogs are more than just a pet; they are family, so treat them as one.

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