What's Wrong With The Prong?

The San Francisco SPCA's Guide for Going Prong-Free

Top 10 Reasons Not to Use Prong Collars

1. They’re painful and inhumane. Despite what some trainers or store employees might tell you, driving metal prongs into your dog’s neck HURTS! Under their fur, the skin on dogs’ necks is actually significantly thinner than human skin. Although eliciting sudden sharp pain may provide a quick fix in the moment, the effects are usually short-lived.

2. They suppress behavior, but don’t change it. The fear and pain elicited when the dog feels the prong collar being pulled may temporarily stop his pulling/lunging/etc., but it doesn’t teach him what he should be doing instead. Suppression of instinctual behaviors can lead to learned helplessness, redirected aggression, and physical issues. So train your dog what TO DO (e.g.; calmly walk next to you), instead of using pain and fear to tell him only what NOT to do.

3. There are more humane alternatives. For every situation in which dog owners claim that control is provided by a prong collar, a head collar or a front-attachment harness is the better, safer and more humane choice. These harness options take some time and training to use correctly, but the payoff is big. They’re more effective and you’ll have a better relationship with your dog!

4. Because you love your dog! If you don’t want to cause your dog pain and discomfort, then don’t use prong collars.

5. Prongs create negative associations. Anything present in the environment when your dog experiences the pain of a prong collar can take on a negative association, including other dogs, children and strangers. This does the exact OPPOSITE of what we want – it makes dogs more reactive, and more likely to lunge toward or be fearful of triggers!

6. They build fear and discomfort, and damage your relationship with your dog.Prongs (and other aversive, confrontational training techniques) are painful! If every time you walk with or train your dog, he is experiencing pain and discomfort, pretty soon your presence is going to be associated with pain and discomfort. Wouldn’t you rather your dog trust and feel safe with you?

7. Prong collars can result in side effects such as depression, disempowerment, redirected aggression, deterioration of social relationships, and more. Use pain and fear-inducing methods on your dog for long enough, and you can see a significant decrease in your dog’s quality of life, energy, and health.

8. Because they are archaic – obsolete, old-fashioned and behind-the-times! Fear- and pain-based devices like this may have been the norm 30 years ago, but they do not have any place in modern, 21st-century dog training. Today, responsible trainers and owners make choices based on science and proven facts about canine learning and communication to interact with their dogs through positive reinforcement. It’s more effective, more humane, and more fun!

9. Many civilized countries have outlawed prong collars, recognizing the harm they can do! New Zealand, Austria, Australia, Switzerland, the Canadian Province of Quebec, and many others have made prong collars (and in many cases choke and shock collars) illegal. Let’s join this trend!

10. They are simply NOT necessary; there are better ways to train! Train with your brain, not with pain!

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