SF SPCA – Mission Campus
Emergency Services: 8am – 6pm
201 Alabama Street
San Francisco CA 94103
SF SPCA – Pacific Heights Campus
Emergency Services: 7am – 10pm
2343 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
The San Francisco SPCA's Guide for Going Prong-Free
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!
To expedite the adoption process, please complete the cat or dog adoption form and bring a printed copy with you to the SF SPCA Adoption Center. This helps us better understand what sort of pet you’re looking for so we can guide you every step of the way! Please bring a valid photo ID and verification that you are allowed to have a pet where you currently live.
First, we’ll meet with you to find out more about you and your pet preferences and answer your questions. Our goal is to help you find the pet that best fits your lifestyle and living situation so we want to make sure you have a realistic understanding of the time and resources necessary to provide training, medical treatment, and proper care for your new pet. This can take time so please allow at least one hour for the adoption process.
Once we have a good understanding of your living situation and the type of pet you’re interested in, we’ll make introductions and let you spend some quality time getting to know each other to see if there’s a love connection. It’s important that all household members take part in this important decision so please make sure everyone is present (including any resident dogs if you’re considering adding a new pooch to your pack).
Once love happens, we’ll complete the paperwork, review all the SF SPCA adoption benefits, provide information on any known medical or behavioral issues, and share tips to make the transition a success for both you and your new pet.
We consider you and your new furry friend a part of the SF SPCA family so please reach out with questions ― and be sure to share your adoption stories and pet photos at sfspca.org/stories
Don’t forget to schedule your first free health exam at the SF SPCA Veterinary Hospital within three days of adopting.