by EJ Lee
The Prong Collar...
It is one of the most vilified dog training equipment in the dog world. Many articles, blogs claim it can choke a dog, cause psychological damage and/or aggression; some even claim that prongs impale into the dog's neck.
In reality, even though they look like a medieval torture device, outside of negligence or intentional abuse, prong collars are one of the most effective, and safest training collars for dogs in the hands of a knowledgeable handler.
When you get a chance, really observe how dogs interact with each other, it's pretty easy to see that their teeth are often used as a means of communication. Whether it's a mother correcting a pup, or a playmate initiating play, dogs use their teeth to communicate with each other. It is just a natural form of expression for a predatory animal that we call man's best friend and share our homes.
Obviously, the prongs on a prong collar aren't exactly like a mother's teeth, but the concept of physical pressure as a means of communication, in essence, is the same. Canine communication processes are not majorly based on verbal cues like humans. Spatial pressure, physical pressure, body language and other non-verbal cues play major roles in canine communication systems, the use of pressure as a means of communication is natural for dogs.
I believe when you work with the nature of the dog, establishing a method of communication can be achieved more efficiently. In my experience prong collar is one of the best tools to establish clear and direct communications with a dog. This is one of the reasons why prong collar isn't a last resort tool for me.
In my training programs, I use the pressures of a prong collar to build a foundation of the pressure and release language. The learning process may vary, for each dog but all dogs can learn the pressure and release communication system. After all, physical pressure is one of the most effective forms of canine communication.
When you establish and practice a language with your dog, you begin communicating with greater clarity in all situations. This language allows you and your dog to communicate more fluidly, have more meaningful conversations in real life, not just in training sessions. And these conversations will help you shape your life with your dog so that you can live inclusively and harmoniously together. Ultimately, isn't that what we all want with our dogs?
The prong collar...
It is one of the most misunderstood training tools in the dog world.
When used properly, the prong collar mimics a natural form of canine communication and can be used to enhance your relationship with your dog.