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Old 12-18-2012, 05:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Prong collars

A totally genuine question - why are prong collars the norm in the US?

I am in the UK, and we rarely see prong collars on dogs over here. I have seen the odd one, but they are definitely not the norm. It may just be a cultural thing, but I think prong collars would be frowned upon over here for dogs, other than perhaps those training in Schutzhund/IPO. Even our police service dogs do not wear prong collars (although some still do wear check chains).

If your dog wears a prong, why did you come to the decision to use one in the first place?
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I use one on my dog because it is what I learned with. Growing up my parents got a chocolate lab puppy and took it for training to a lady that trains German shepherds for police and protection work. It is what she recommend and since the whole family went to training, I learned all my basic dog training skills using a prong collar. When I got my dog it seemed like the most logical choice to continue using something that I was familiar with. The biggest difference between me and my parents is that I am slowing phasing out using the prong collar where they still use it (I will admit their dog is far from the sharpest tack in the box).

For example, I trained Jade to walk nicely and to heel using the prong collar. As she is getting older I use it less and less. Now the only time that she wears it is when we are going somewhere that I know will be exciting for her. The pet store, the high school by my house, picking out our Christmas tree, ect. I know that her obedience is far from 100% in these situations and I do not want to set her up for failure. In my mind it makes much more sense to put the prong collar on when we go to PetSmart because one correction and she listens. If she was just in a flat collar it would take more to get her to focus on me when there is a yapping dog in her face and treat smells everywhere. I feel like it is better for her training to keep it where if she doesn't listen the first time, she gets corrected, and then does whatever it is I asked; than for her to ignore my instructions multiple times. Then she just learns "okay, I don't have to listen the first time, I can ignore mom a few times before I really get in trouble" But like I said, we are working toward phasing the prong collar out. I am fully confident that by the time she mature she will not need it at all.

Well that was long, and I'm not entire sure if it made sense but those are my reasons for using a prong collar!
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't think prongs are that common here. I see more dogs on choke chains then prongs, and I think choke chains are more liable to damage/hurt the dog. I didn't want to use a prong collar, but if Kaiser sees a cat then I'm a goner without one. I learned my lesson after sliding butt-first through the grass and smashing into a tree. Obviously it's a work in progress!
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My old dog Abbi loved to chase things, from fetch and balls to cats, squirrels, rabbits even dogs when she got really excited on a walk. The prong cut down on her pulling after things
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verivus View Post
I learned my lesson after sliding butt-first through the grass and smashing into a tree. Obviously it's a work in progress!
OMG - I LMAO reading this - because, "Been There, Done That!"

Yep - and after that day, we bought a prong...
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olivers mama View Post
OMG - I LMAO reading this - because, "Been There, Done That!"

Yep - and after that day, we bought a prong...
Yup. I had 2 choices - let go of the leash and save myself, or crash into the tree and hold onto the dog for dear life. Been using the prong ever since until he's more reliable.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well, because for what they do many people believe they are actually more humane than the chains when used properly.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone for your replies so far. I have heard many say that the prong is more humane than the check chain, and I think I would be inclined to agree. My GSDs are all on half check collars and I have never had to use a prong on mine yet, but I have the motto live and let live, so would never try and tell someone else that they shouldn't be using a piece of equipment just because I choose not to use it myself
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I just switched to a prong from a choke chain. My four month old had developed a periodic "hack," similar sounding to a cat with a fur ball.... I am thinking it was caused by the choke chain... hopefully it goes away with the prong.... he is definitely more responsive to much more subtle tugs with a prong.. the prong isn't at all uncomfortable either... I actually put it on myself to see... the points are very rounded and dull.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I saw a vet study somewhere many years ago that looked at the spines and necks of a number of dogs, comparing the ones whose owners had used "choke chains" vs. prong collars. There was evidence of more neck and spinal injuries in the ones who had lived their lives with choke chains. I don't remember where I saw it -- or even whether it was in print or online, as it was so long ago. Maybe someone else will remember it and have a link.

Used properly, the corrections with prongs can be very light, and often end up being far less frequently needed. Of course, one has to learn that technique. I think it's likely easier for beginners to learn the proper technique with prongs than with choke chains. Many people use choke chains wrong, which makes them more injury-inducing (there's a specific technique to do a light, upward "pop" so that the dog just gets some quick pressure without being jerked, but the sideways-yanking I see a lot of people doing is not good for the dog IMHO).
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