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Monday, December 29, 2008

Labeling Prong Collar Users

I am the proud owner of two beautiful, very large and very energetic chocolate Labrador Retrievers. I am also the proud owner of a pair of prong collars to go with these beloved canine companions as well.

I can understand that the look of prong collars can be a bit overwhelming and scary but when used properly, they are a dog owners best friend (besides the dog of course). It is not the fact that so many animal lovers do not believe in using these training collars but rather the perception they place on those dog owners that choose to use them.

Recently I happened upon an online post from a dog owner who traveled a great distance to make a very sizable charitable donation to an organization close to their heart. Upon arriving at the organization, with a large check in one hand and her beloved 18-month old Bullmastiff on a prong collar in the other hand, this person was told to leave. Why? Because her dog was deemed "aggressive" due to the prong collar it was wearing.

Indeed, this dog was nothing more then a very large and energetic puppy that was placed on the prong collar as the owner didn't know how he would react surrounded by a bunch of other animals in close quarters. The owner was being responsible and yet was told to leave due to the stigmatization associated with a prong collar.

Now, I am not one to condone the use of prong collars to abuse or punish dogs. However, when prong collars are properly used, they act as a security blanket for both dog and human. It is sad that some people see a prong collar around a dog's neck and automatically believe the animal is either being abused or is highly aggressive. Usually those with prong collars are the most loving and mushy dogs you have ever met - they just have more size and energy than they know how to control.

To learn more about the Prong Collars and the proper use of Prong Collars, please feel free to read my article on Prong Collars & Lab Training.



Blogger Beth said...

Shannon - great post on the use of prong collars. The first trainer Gracie and I used did not advocate prong collars and, in fact, demonized them. As a result, my highly energetic chocolate was constantly straining at her collar. It was, of course, deemed to be bad leadership on my part for not compelling her to heel better.

Our next trainer took one look at the situation and handed me a prong collar and taught me how to use it correctly. What a difference a trainer makes!

Most of the time I can handle Gracie with just her flat collar, but when we go to our local Saturday Market or a pet fair, I use the prong as extra security for both of us. I trust my dog, but can't always depend on other dogs (or their people) to behave well. For the most part, people haven't taken the collar as a sign of aggression. Maybe that's because upon meeting new people, Gracie immediately falls at their feet, belly up for a nice rub.

December 29, 2008 12:52 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I would never fault anyone for the use of prong collars. Our labs don't care about them though. We use gentle leaders, which unfortunately have an even worse rap because people look and see a muzzle.

I will never not use one though. I didn't want to, but one day my lab pulled me to the ground as I walked her in her eagerness to get to another dog. I went out that day and got a gentle leader. Best decision I ever made.

December 29, 2008 6:57 PM  
Blogger Chester's Mom said...

My trainer showed us all the collar options and I have been using a prong collar in hopes of "graduating" to just a flat buckle collar. I took him to Petsmart on Christmas Eve to pick out his toys with just a flat collar and he pulled me in every direction except where I wanted to go. A friendly lab-owning customer told me about the Gentle Leader and said it worked wonders. I bought one on the spot. It works extremely well and with a few treats to distract he is getting used to it and not trying to pull it off. He was able to take his first trip to a nursing home because he is not pulling anymore. He is NOT aggressive, he just has an amazing sense of smell and where the nose goes, the body follows and the Gentle Leader has definitely helped. IF USED CORRECTLY, I believe any collars that work for your particular dog are Ok and it's a shame that people do not understand the methods and are too quick to judge. Great and informative post, Shannon!

December 31, 2008 7:08 AM  
Blogger kirkygirl said...

I was told that with the large-prong collars, they are not as harmful as they look. In fact, the smaller gauges of wire in choke-chain collars tend to do more damage, and will NOT curb a dog's enthusiasm (first hand experience)! I was also told that with large prong collars, the dog will feel the large prongs, and immediately cease and desist with whatever behaivour they are engaging in. In other words, dog starts to pull, feels the prongs, and, "ok, not such a good idea".

January 01, 2009 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Animals Away said...

I agree, prong collars work great. I think people are just narrow minded and ignorant sometimes especially if they are not dog owners.

January 02, 2009 9:53 AM  
Blogger Nigel, Sola and Co. said...

Prong collars can be life savers. We have had a few dogs that required them. None were ever harmed.

January 03, 2009 10:56 AM  
Blogger Mallory said...

Shannon- great post about the prong collars. I've never personally used them but I agree that people should not be quick to judge people who do use them.

I also wanted to let you know that I featured you on my post today on my new blog called All Things Chocolate Lab.

I've browsed your website and blog for about a year and truely love it!

January 03, 2009 11:22 AM  
Blogger disneynorth said...

Prong collars are great! My mother-in-law bought one for our dog, so she could handle him when walking (as most labs are, he is hyper). Very effective in deed! And he is the biggest suck!

January 20, 2009 3:05 PM  

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