I know some people cringe at the sight of a prong collar, it looks barbaric and cruel. The prong collar training gets a lot of attention from pure positive or force free dog trainers. These trainers believe that the prong collar is cruel and should be banned.

Are Prong Collars Cruel?

But are prong collars cruel? The prong collar controversy is real! But we all need to know the truth about prong collars before passing judgment.

You are most likely reading this because your dog pulls on the leash, is leash reactive or you can’t control your dog on leash, right?

The fact is, the prong collar, when fitted properly, is designed to be the most humane way to train and to NOT harm your dog. Many people have never seen a prong or pinch collar properly used in dog training. I personally never used a prong collar before being introduced to it a couple of years ago.

The prong collar, otherwise known as a pinch collar, has changed so many dog owners lives… just scroll down and read some of the comments from people that have tried the prong collar and are brave enough to share their experience with you.

Prong collar for dogs

Don’t Judge the Book by It’s Cover or the Prong Collar in this Case!

Now before you pass judgment, please read on to learn more and then decide for yourself…

The training program we used 20 years ago used a choke collar, so that is what we were used to. I thought prong collars were for out-of-control vicious dogs! But, after attending a seminar with a balanced dog trainer and doing a lot of research, I realized what a great dog training tool the prong collar can be.

We now use the prong collar to train our own dogs and our foster dogs when needed. Some foster dogs come to us without any leash skills and in order for me to be able to walk them with my dogs, I need to quickly teach them how to walk on the leash without pulling, and a prong collar is a great tool for this.

The prong collar made the below photo possible… my 10-year-old daughter riding her bike with our 95lb yellow lab, Bear. When we first adopted Bear he had no leash manners at all. He pulled his previous owner down their porch steps! With the prong collar, we’ve been able to quickly train him not to pull on our walks.

Recommended just for you: Top 5 Reasons to Take Your Dog for a Walk

The prong collar made it possible for my kid to ride her bike with her dog

>> Check the price of the Herm Sprenger collar >>

8 Things You Need to Know About the Prong Collar and Your Dog

The Good

  1. Don’t judge the book by its cover! The prong collar may not be a pretty, and it defiantly gets a bad rap among some people and pure positive dog trainers. But the prong collar is a great training tool to communicate with your dog. It is designed to NOT hurt your dog. The prong collar puts universal pressure around the entire dog’s neck, kind of like a mother dog does with her puppies. It does NOT damage the trachea when properly used.
  2. The prong collar can be a life-saving tool. The prong collar may have its pros and cons, but there are so many dog owners that do not take their dogs for walks because their dog pulls, lunges or is leash reactive. And when a dog doesn’t get walked on a regular basis, it can create bad behaviors at home… such as chewing, barking and jumping. These bad behaviors can spin out of control if not corrected immediately, so then the dog owner gets fed up and decides they can’t deal with it anymore. So they take the dog to a shelter, and is that the dog’s fault? I don’t think so!
  3. The collar must be fitted properly around your dog’s neck. It should fit snug but not too tight and sit right below the ears. The higher on the neck you can keep the collar, the better communication you will have with your dog. This can be a challenge, as the collar does seem to slip down the neck if not snug around his neck. There are many videos available from trainers showing how to fit the prong collar, here is a great one from SolidK9Training. Proper prong collar fitting is essential, so make sure to watch this video!

The Bad and The Ugly

  1. Like many tools, the prong collar is often misunderstood and misused. The prong collar is NOT to be used to pull or nag your dog. It should be a quick snap of the collar to communicate what you want from your dog. DO NOT use it to discipline your dog. The prong collar should be used as a training tool only, it is NOT meant to wear 24/7. The only times your dog should be wearing the prong collar are when you are training, working on behaviors or taking walks.
  2. You may get evil looks from other dog owners that just don’t understand the power of the prong collar. You may have pure positive trainers tell you there are more humane ways to control your dog. It is unfortunate that some people just aren’t willing to see past that book cover, and see what the prong collar really is… a very humane dog training tool.
  3. Yes, you will hear horror stories about prong collar injuries and dogs that were found with their necks torn apart by a prong or choke collar. These cases are always the result of a very irresponsible dog owner; a dog owner that ties his dog outside while wearing a prong collar or is abusive with the collar. Any collar can result in injury to your dog’s neck. If your dog is a hard puller, a flat collar can damage his trachea. Just like any tool, it must be used properly for it to work.

So you may be asking yourself now, should I use a prong collar for my dog?

In full transparency, we do use the prong collar for our dogs. It has been a life-saver. But I am also aware of how other people view the prong collar. I do worry about what other people think, even though I shouldn’t. I love my dogs very much and I know in my heart that I am not a bad dog mom.  And I also know that the prong collar is designed to be the most humane way to train and to NOT harm our dogs.

If your dog pulls you when trying to walk him or is leash reactive, I strongly suggest you consider using a prong collar. You will hear strong opinions about prong collars on both sides, for and against.

It is up to you to do your research and make your own opinion. I am certainly not here to push, either way, just to give the facts and my opinion on what a great training tool it can be when used properly.

Just remember, the collar doesn’t train the dog, it’s a tool to train… your training will train your dog.

Is a harness a more humane way to train my dog not pull?

There are many different types of dog harnesses. There are back clip harnesses, which promote pulling (think about sled dogs). Front clip harnesses that simply manipulates the dog into not pulling and does NOT FIX the pulling. And a Gentle leader or head collar that goes around a dogs muzzle… is that really comfortable for your dog?

I admit I have not tried them all. Although I am thinking I need to do a research project with every type of collar available on the market today! I have tried a few with our foster dogs, and they never truly work.

The leash is now in your hands…

So now it’s up to you to decide what you are comfortable using to train your dog. I urge you to not shy away from the prong collar just because of what it looks like or what you’ve heard about it in the past.

Give it a chance, try it out and see what a difference it can make with your relationship with your dog. And ask yourself, is it better for your dog to drag you through your walk, choking himself on his flat collar… or to have a peaceful walk with your dog walking next to you, enjoying the smells and scenery?

Reminder, not all prong collars are created equal. If you decide you want to try a prong collar with your dog, make sure your purchase the Herm Sprenger brand (this is the exact one I have).

P.S. I’d love to hear about your success stories on using the prong collar. Comment below and share with the Rescue Dogs 101 Community that may be unsure on the benefits of the prong collar.

I recommend you read next:

About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

  1. 100% agree on prong collar being an effective tool when used correctly. Unfortunately there are just as many people who shouldn't use a prong collar but there are even more who never should have a dog in the first place.

  2. Thank you for your information.

    I have a one year old husky rescue dog. he is the sweetest dog, but of course, pulling is in his genes. Oksygen to the brain is not so important when there are pulling to be done. This makes trips and hikes a challenge. He is very helpfull up the mountain, Butt going down, as he teams up with his buddy, gravity, it gets scary.
    I never even considered a prong collar, as I always thought of them as cruel and harmfull. Reading this well argumented text made me realise its at least worth researching the subject closer.

    My previous dog (my best friend and companion for 11 years and countless fishing trips and hikes), a 130 pound dogo/presa canario was a handfull too. He was nbthing butt gentle and mild-mannered, but sooo strong. Im about 150 pounds (and some may say, not pure muscle, like a Dogo Canario) so I decided to try that head collar that goes around a dogs muzzle. and it worked well, for a while. until one day I noticed that he couldnt turn his head because of neckpain. In spite of the extremly high tolerance for pain those Dogos have. So I threw it out (ehh.. the head collar, not the dog)
    Maybe I could have spared my dog for a lot of pain if I had educated myself on the prong collar instead?

    (Sry for my rambling, and my broken english)

    Thank you, and much love from Norway


  3. My dog pulls really bad on the leash when we go for walks our are around other people in public he pulls. I have not bought a prong collar yet but I am planning on getting one to teach him. I wanted to see what are some of the proper tips I need to learn and commands that you should use when walking my dog with a prong collar? If anyone could get back to me I would really appreciate it!

    1. We have a 60 pound rescue with a wonderful sweet disposition and we had let her run loose when we took trail walks. She was very good about coming back after a few minutes but recently got a puncture wound in the woods. So no more running loose on walks.
      She is very strong for me (I weigh 93 pounds) and walks well on leash but there are lots of rabbits around and she goes crazy, will bolt after them and I have to let go of leash or get pulled down. We just had training session with our trainer who showed us the proper way to use the collar and it’s been terrific. She really responds well to it and is learning that if she pulls she will a quick tug from the collar. I recommend it as a last resort ( the harnass only worked well when no rabbits around) and you should have a training session before using it.

  4. Hi Debi,
    We have a 15 week rescue dog, Queenie, from the Bahamas, a real "Potcake"! She is strong, feisty and going to be a big girl!
    I have been considering the prong collar next, because we have tried several types and are not able to get her to stop pulling.
    Thank you for all your great advice. I will let you know how Queenie does with a prong collar.
    Wish us luck!

  5. I just adopted an adult rescue dog who is sweet, but can be stubborn. She can be a 75-pound brick when she doesn't want to walk, and she hasn't really been leash trained. I'm working with a trainer who suggested a prong collar. At first I resisted. I'd never used that before (but I'd only had puppies before). I got the Herm Sprenger and have been using it for the past week. What a difference. She is starting to learn good leash manners. Interestingly enough whenever I put it on, she's excited because she knows it's time for a leash training (and treats!). I now agree that if a prong collar is used correctly, it can really help a dog's behavior.

  6. I had one of my shepherds pass early in the pandemic. I have a friend that had several German shepherds so I called hoping she had one that would get along with my boy. Turns out she owns the local Schutzhund Club. Schutzhund is training, agility and obedience. Schutzhund dogs are used for police dept’s and personal protection. They also help other large breeds with training. She had a 6-year-old female who now lives with me. She came already trained and with a prong collar. I thought they were barbaric until her husband showed me the correct way to use them. Three years later I am still amazed how well she is trained. I am sarcastic by nature and find it hard to keep my mouth shut when people make comments about her collar. She does not pull, and it does not hurt her. Her attitude changes when I put it on her. But I didn’t know any of this until I got her and her collar. I still find it hard to watch dog shows on TV where the dog is dragging the owner and has a prong collar on digging into his neck. I would only recommend using a prong collar if you find out how to use it the correct way.

  7. We're based in South Australia where purchasing a prong collar from outside Australia is illegal, however, it is not banned in some States, one of them being South Australia. The RSPCA deems them to be cruel. We have a 4yo female rescue GSD. Pulls a lot, lunges after wild rabbits and some other dogs etc. The prong collar sounds just what we need. We have read numerous articles and watched dog training videos. I can't buy one here in Australia so will have to take a chance of ordering from overseas and hope it doesn't get stopped by Customs. Any advice would be appreciated.

  8. Love the prong collar…I always thought they were cruel…but they're not. I have a now 2yr old Jack Russell (he's my 5th one)…but he's my first reactive, leash aggressive one I've had. Started training obedience day 1 (8 weeks of age)…he (was) a nervous jrt…not fearless at all. The prong collar I bought when he was 1yr old (Sprenger) trust me I've tried everything…the prong collar worked the best for communication along with his obedience commands. Eye contact, "follower" state was much faster…I was connecting with him like his real mother would. Now we're loose leash and enjoying our walks and adventures. He's become a more confident pup with the prong collar training.

  9. I am a 56 year old woman with a mild case of MS that affects my balance. My teenage daughter begged me to adopt a pitbull puppy. We got her at 8 weeks old. My dgt promised to do all the walking and caring for the dog. She quickly realized she wasnt a dog person and wanted to rehome her. The dog grew quickly to an incredibly strong dog that could easily jump the fence in the backyard. I tried to walk her and i actually just was dragged. Once i got knocked over and broke my pinkie and my cheekbone. I enrolled her in puppy class and the prong collar has changed my life and the dogs life. I have more confidence and she listens effectively. Dont be afraid to use it if your trainer suggests it.

    1. You sound like me! I'm 57 and rescued a pitbull she is a handful and a half. I took her to obedience and they suggested the prong collar I was very resistant but got it. As long as it is properly fit, they are great training tools.

  10. I have a 60kg male rottweiler who got spooked by a kid on a scooter on one of our walks he lunged at the kid out of fear, one correction to my dog he snapped out of it place perfectly back into a heel position, I believe if I had a flat collar or a harness on that kid could well have a huge missing chunk out of his arm, thanks to the prong collar I was able to control my rottie and potentially saved that kids life and my dogs too

  11. I just started using one. A world of difference. Woodrow doesn’t mind it at all. Very good training tool. I am still hesitant to give a little correction tug. But when I have he mostly responds positively if he responds. .
    I remember over 10 years ago they seemed to have a bad rap. Hopefully that has changed.

  12. Debi, this is a wonderful article, thank you. I have a 7-month-old Doberman who has been in training classes since he was 3 months old. He is doing well but, as he is getting older, he is pulling toward other dogs and people. We have been trying positive reinforcement with him but he goes over threshold quickly if we’re out on a hike.

    I’m considering a prong, but my question is, can the prong be used as a training tool only, and then the dog can learn and move back to a flat collar? That would be my goal. Thank you!

      1. Yes that is the entire purpose of the prong, to use it as a training tool. Of course the length of time it takes for each dog varies. I have one dog that doesn’t need it anymore, the other (our lab) is a constant puller without it.

  13. I recently entered the world of dog ownership by adopting a rescue. I truly appreciate your blog for its resources and insights.
    I noticed early on that other dog owners or even people who have seen a dog somewhere in their lifetime, have become experts on how to care for MY dog, irrespective of how they’re known me!
    I have used a prong collar to walk my German shepherd and it has been a blessing. Especially for a breed that everyone seems to be initially “wary” of. It’s helped ensure that MY dog is well controlled and attending to me.
    Like a child, I believe the structure it provides, is helping to build a better relationship.

  14. I weigh less than 120 pounds and did not consider prong collars until we got a giant dog. Our 90 pound puppy who gets excited and pulls on walks. I can walk him with a regular collar now, but not when he gets 150 pounds. With the prong, he is walking next to me instead of pulling and I can walk him easily with one hand.

    1. I am in your same boat. I have needed to figure out how to contain this pup that will weigh as much as me at a full grown 130lbs.

  15. I took my unmanageable dog to a basic obedience class and the teacher told me to get one. We put it on her and it was like she was a different dog I could take her anywhere . I used it for training and going for walks. It totally changed our lives!!! She would get all excited to see me get it out and wait for me to put it on because it either meant going fir a walk or training which meant lots of one on one time with lots of praise and lovins. Best thing ever and very very safe when used correctly!

  16. I have a 2 yr old Havanese and have had him since he was 8 weeks old. He is a pandemic puppy but I had actually had my name down to get him 8 mths prior so he was very much wanted not a knee jerk. He’s my first dog and unfortunately socialization was very difficult and so he was highly reactive to dogs. About 4 mths ago I enlisted the help of an amazing young woman who is a dog trainer and with her help my dog’s behaviour on leash has improved 10 fold. She chatted with me about the prong and said we could try it to see if it helped. And it absolutely does!!! We only introduced it after 31/2 mths at which point I’ve learnt to read my dog and I have the knowledge how to manage him and descalate his triggers etc. It certainly would not work if you kept yanking on it all the time. There has to be a clear line of communication between you and you dog and the prong is just a quick reminder of the expectation. The prong has been like “the cherry on top” a great tool if everything else is in place.

  17. Thank you for most educational article on pinch collar. Our bet recommends it for our lab puppy. He will be an 80 pound dog. We are in 80’s and vet says pinch collar will save our lives.

  18. I have a 4 month old border collie and the prong used gently allows me to walk him. No trainers want to work with me because I have him on a prong.

  19. I saw a short article on a dog training Facebook page, about prong collars. I am at the end of my rope, so to speak. Got a wonderful lab mix last summer; believe he's never been trained or on a leash. Came to me weighing 43lbs, greatly malnourished (the rescue had fixed all the medical issues and had to adopt him out, so not complaining) since then, he is well nourished at 68 lbs….still pulls like a fiend sometimes. His triggers are squirrels, any wonderful smells, etc. Alot of times, he walks ok, but not great. Twice have hurt my back holding him, and I also have tendonitis in both hands/wrists, so holding on to him when he is distracted can be really painful.

    After reading the article on prong collars, went and bought one. Just saw the first video about how to put it on -on your website. Thanks! I still am learning, but it was a good long walk today, which is the whole reason I got a rescue dog….a walk partner, not a 'pull into the road' or 'drag into the ditch & through the woods' partner. I am looking forward to using this, in an even better way of using.
    It made a difference! Whoopee!

  20. Hi Debi, I have a pit Pyrenees rescue and have been in weekly training. She is 14 mos. Great article!! She actually does really well but is strong with high prey drive. My trainer switched her to a prong collar with flat round ends. It is amazing!! She is happy and waiting for me to put it on. Tail a waggin. I don’t have to pull on her constantly to keep her in heel. Her eyes aren’t red after a walk and she doesn’t pant constantly walking now. Though she is a pretty good heeler without it I feel safer and feel like she is calmer with it on. She is definitely non reactive to squirrels and birds ( her triggers) now. Like anything I’m sure using it wrong or without training can be bad but using it as training tool correctly can be a great benefit and my dog has responded amazing to it.❤️

  21. I just started training with the prong collar, I immediately see a difference in my pitt/boxer mix. Should the collar only be used while walking? Should it be worn during the day and removed at night? She seems not herself when she has it on in the house during the day …do not want her sweet personality to go away with using this collar. Thanks

  22. My 3 year old 70 lb pit bull has always been difficult and stubborn. Walks were ok, except if he saw a squirrel or a cat or another dog or wanted to drag me to the park etc. I never wanted to try a prong collar because of the negative connotations, especially with a pit bull that people are already afraid of. (My dog is super sweet and not aggressive – just stubborn!) I went on vacation and decided to send him to dog training school to try to correct some of his bad behaviors and the trainer brought him back and showed me how to use the prong collar. I was a bit taken aback, as I didn't expect it and thought it was cruel. But since I invested so much money in this trainer I figured I'd give it a try. And the difference is quite amazing. As soon as the collar goes on I have total control over him. I can even run in the park with him without getting dragged or jumped on. I always enjoyed walking my dog because I love him and I like to get out and walk, but now walking him is sooooooo much better. It's pretty effortless. I'm just afraid I'm going to lose the arm muscle I built up from all that pulling!

    1. I don’t recommend keeping it on 24/7. Depending on what you are using it for, you can keep it on during the day, but take it off at night when the dog is sleeping. And never crate the dog with it on.

    2. Hi, I don't want to hijack Debi's post but would like to comment.

      Prong Collars, Choke Chains, Flat Collars, Harness, etc, are all part of your training tools and should therefore be used for that purpose only (they are not ornamental, although many believe that they are). Prong/Choke = obedience training, Harness = tracking work, flat collar = protection work. Therefore you are communicating with your dog when using these tools and the dog will understand what type of work it is going to be doing by recognizing the piece of equipment that you fit ie if you fit a tracking harness the dog will know that it is going to be doing tracking work.

      Furthermore, it is downright dangerous to leave either choke chain or prong collar on dogs if not working. The reason is that your dog might get spooked by something (fire works, thunder or whatever) and decide to make a dash for it. Now presume there is a fence (metal picket fence/devils fork) in the dogs way and he decides to jump this but your choke or prong hooks on the live ring. This will then tighten around the dogs neck while he is hanging and obviously suffocate him to death (I am sure that you do not wish this upon your family pet).

  23. We recently attended a three week intensive training program for our 4 year old, 50 lb lab mix. Sweet dog who is highly, highly excitable and anxious. Our goal with the program was full obedience. They started our dog on a martingale collar, then upgraded him to a choke, and finally the prong. All seemed to be going well with the prong except his reactivity to other dogs while on leash seemed to get worse. However, I am primarily writing here because he recently growled and snapped at our 1.5 year old son while getting a correction with the collar – he has never done this before. He was supposed to be in a “down” but got up
    when my son went by with a musical toy so I
    gave him a small correction back to his down. I think our dog is fearful that our son is causing
    him to get negative corrections. Since the
    incident he has been mouthing our son a lot
    more. Could the use of the collar be creating more fear and anxiety in our already anxious
    dog? We’ve invested a lot of time and money in our training and I feel like we have to go back to the drawing board. I haven’t used the collar since. Our dog is very responsive to positive training with treats, but he is also food aggressive which makes me nervous to use around my son (and he is sometimes so excited about the treats he can’t pay attention to training). Any training resources or advice
    you can provide would be very helpful! I am trying to gain more knowledge and be a responsible dog owner (esp. with kid number two on the way in just a few weeks).

    1. Look into Ed Frawley with Leerburg-has many articles, videos, and you can ask his wife Cindy questions, she is a trainer too.

  24. We rehomed a 8 month old GSD who was full of anxiety and nervousness. Our first walk getting her home she barked and lunged at anything that moved be it person or dog. She nearly pulled my partner off her feet in the first week. We worked with a balanced trainer to begin with and we saw some improvement but didn’t want to use a prong because of their reputation. We then moved and tried a force free trainer. No amount of chicken, ham or hotdogs we’re getting our dogs attention when she reacted. I spent a year night after night, hours in all weathers, trying thresholds etc to help our dog and while we saw improvement she was still had some reactivity issues. Contacted another balanced trainer and he recommended a prong. What a life changer. In one session she was working roundabout his dog with no issues. We’ve even had comments from people about how well behaved our dog is. The absolute best feeling was able to have a family trip to a busy seaside and she walked calmly through crowds, passed dogs, runners and cyclists and she was good as gold.
    If used correctly prongs are a great tool and can greatly improve your and the dogs quality of life

  25. I have four bouvier dogs whom i love dearly, but using the regular belt type choker, got me dragged under the wheels of truck, which fortunately stopped at the last second, saving my life and the probably the dogs as well, since i walk all four at once, so all i can say, is your information and positive comments on the use of the prong collar seems to be my only and final choice. My wife bought the plastic" command collar" it did have immediate results, but i cannot get past the fact that they are all plastic. So I will be finally , not without some reservations , be trying your collar, at least i feel that when walking the dogs , they will know when to stop yanking, rather than me pulling or yanking on them for control. Also we may all live to see tomorrow. Many thanks for your advice and recommendation. Sincerely Brian Kelly

  26. hi,,, we got a herm sprenger collar yesterday, it was recommended by the owner of the daycare center. Mickey is a 45 lb standard poodle and is 6 months old. He pulls when i walk him half the time. it seems ugly and embarrassing. With the collar we walked last night and twice today hes a totally different dog .A real gentlepup. My only complaint is that it is a bit of a bitch to put on and take off.

    1. After using it for a while you’ll notice taking on and off gets easier. Also, try having your dog wear a cute bandana… it covers the prong collar if you are self-conscious about it.

  27. I love my dogs prong collar. I have a strong 100 pound GSD. 4 years ago I would have never used it, until my dog trainer trained my dog on it.

    My dog trainer helped us find the most comfortable prong collar and fit it properly behind Blu's ears. It makes all the difference and Blu seldom pulls or lunges. At this point, he rarely has to be corrected.

    I found the prong collar to be far more humane than say a shock collar, a flat collar, or even an ill fitted harness.

    The collar is not designed to hurt the dog, but get the dogs attention. The prongs simulate another dog's mouth, which makes sense if you've ever taken your dog to the dog park.

    I recommend prong collars, but only after consulting a certified dog training professional.

    If you think prong collars are cruel, think about it this way. My dog loves going on walks and he always wears a prong collar when we leave the house. Why would he still be so excited to go on walks if the prong collar was so terrible? And trust me, my dog knows how to communicate if he doesn't like something.

  28. I have used the prong collar with my Lab. Now, at age 6 it doesn’t seem to be as effective. I’m certain it must at least in part be me. I bought a new prong collar suggested by person at HS site. and it is big and clunky. Is 3mm what I should use with a lab?

  29. I decided to share my story because so many people have not. I have a 140 BRT, and he is only 14 months old. I used positive reinforcement in training him to walk since he was 3 months old. He did well about 75% of the time but at some point he figured out that he was bigger and stronger than me and started to lung at people and other dogs (he loves people and dogs what can I say). I tried different collars and approaches and nothing worked. So a friend recommended a prong collar, I knew that I had nothing to lose by trying it. If I did not get his behavior under control I would have to re-home my dog, if I could not walk him that would be cruel and if he hurt me or someone by lunging that would be even worse. I did training and watched several videos regarding the use of the collar and in less than 2 week the lunging was OVER. He lunged once and never did it again. I can walk right past other dogs and people and he looks at them and keeps in stride with my pace. I have never been more grateful for this training tool, I love my dog and have put a lot of work and money into training him. I know that I could have accomplished this with positive reinforcement but it would have taken me another year and based on his size I did not have the luxury of time. I really wish I had started using it early in his training program.

  30. My Australian Shepperd is very very active and extremely loveable and he pulls like a German Shepperd. He’s large for the breed. I raised him w/ a no-pull harness, and he quickly out grew that behavior. I swapped over to a prong collar, and got him to behave, and pull and run after other dogs less, but it doesn’t stick when I put him on another collar. He only does the right things when he has the prong collar on cause he’s smart and knows not to mess around w/ it on. Some times he forgets it’s on and tries to run and it’s clear he’s in pain. I don’t think its inhumane to use the collar w/o any jerking or quick pulling motions, but if you’re one of those people who yanks, or if you have a dog that will abruptly yank, you need to do more than use a prong collar.

    I just switched him back to a no-pull collar, and it’s working much better w/ training him to stick around and not pull, especially w/ positive enforcement and treats. I think, a prong collar, having the constant fear and discomfort creates a different situation for a smart dog, and when they don’t have that worry or fear, they just drop all their training. Use a no-pull, or a choke chain, and train them w/ positive reinforcement. The pain and discomfort of of a prong collar isn’t going to beat out the bad behavior.

  31. We adopted a 7 month old lab/pit/Brittany spaniel mix from our local rescue shelter. He is clearly lacking in socialization and his behavior and demeanor are indicative of prior abuse. We are taking things really slow, but I’m concerned if we take them too slow, we will actually be reinforcing behaviors learned from the abuse, i.e. he won’t make eye contact, has to be taken out of his kennel, has to be carried inside after be letting out to go to the bathroom, etc. He growls a little but I know he’s just reacting and not being aggressive. He did bite me once but that was clearly situational and hasn’t happened again. So, the reason he has to be carried into the house is that he won’t move when he has a leash on. It used to be he wouldn’t move at all when we set him down, but now he runs to go outside it runs away from us when we’re outside (we have a fenced in yard so he can’t get away). My question is if the prong collar would scare him even more, causing more distrust, or if the “boundaries” of the collar would actually make him feel safer?

    1. It’s a tough call. It depends on the severity of his fearfulness. You will need to read the dog’s body language. But I’d recommend giving it a try, if he seems too afraid, then take a few steps back.

    2. I would not use a prong collar for him. He clearly is afraid of the leash. My guess he was abused while wearing one or was constantly on one. You need to work with him letting him know the leash is a good thing..associate the leash with something positive. Putting a prong collar on him that would make him uncomfortable or hurt him would further harm him mentally. He will begin to associate the prong collar with pain, which is something he is afraid of. I think it’s a bad idea. Use lots of love and positive reinforcement with a no pull harness.

      1. I don’t think the fear is based on the leash, but something else. Of course I do not know this dog. A good behavior trainer is best in situations like this. Prong collars do NOT cause pain. That is a misconception. I do agree positive reinforcement is key in fear based cases. Every dog and situation is unique.

    3. Consult with Virginia from Oliver’s Travels dog training. She agreed to train a lab mix that was petrified of everything and was essentially still catatonic after months of us having her. Virginia transformed her into an absolutely normal dog. And she did it using a prong collar. You don’t use it to punish, you use it to guide. Teaching pressure & release is fast, easy, and helps build the dog’s confidence. Most dogs that are terrified of things have never been exposed to them rather than having been beaten by/with the thing they’re exposed to.

  32. I have a large, leash-reactive male German Shepherd. He pulled on his leash and barked aggressively at other dogs and people when using a standard flat collar. I switched him to a prong (Herm Sprenger 2.25mm) and his behavior improved immediately.

    Thinking it looked barbaric and painful, and not wanting to subject my dog to “torture”, I put it on myself and gave it a tug before I ever used it on him. I did not find it to be a painful experience on my own neck.

    Learn how to fit it and use it properly before employing. It hasn’t had any negative impact on his love or desire to go on walks.

  33. Once your dog proper leash etiquette with the prong collar do you have to use it from here on out? Meaning, they are walking well with no correction needed.

  34. Does the prong collar hinder your relationship with your dog? I don’t want my dog to fear me or become aggressive towards other people or dogs…. also, does she always have to use the prong collar? Or can eventually she go off it and into her normal collar/ no leash? I don’t want her to listen to me just because she fears what comes if she doesn’t. I want her to learn the actual commands I give her.

    1. Have you read the other comments here? The prong collar is not meant to instill fear. The dog will be much happier in fact. My dogs get excited when they see the prong collars come out, it means they are going for a walk and can’t wait to get the collar on! Eventually you can stop using the collar, once she understands pulling is not acceptable. But that isn’t going to happen in just a few days. It could take months or years, depending on your training.

  35. Thanks for the information. I have a 48 lb Whoodle who would wear the gentle harness on our walks in our old location (CT) where we’d go 3-4 miles on a weekend and was great exercise for both of us. We recently moved to a suburb of Boston where walks are now exercise but also to do her business. Gentle Leader no longer works and just bought a front hitch harness which also does not work. I’ve heard about this collar from a Whoodle group I’m in but am concerned that I won’t use it properly and will hurt her. Your comments are spot on that trainers are obsessively against this collar so fear there will be no where for me to go to get training if I were to purchase. Thoughts?

    1. A few thoughts… first, you need to not care what other people think. I know that’s easier said than done. Two, Find a trainer that will work with you and the prong collar. I’ve seen collar covers that disguise the prong. I have not used one so can’t recommend anything specific, but you can find them on Amazon: https://amzn.to/32rG40v

  36. Hi I’m 19 and have a 4 month old Great Dane and he is almost 70Ib I started him out in obedience puppy classes and the trainer there recommend to get a harness but he grew out of it so quickly that wasn’t able to train much with him but even with the harness he was very difficult to walk because he pulls so hard and he chews on his leash like he wants to walk himself. We are switching over to a 1 on 1 trainer very soon hoping it will help with his other problems we are having at home. But do you suggest a prong collar for my Great Dane? I wanted to get one for him when we first started having problems with him but my dad seemed so against it so I decided on not getting one. I know you said you have to be careful with how hard they pull with the prong collar I’m just worried my dog pulls too hard and may injure himself because my dad even has a hard time walking him.

    1. 4 months old is border line too young in my opinion. Not that it won’t work, but because he is still young enough to teach him not to pull without it. Do not walk or move while he is pulling and turn around in the opposition direction are two ways to stop the pulling even with a standard collar. If you do try the prong collar, make sure it’s high up on his neck, just below his ears. Watch the video on proper fitting and you will be fine.

    2. I have a year old Great Dane mix. He is a happy go lucky great dog. I walk him 4-6 miles a day, am in obedience & he generally does really well. However he is 120 lbs and I am 62 and 140 lbs. I have tried 2 different harnesses and if he gets really excited he can escape both….once after a groundhog, once when a farm combine crossed in front of us …he escaped the harness only 4 times total in a year, but each time was dangerous. Additionally he pulled my husband to the ground one time. Again 99.9% of the time he is a joy to walk & im walking him and my other dog which could greatly overpower me. I somewhat reluctantly use the prong collar because I know I have control regardless of situation & can keep him safe. Actually he has never gagged, choked or shown any discomfort to prong where I’ve had dogs gag if they pulled hard with flat collar.

  37. I trained my German Shepard/Siberian Husky mix using a pinch collar, got tips on training from a gal who trained duck hunting dogs, she taught me hand signals and all. I used it as you explained back in 1999, maybe for 3 months and periodically as needed over a years time. I had an amazingly trained companion who was really an “off the leash” dog (always carried a leash), used mostly hand signal commands. She was a once in a lifetime soulmate of a dog. She was especially dialed in when hiking in Alaska, saved me from crossing paths with many bears, moose, & wolverines. Lately, I am getting hounded on social media about responding to a post saying it was a great tool for training. Immediately I’m an “abuser”, bla bla bla. Truth is she was the best dog I could have ever had the privilege of rescuing. She lived to be 17 yrs and 4 months, still hiked up until the last 4 months of her life. So yes, I agree, if used properly no issues, in the grand picture it gave her ultimate freedom in living her best dog life.

  38. We just got a new 5 month old Australian shepherd last week. She is very sweet but it’s obvious now that she hasn’t been socialized at all. She is slowly getting used to our house and noises but has a very difficult time with walks (she’s afraid of everything – car, people, loud sounds). We are taking it really, really slowly and not forcing her to go anywhere for the walk – as far as she is comfortable and I try to avoid triggers – but it’s still stressful for her and I want her to feel more confident. I was going to buy a front clip harness (for more control as she is either following her nose without listening to me or tries to run away from scary” things) but after reading your article I’m wondering if a prong collar would be better?. What are your thoughts? I just want her to be happy and enjoy the world!

    1. Patty, it’s worth a try. I’m not a fan of harnesses, as they provoke pulling. The prong is simply a tool as if to “tap” the dogs shoulder to get her attention. BUT she does need help with socialization. She may also just be going through a fear period. It’s very common for puppies to go through several fear periods throughout the 2-9 months of life. You are doing everything right, just take it slow.

  39. I have a 2 year old, big strong 50kg male rottweiler who my ex was supposed to have trained, but only really had him off the lead, Sam doesn’t listen to a word I say when we’re out walking and literally drags me, causing me injury. I have just had a 1 to 1 training session with a trainer and when he first suggested the prong collar I said NO straight away, but I put the collar around my thigh to see the effect. The trainer showed me how to use it properly and within 10 mins, Sam was walking by my side, not pulling and not jumping up at the 2 trainers I had with me, the difference was remarkable!! I had to give him a couple of sharp tugs but after that he soon got the message that if he pulled I would tug him back … My views of these “evil looking” collars has changed and I had got to the stage of not taking Sam out for daily walks as I was scared of being injured myself or him injuring or frightening other people. The dangerous dogs act suggests that an individual only needs to be frightened. Sam has a lovely temperament and not an aggressive bone in his body, he’s just over friendly and too big to be jumping up at people because of the risk of injury. I love him to bits and am looking forward to enjoying our walks from now on.

  40. I’ve used regular collars, choke collars, gentle leaders, harnesses and the prong collar. The prong is the best, the dogs pull much less, even with other dogs, cats and squirrels to distract them. They out weigh me, so it’s important to have them under control. No more choking off the trachea. No more shoulder injuries for me. The dogs hear the rattle of the prong collar and get so excited for their walks! There is no negative association for the dogs, and we’ve even been lucky and not have any people give us looks or comments on their collars either.

  41. I have used every kind of collar for the pups I’ve fostered and adopted. The biggest pup I fostered (who was also a tripaw) did really well with a prong collar but when it was first recommended to me I didn’t want to try it. He was a bully breed mutt and 100 +lbs. I didn’t outweigh him by much. My friend who also trains dogs showed me how to use it properly and it changed our lives! There was never so much as an indent in his skin and I was able to easily control him for the first time. He was also extremely leash reactive and aggressive towards other dogs in general. I wouldn’t recommend trying one without researching how to properly use it but it works really well for some pups. Thanks for sharing this article.

  42. I had an English Bulldog and, true to their bullheadedness, when a puppy on our first walks would pull out of his collar and leash and take off. I used a pinch collar 3 times and he learned that quickly and never pulled out of the leash again.

  43. I used to be someone who thought the prong collar was evil and harmful.. until I met a former LEO K-9 trainer who taught ME how to use one, properly, on a GSD. I was terrified to hurt him during the first 2 sessions, but my son was not and he was getting the dog to listen! I finally gave up on my fears, and holy cow I was in control. As soon as the GSD would hear the prong collar, he would sit and wait for it to be put on for his walks and never tugged on me ever again.
    I now use it on my foster fail rescue dog, she is a brute Am Staff-Boxer mix who is only 1 years old and loves to dominate those who don’t know her. As soon as the prong collar is on her, she is in full listen mode.

    I am a firm believer of the pros of a prong collar – and I would never get on other then the Herm brand, the rest always break or corrode.

    Love this article!

  44. I’m thinking about buying for my dog a prong collar so your article is very helpful to me. Thanks for your advice and recommend!!

  45. A prong collar worked wonders on my “hooligan”, made her walk like a lady. I am with a training group right now, not training with them at present. The instructor is set against prong and choke collars. Her classes are pure chaos, as nobody has any control with head halters, harnesses and flat collars. The people are told to wait for the dog to offer the behavior. The dog doesn’t know what behavior to offer. These are common pet dogs. I work with high drive, hard working dogs. I so hate to see good, effective training tools totally demonized.

  46. I have a reactive dog when out, other dogs, cars and people but an absolute gent when in the home. We are both currently undergoing some intensive training with a professional who recommended this collar and so far has been the only tool that has allowed me to correct his behaviours, even on the first session we were able to be within a few feet of another dog with no reaction and for me and for him has literally been a life saver. Still a long way to go but this collar has put us on the right tracks. If ur looking to get one please please please invest In a sprenger and not a cheap version as these have point ends that will do damage and please seek a reputable professional to show you how to use it properly.its meant for slow gradual increases in pressure not quick hard yanks

  47. We are about to re home our two wire haired dachshunds due to out of control pulling. We would like to try one more time to change their walking behavior. Have you had success on this type of dog which is bred to hunt rodents?

    1. I’ll bet you prong collars and strategic sharp jerks will have your dachshunds (or your wolfhounds) respectfully leaving their leashes slack within the week. What the dogs were bred for has absolutely no relationship to their bad manners (which you have inadvertently taught them). Use exactly the amount of sharp jerk that produces an immediate reaction. And be consistent. Do not allow any pulling from now on.

      1. Harriet, you need to calm down. Everything Debbie has mentioned suggests not using the prong collar to “jerk”, yank, or whatever on dogs. That’s not how the tool works and that’s not the humane way to go about it. Please do more research, because your answer sounded very disturbing.

  48. We adopted our 5-yr-old 18-lb floof in March, and at first she was coughing and choking all the time. We were told that it was probably allergies. Then we started a balanced training class, and they showed us how to use the prong collar. It is much better than the flat collars we had tried – since she doesn’t pull now, her trachea isn’t under pressure on walks. Her constant coughing and choking has completely gone away. I’m sure it was the pressure of the flat collars during walks that was causing the problem, and I can only imagine how bad it might have become over time.

    She is a pretty assertive dog, gets plenty of outdoor time and exercise, and still she is totally happy and excited when we pick up her collar to announce a walk. It’s not an issue.

    I will make a couple of notes: 1, It was a bit of a trick to fit the thing at first, especially since she has long fur. We use a mini prong collar and had to adjust the number of links. A trainer can help with that. 2, I think it can add a little stress during dog-to-dog interactions, especially if the other dog is aggressive. 3, It definitely forces you to pay attention as you’re concerned about pulling too hard – but that /should/ be the case no matter what you use.

  49. It was suggested that we use the prong collar on our 3 month old Bichon/Shih Tzu who just started training. He’s not a bad dog and doesn’t have any serious issues – just your normal puppy stuff. I trust my trainer completely but every single person in my life is telling me my specific dog does not need the prong collar. I just want him to be the perfectly trained dog I know he’s capable of becoming. I might regret asking this but can I get opinions please? haha

    1. 3 months is too young for a prong collar in my opinion. There are other ways to train a puppy to walk nicely on a leash. Try the stop and go method first, by not moving forward anytime there is any tension on the leash should teach him not to pull. There are many other options to try before using a prong.

  50. I just found this page after admitting to a dog-focused friendly advice group on facebook that I REALLY struggle with walking my dog. She’s a 27-ish pound mutt, stocky and short-legged, and still pulls even after working on training and walking her for 4 years, we’ve had her since she was a pup.
    The straw that broke the camel’s back was after her pulling so much with her front-clip Halti harness that she rubbed her armpit bald. They say it “should” redirect them, and that worked for a little while, but not well enough, apparently, since she figure out that she could push through it anyway. No matter what treats or happiness we used, she always found a way to push ahead and not pay attention to us at all. Granted, my training should have been better and more consistent, and I’ll probably always blame myself for letting her get this bad when it could have been prevented… but I gotta say, she is exhausting to walk!

    Before that, we tried the gentle-leader head harness, which she HATED, and either shut down when we put it on or she would often push through it anyway, to where I worried that she would hurt her neck. We also tried the plain slip-chain/choke chain collar (per my Mother in law’s recommendation), and found that she still pulled and choked herself despite us -trying- to use it responsibly and kindly, OR she would back out of it and completely slip away. 🙁

    So, I have yet to try a prong collar, but doing all this research on it has really made me consider that I should. Thank you for this resource.

        1. I recommend the 3.0 mm size for most medium to large dogs. The one linked in the article above fits dogs with up to a 18-inch neck. You can purchases extra links if you have an extra large dog (just make sure to get the right mm size for the collar you have). And remove links for smaller necks. For small dogs you can get the 2.25 mm.

  51. Loved this post! I have volunteered at numerous rescues that would allow for use of harnesses and Martingale or choke style collars but not prongs. A strong dog actually puked while I was walking him from the pressure on his throat. A prong would have cleaned him right up. Prongs could help so many dogs and the misinformation out there is terrible. Thanks for sharing!

  52. With some dogs prong collars are a great tool! Growing up I had a Doberman who couldn’t be walked without it! Now I have an American Foxhound, and while she does pull a little bit at the beginning of a walk she settles right in with her harness pretty quick. It’s all a matter of dog and what the owner is comfortable with! So many people misuse them, but when used correctly they’re very good tools.

  53. Hello,

    At what age do you recommend that people start using a prong
    Collar? I definitely want to use it. I have a 5 month old
    Rottweiler and I need to make sure he does not pull me
    In the winters 🙂

  54. Thank you for this article! We rescued a super sweet lab mix from down south a few months ago. She is a quick learner with all the usual commands and is due to graduate her first round of puppy training classes this Sunday. However, loose leash walking has literally been impossible. We’ve tried all our trainer’s suggestions like carrying a stick shaped treat and letting her have a nibble when she’s at our knee, spatula with cheese/peanut butter, hot dogs, treat sack at our hip and feeding while walking… NOTHING worked. Tried the front clip harness but she would still pull so hard she would flip herself over and on to her side… how does that not break ribs?! Forget a regular collar… she did nothing but choke herself out the entire walk. We felt like failures having practiced with her every single day several times per day with no success. We took different routes, different scenery with woods walks and hikes vs. in the neighborhood… nothing helped. Prong collar was recommended by a co-worker (who received the rec. from his dog trainer) and immediately she ceased the pulling. We put it on in the house about half an hour before taking her for a walk to make sure she was comfortable with it on. She was still her happy-go-lucky self playing. Once we took her out… I was amazed! We’re hoping it’s a temporary training tool only, but I’m still happy to have found this.

    I can see how someone would see it as dangerous or harmful. But like you mention, fit is crucial. And don’t be a jerk and pull on it. Give it a light tug if necessary and the unwanted behavior is over. Like others have mentioned, I’m sure the dog is not afraid of this collar if they’re running to you to put it on for a walk. Unlike when our little baby sees her shampoo bottle – she knows it’s bath time and disappears. Funny how that works.

  55. Hi! We rescued a Brittany Mix not long ago and walking with her was miserable! She would pull so hard then entire walk with her two front feet in the air. She wore a harness. Nothing worked until I found this site and started using a prong collar. She was like a different dog! She walked normal and actually we all enjoyed our walk instead of dreading it. It is amazing! I had the stigma that the prong collars were abusive. But I now see how wonderful they are in training my dog. She is so much happier on her walks and so am I. Thank you for sharing this information!!!

    1. And I could say there is enough research that shows a flat collar and head halters cause more damage than a prong collar. Have you witnessed a dog pulled so hard on a flat collar that it chokes it self to the point of gagging? Possibly causing neck/throat problems. Or pulling his owner over, cause owners not to walk their dog?

      Have you ever seen a dog love wearing a head halter? Did you know that there is research showing head halters could jerk a dog’s head, causing neck or spinal injuries? And harnesses? Really? I have yet to see one that stops a dog from pulling.

      Let’s be realistic, I’m not here to change your mind, and you will never be able to change mine. My dogs come running with excitement when they hear their prong collar come out.

      Any collar, and training tool for that matter can cause damage to a dog if not used properly. The prong is not meant to yank, pull or choke a dog.

      When you adopt a dog that pulls so hard you can not walk him, then come talk to me… do you want to go through a 6-12-18 month (or more) “positive-only” training program so this dog can finally take a walk in a public space? And in the mean time the poor dog is confined to his home? The prong collar is NOT cruel, it saves dogs lives. Period.

    2. I love this link you provided. It is very helpful. If you have experience and skill in reading a study objectively and without bias, you can see that it actually disproves the point you and the citing website are trying to make. The studies seem to show that choke collars are dangerous but not prong collars. In fact, they do quite the opposite for the latter.

      Specifically, they state that prolonged or extreme pulling of ANY collar can lead to damage. This includes a flat collar. Knowing this and caring about our dogs, we should be looking for the option that most quickly trains the dog not to pull. In large, older, strong, and/or strong-willed dogs, this would point us to the prong collars.

  56. We just rescued a 2 year old (they think) GSD mix this past Tuesday. He came to the pound as a stray but you can tell he has had some training…..he can sit, shake, etc. and has a loving heart. Every once in awhile he will just chill on the kitchen floor by us….but the last day he is all puppy. He has started jumping, and biting and it seems more aggressive. He’s pretty good on walks but pulls to the point of choking himself. My daughter took him out today on a prong collar and she said he did good. My question is I know it can be good for walks but can it also be used in training my dog to stop jumping and biting? I’ve heard that putting a prong collar on an aggressive dog just makes them more aggressive. We plan on taking him to training classes for sure but the dog is making everyone in the family cry, angry, sad because of the jumping/biting. Will the collar help all that?

  57. I love the prong collar! I have physical disabilities and any pulling from my 62 pound Labradoodle will hurt me. My dog has been going through training to be my service dog and I have been researching weather or not it’s ok to continue using my prong collar with her. I’m not finding anything in the ADA that says anything about these collars ( any collars for that matter). I’ve recently joined a couple of Service Dog sites and everyone on there says that it IS OK to use a prong collar on a trained Service Dog. I have yet to find anything in writing that says this is ok. I need to be able to use my prong collar! I cannot just take the opinions of others because the day WILL COME that I will be challenged by someone out there who tries to bust people for passing their dogs off as service dogs, when indeed, they are not. The prong collar has always been a life-saver for me and my dog!

  58. Hi there, I totally agree with you on prong collars. The bans on them are sad as so many people jump on the band wagon without fully knowing the full story. Shame they don’t research the damage done to dogs by flat buckle ! I follow Jeff Bellman and Skype with him occasionally and love his transparency & honesty about the training tools he uses. I have won over a few of my clients here in Monaco & France re. Use of the prong/e collar & it has changed their lives all for the better & made some very happy dogs too. However they are illegal here so it’s very difficult to promote them in a public way. Humanely training your dog as with children should be a personal choice not one dictated by supposed do gooders and government policies Thanks for your free download I look forward to reading it and sharing! Kind regards. Karen

  59. Hi….i have asweet female bullmastiff…named VODKA…Please guide me when n which sized prong coller fits my VODKA?

  60. Hello,
    After doing my research and coming across this website, I’m ready to try a prong collar with my rescue Nala. She’s a 5 year old Great Pyrenees cross that I’ve had the joy of owning for a year now. She’s one of those rescues that really rescue you. Anyways, she had so much leash reactivity when I first adopted her. I didn’t even know what that really was until the first week of taking her for walks. Unfortunately, I think the rescue society I got her from downplayed the leash issues. By the time I realized how bad it was I was so in love with her there was no way I was going to give up on her! So I started on this years path of advice from experienced rescue owners, 1:1 sessions with a personal trainer ( But this got expensive and she made me feel like i was a big part of the problem by not being able to get over my anxieties when we walked by people, dogs etc) I know I have some work to do there and I am trying. But I will never be completely relaxed walking her if shes going to lunge and bark at every person, bike, dog we see on our walks. Which in the summer months of course is everyone we see. I’ve compensated by going out during less busy times and the latest which has been driving to off leash dog parks as she is sooooo much off leash. I’ve also used the gentle leader and it helped somewhat but she walked much slower and really hated it always trying to rub it off her face, which created a whole new set of issues. I can get away with taking her to off leash parks sometimes but I don’t always have the time to drive there as I’m also mom to 3 kids. The pulling she used to have has almost been eliminated by the training techniques my trainer taught us. So now I’m looking to eliminate the lunging at joggers, bikes, people walking towards us with or without dogs and the occasional car that she decides is a threat?? She’ll lunge right onto a road sometimes which is so scary for me. Its a good thing I work out because I can reign her back in but I fear one day she’ll dislocate my shoulder!! The one thing I don’t do is avoid walking her altogether. She needs her exercise and fresh air and i will never deny her of that because of my own fears. But I just wonder if I will ever experience joy in our walks. At this point I don’t care at all what people will think of me if they see a prong collar on her. I know I’d be doing it for everyone’s safety, including theirs, and not as a way to punish my dog. As for the comment about it causing pain, no one has ever mentioned their dog cries out, winces in discomfort. Dogs will definitely be verbal if they are uncomfortable or in pain!! I will post my update soon!

    1. The dog must learn to pay attention and do exactly what you say–for your sake and its. “Ran into the road”? No. This must never happen. It could be killed–along with the child flung into the windshield as her mother hits the brake. It is your responsibility to use the amount of training force necessary to eventually produce instant obedience in public. For my willful, hard-headed, inattentive Doberman yearling, that’s definitely a prong collar for training sessions now. Your timid poodle may never need one. Pay no attention to the idiots who prescribe for your dog without knowing either you or it. Your responsibility is to ensure that your dog responds to essential demands. Right now. Right this instant. You’ll never know whose life you’ve saved.

  61. We rescued a 4 month old 50 lb Anatolian Shepherd/Great Pyrenees mix 5 months ago. He is absolutely gorgeous and has the sweetest disposition. (We are in the process of training him to be a therapy dog to take to local nursing homes/schools etc)He thinks everyone is his friend and wants to play. This made walking him difficult as he wanted to get to anyone or anything he saw. It took everything in me to hold him back and walking him was physically hard on me. We tried positive reinforcement but he is totally indifferent to treats. He likes them, just not enough to be bribed by them. After our trainer introduced us to the prong collar walking with him is a joy. We were very skeptical at first because it does look a bit barbaric. We have been working at it for 5 months now and occasionally I will just use his regular collar….he pulls every time! With his prong collar, I barely even have to hold the leash. When he hears me pick it up he comes running because he knows we’re going out. If it hurt him in any way I seriously doubt he would come running for me to put it on him. He is now 9 months old, over 90 lbs and still growing! We make a concentrated effort to take him as many places as possible and have found some really great dog friendly parks, wineries etc. If it weren’t for this collar we would never be able to do that. The prong collar allows us to share our life with our dog and not just have a dog at home waiting for us to get back from our adventures.

  62. I have used prong collars before with fantastic success. If you have a stubborn or strongly pulling dog, these collars can change a dog’s behavior in literally one short session. There is no need to be heavy handed using a prong collar. A quick, gentle tug is all that’s needed. My dogs immediately focused on me rather than being ramped up and anxious or hyper. These collars can save a dog’s life and make him the gentle fur baby the owner wants. The rescues and shelters are full of dogs that were not trained properly by their owners and so were abandoned. It is cruel to these dogs for them to be abandoned over and over again, adding to their unsuitability as pets, by people who believe themselves humane, when a gentle training session with a prong collar can turn those wonderful dogs into the kind of pet the owner dreams of. I have used one with a boxer, a half rottweiler/half lab, and a half boston terrier/half lab. Every time, with only a few sessions, the dogs became calm, happy and responsive. My latest furbaby – the half boston/half lab – was so smart that all the “positive” training methods only trained him to misbehave. The “positive” training methods consist of a verbal correction, which leads to a treat (definitely food motivated dog). This merely trained him to bite me, then sit back and wait for a treat when he quit. Offering him a toy when he attacks me, biting and scratching me, only taught him to attack me in order to get a toy. He was getting worse and worse – out of control. So, out comes my trusty prong collar. A smart, quick, and gentle tug as he came at me, playfully, but vigorously and painfully, biting and scratching, caused him to halt and look at my face, asking me what I need from him, wanting to interact and please. On our first walk, with a 20 minute session he was heeling, sitting, and responding to down and stay commands like never before. Before he never watched me. He didn’t need to or want to. Now he is eyes on me. Now he is licking me instead of biting, watching me and interacting with me. He’s the sweet dog I knew him to be. By using the prong collar, he is now interacting with me in positive and affectionate ways, instead of the aggressive and painful ways that came natural to him. He was on the road to becoming an uncontrollable pet who would be doomed to being kept outside when the grandkids come to visit, or visitors come into the home. Now he is under control and gentle. I just can’t say enough positive about the usefulness of a prong collar. It can save everyone’s sanity. Yours and the fur baby.

  63. Hi Debi,

    I have found your article online about using prong collars.. well, i am at my wits end with my darling Border Collie. Kodi will be 2 yrs old in September this year, originates from a rescue center and has been with me from 4 months of age.

    Unfortunately, Kodi is one of those dogs that take you for a walk and not the other way around.. so i am wanting to try a prong collar, he gets so over stimulated when we go for a walk it’s almost unbearable.. pulling, barking, hyper over the top behaviour. this si my best buddy and my soul mutt and i am not going to give up on him, though both he and i need help!

    Is there any advise other than your article on the prong collar you can help with – please know though that my intention is to use the collar correctly and for the right reasons, i have paid special attention on how NOT to use the collar..

    I am emigrating to Germany next year and i do not want to be taking a dog with me that is going to drag me through the streets, barking and being hyper and scaring everyone by giving the impression he’s aggressive which he definitely is not..

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

  64. You lost me at suggesting a prong collar for a reactive dog! This is the worst tool you can use for a reactive dog. I don’t see dog trainer in your credentials, but do see a link to a product which suggests you make money off of your recommendation. I’m not sure you have the experience to recommend this nor have the dog’s best interest in mind. Disappointed by the bias.

    1. I actually have a ton of experience with the prong collar with my own dogs and other foster dogs I have trained. I may not have a certificate as a dog trainer, but I have attended more training sessions with dog trainers than I can count. This post is from the perspective of a dog owner (me) that has experience with all types of training techniques, and yes that includes reactive dogs, shy dogs, scared dogs, and happy go lucky dogs. And yes I do earn a small commission when someone purchases from one of the links on this page, this commission is tiny and doesn’t cost you anything. I spend more than 40 hours a week writing, researching and helping dog owners, I can not do it for free and still feed my family. The links and ads are a way for me to cover my expenses. In the end, I realize the prong collar is very controversial, but please do not bash it unless you’ve had experience with a dog that pulls so hard you can not walk him. Just read some of the success stories in the comments. The prong collar is a life saving tool for many dog owners.

      1. Excellent post!! I am a 12 year veteran of professional canine training and hands-down a prong collar is absolutely the safest most efficient way to train your fur babies!! When I am conducting group training sessions I introduce the prong collar to each and every one of my classes and I properly fit it around my own bare leg and give it the correct pull as if I were training a dog to demonstrate to my groups how safe and non-damaging the prong collar is. Keep up the good work and don’t let the ignorant and uneducated bring you down! Cheers!

  65. A large loving pit bull wondered it’s way up to the shop where I was working and we had decided to take care of it while it was there. No one ever claimed it so it became our shop dog and because I opened and closed the shop regularly I was the one in charge of walking him. Boy was he difficult to walk though. He would drag me all over. He would pull so hard that I wound up on the ground a time or two and injured just by walking him. We decided to try a prong collar and WOW what a difference it made! It was like I was walking a totally different dog altogether. It was life saving for me. The dog didn’t even attempt to pull, lunge or drag me anywhere anymore. It was so bad before that I actually would dread having to take him for his walks and I loved him so much because he was a beautiful loving dog but he literally hurt me on his walks but after we tried the pronged collar and he walked so calmly and correctly I couldn’t wait to take him on his walks. It was a lifesaver for me and he was a true angel to walk with it.

  66. Is the prong collar training my dog not to pull and then when he no longer pulls then we’ll no longer need to use the collar? Or will we always have to use the prong collar? Do your dogs reach a point that you no longer have to use the prong collar?

    1. Yes, the prong trains the dog not to pull and yes eventually your dog will no longer need the collar. But every dog is different. Some dogs only need it for 6 months, others will need it for years. Be patient and give your dog the ability to learn.

  67. I was horrified the first time I saw these collars for sale and thought they were really cruel! But yesterday I had to take my dog, an 8 year old 84lb rottweiler, to the vet. This is always very stressful for me and I get there praying there won’t be another dog in the waiting room. She gets so over excited in this, and a few other, situations that I have real trouble holding her back – she has on occasions pulled me over! I asked the vet if she could give me some gentle tranquillisers to use on such occasions, just to calm her down, but the vet was very reluctant to do this.

    However, she told me that she uses a prong collar with her two German shepherds for the same reason and offered to demonstrate on my dog while we were there. We put on the collar and took my dog out into the waiting room, where there was actually another dog waiting. Immediately the two dogs got ready to lunge at one another. With the gentlest reminder, and no indication that she had felt anything at all, my dog turned straight back to me, looking happy and ready to take notice of me. For the first time ever I relaxed and smiled while in a vet’s waiting room! I should say that my dog is quite highly trained and in a training environment excels at quite advanced exercises. But in some situations all that ‘goes out the window’. I am worried about how my dog owning friends will react to me getting one of these collars, but having seen how easy and gentle yet effective it can be I have decided that I would be silly not to get one, both for her safety and mine, in certain situations.

    1. Susan, thank you for sharing your story and I have a feeling this is going to change you and your dogs lives for the better! We sometimes will put a bandana on our dogs to cover the prong collar.

  68. Thank you for this article. I have a strong, 1.5 year old, hard headed, 60 pound English Springer Spaniel and he is all over the place on walks. He’ll jump at people and dogs who walk by because he wants to visit, he thinks everyone is his friend. I do actually have a prong collar, the trainers at his class suggested it. He is amazing on it, but I don’t always use it because I’m worried about what people might think.

    I went into the city to give him some new experiences besides our boring suburb walks and didn’t use the prong collar. Huge mistake, he was so overwhelmed he was pulling nonstop on our hour walk around the park. I probably am going to get blisters all over my hands, I had to work so hard to keep him from pulling me. I felt like his regular collar was causing him pain because he was pulling against it so much. If he’s really excited treats have no value, even hot dogs. He’s actually spit them out when he he’s determined to get to something else.

    Reading this article and the comments made me realize I have to get over what people might think. I know my dog and one day we’ll eventually work away from the prong collar but he’s not there yet. He’s pretty good on our boring suburb walks with a regular collar, but any new experience he is almost uncontrollable. After our outing I realized how overwhelmed he still gets with new scents and experiences. The prong collar helps keep his focus on me and makes it a positive experience for both of us.

    1. Shelby, I love your story! Thank you so much for sharing. Your story along with all the others brave enough to share will helps others in your same situation. I’ve come to the conclusion that the people bashing the prong collar never had a dog like yours. Stay strong and be confident in knowing you are doing everything right!

  69. If the prong is desingned “not ” to be uncomfortable or cause pain, how does it actually work? I will answer my own question for you……It works by causing pain and uncomfortableness for the dog, causing the dog to avoid the pain . If you want to advocate for using aversive tools, that’s fine, but lying and telling people that the prong doesn’t “hurt” , only makes you look ridiculous . You’re welcome !

    1. It does not work by causing pain when used properly. It is like tapping the dog on the shoulder to get his attention. Sure someone could use it to hurt a dog if they want to pull tight and nag on the dogs neck. But that is true for a flat collar, letting the dog choke itself by pulling so hard the owner can’t control him. It’s all about communicating with the dog, not about pain at all.

  70. I broke down and bought a prong collar for my girls (18 month old pitbulls) they’re the sweetest dogs but pull like crazy especially when they see a person or another dog they want to play with. We started using the collars and the pulling has gotten so much better. Thank you for the article it helped ease my mind in using this for our pups

  71. I have a 15 lb, 1 year old shih-poo who, because he is overly excited, attempt to pull and lunge to meet other people and dogs. We have tried positive reinforcement with food items, turning to head a different direction when he pulls (hoping he will learn to follow the human), and have tried at least another half dozen other recommended methods. Our shih-poo is VERY smart and learns quick – so we know it isn’t an intelligence issue. I just ordered a Sprenger 2.25 mm 12″ inch prong collar and will let you know how it works out in training…it should arrive in 2 days.

  72. Thank you for this article devilifying prong collars. We have beautiful, stress-free walks thanks to this great tool. Wish more people would stop and educate themselves to see the value in them!

  73. People who have untrained GERMAN SHEPHERDS ALWAYS ask me…”do you train dogs”?…”how much would you charge i will pay you well” ALWAYS…why you ask…well because my gsd is sooo well trained.he is off leash trained 100% I take him into public stores.around other dogs.etc and he heels.directly on my side.no matter what.out of control dogs pulling on therr leash trying to attack him.etc it doeant matter.he wont maKe a move unless approved by me..how did i do this you ask?…..well this is the formula…so get your pen and paper ready..first a WHOLE LOTTA LOVE…second A WHOLE LOTTA TIME….third MORE LOVE…..FORTH A SPRENGER CORRECTION COLLAR…without it you will never train a german shepherd manners.bigj reward training….petco training…etc etc..etc DOES NOT WORK YOU ARE WAISTING YOUR TIME.SPINNING YOUR WHEELS…when it comes to training your german shepherds.you cant do your own thing.you must follow a tried and true/proven training program.this is how the nazi’s trained them.this is how the police train them this is how the military trains them..AROUND THE WORLD…stop the stupidity.if you dont use it.you will fail in training your dog will become a nuisance and your dog will ultimately pay the sad price…….a well trained dog has a great life.sees the world ..a poorly trained dog sees the backyard sees the shelter and sees the euthanasia needle

    1. Thank You!!! Have watched several videos by Jeff Geller and purchased a Herm Sprenger prong collar. Wasted $100 at PetSmart (clicker training ????). I have a smart medium drive 5 1/2 month old GSD male pup. Russian/West Germany working/showline. About 30% of the time he will heel/sit/stay with the choke collar but there is no real control without constant pulling on him. I’m over that. I needed to read this because I didn’t want to be too harsh but realized I must have control of him. He’s sweet smart and strong. We’re embarking on our first walk tomorrow!!

  74. I just rescued a 5 month golden husky mix. It has been 4 years since I had my last beloved dog. I used a pinch collar on Chester and he and I were happy walkers for 10+ years. So as I did my research as a new dog mom, I see all the ominous warnings of the pinch collar. I exercised and walked my new buddy for 3 weeks using no prong collar. Did not work at all. Decided to use the old prong collar on a walk to the post office with Bow today ???? Bam. Barely had to use the collar; I mean BARLEY, and we got into the groove. I guess I’m an animal abuser from what I read, but I would put the care and loving I provide to my dog above 99.9% of what most humans receive.

    1. Thanks Karen for sharing your story. I think most people are afraid to publicly admit the prong collar is a great training tool. A lot of peer pressure and uneducated people spreading rumors about a training tool they have no experience with. Yes, the prong collar can cause damage, but so can a flat collar or harness.

  75. I’m a dog walker and deal with a lot of dogs of varying size, strength, and leash training.

    I despise using harnesses because I find they ALWAYS encourage pulling. I have had 0 success teaching dogs to walk correctly using a harness…

    Regular collars allow the dogs to hurt themselves if they have no leash manners, and Ive personally seen this many times — choking, damage to the neck, etc. And not to mention all that pulling also affects me — stresses my joints and feet, strains my wrists, has caused me to slip and fall in icy or muddy conditions, and makes me dread walking these problem dogs.

    But pronged collars have been a saving grace for both me and the problem walkers. Dogs that I thought were a lost cause QUICKLY cease pulling and are walkable again!

    It’s crazy how the internet is overwhelmed with posts claiming how dangerous these collars are when I find they have done wonders for both me and the dogs Im walking, all without hurting them. The content in this post is a breath of fresh air.

    1. Diana, I love your story, thank you so much for sharing! We dog sat for a friends dog last week that has no leash manners, and the way he pulled on his flat collar scared me! He pulled so hard to the point of choking himself and pulling me over. So many people think the prong collar is terrible, yet the flat collar is okay?

  76. My new rescue golden girl’s neck (just below her ears) measures 14. in. What size prong collar should I get? She is 38 lb.

  77. I bought a Herm Spengler for my 3 year old 100lb. Lab. Instantly what a difference, no pulling, no zig zag walking. Very pleased with the purchase and have recommended it to other dog owners.

  78. Thank you for a very informative article. I want to share a story about a prong collar and how it changed my life. I rescued Shadow, a black Newfoundland, many years ago, that was when I was introduced to the prong collar in an obedience class I took with Shadow.
    Shadow was a big big dog, who loved everyone and everything. He had good manners (or so I thought) and was very very love able. After I brought him home I tried to take him for walks but he would literally drag me down the street at a pretty fast pace. Being rather small in size at 5’ he darn near out weighed me so it was nearly impossible for me to stop him. I knew that I had to learn how to control him if I wanted to be able to walk him without it being a dangerous task. I signed us up for an obedience class. During the first class Shadow had his own agenda and set out to personally meet and greet every student in the class. He wouldn’t listen to me or the instructor at all. After class the instructor told me that she would bring a collar to the next class that should help with him and asked that I come a little early so she could show me how to use it. She brought to class a prong collar and instructed me how to fit it and how to use it. That collar changed the way Shadow behaved in an instant. Needless to say Shadow and I were able to participate in class and he wasn’t the class clown he was in the first class. We finished the class and we both learned so much from it. Shadow received an award at the end of the class for Most Improved. He was really a wonderful dog that I wouldn’t have enjoyed with out that collar. I whole heartedly believe the prong collar can change people’s and dogs lives.

  79. Thanks for this article. We have two dogs, both staffies, that are really bad on the leash. One just pulls excessively while the other is actually more reactive on the leash. For instance, our sweet River does so well with other dogs and people at the dog park, but once she’s on the leash she’s much more reactive. We were working with a purely positive trainer for a while, who was really great, but when it came to real-world practice out and about it was still nearly impossible for me to get my dogs’ attention with just treats when they saw something they wanted to go after, usually a squirrel but sometimes a friendly neighbor. We could tell it was simply because their want to chase after whatever they saw was stronger than their want for treats. And although I knew they were just barking and pulling because they wanted to investigate and make friends, staffies barks tend to be quite scary, which I’m sure intimidate my neighbors. Every interaction made me terrified someone would try to get our dogs kicked out of the neighborhood, especially since staffies are technically “dangerous”. I knew that if we kept at it, eventually the dogs would figure it out and be better behaved, but the fear of losing our pups made me feel we didn’t have the time to be patient.

    Recently we were able to do a board and train with an old coworker of mine for a very reasonable price and she told us that she combines positive and negative reinforcements in her training. For her leash training she starts with a slip leash but if a dog is particularly difficult she’ll switch to the prong collar. She said doing this just makes the training go faster, which is helpful since she only has the dogs for a limited amount of time. The prong collar would be a way to inform the dogs that they have to pay attention to you when you say rather than when they find convenient. Initially I was not crazy about this, especially since our previous trainer was purely positive and I thought that’d be best, but her reasoning made sense to me since it was clear our dogs did not care about the treats in our hands when they saw something they wanted more.

    I’m still a little nervous about it, which is why I’m doing more research on prong collars before I buy one to continue their training for when they come home. It’s especially discouraging because most articles I’m reading argue against prong collars. But after reading your points and the testimonies of other people here, I feel a little more confident that I can find a safe and humane way of using this tool when doing further training. Thanks!

    1. Sarah, I totally understand your hesitation. But I urge you to give it a try, as you’ve read by all the comments below, the prong collar can be life changing. Have your new trainer help you make sure the fit is correct and you will be well on your way to having peaceful walks again.

  80. We rescued a 14 month old, 80 pound, muscular, untrained male doberman and walks with him were impossible. In addition to pulling, he’d often suddenly and without notice, take off after a bird, a blowing leaf or just a mailbox post that looked appealing. As sweet as he is, I ended up on the ground numerous times and my husband was tired of having his arm yanked in the wrong direction. We tried everything, several different harnesses, chokers, e-collar… he’d refuse to allow us to even put an Easy-walker or Gentle Leader on him, we’d have to chase him and then wrestle with him before we’d even get out the door. We pull out the prong collar and he come and sits patiently for us to put it on..he’s excited knowing he’s going for a walk. I swore I’d never use a prong, they are cruel, I thought. But when it came down to either his discomfort or my injuries I agreed to try it. I think he’s smart enough to realize that he’s in control, if he doesn’t pull, his collar is comfortable for him. We’ve been using a Ray Allen Brand, the prongs go only partially around his neck/the collar. Also, we wear a 2″ wide flat collar on our Dobe with the prong so that the prong stays high on his neck where it belongs. I may look into a Herm Sprenger. Thank you for this article!

    1. What a great story Donna, thank you for sharing. It is so much better to be able to walk your dog without the worry of being pulled to the ground! I get it, I thought the prong collar was cruel at first too, but quickly learned it’s the exact opposite. It’s cruel not to be able to walk your dog.

    2. This has been our experience with all three of our rescued dogs as well. So happy that your tool worked out for you and your dobie.

  81. We are the first time adoptive fur parents of a Yellow Lab Mix. Our previous 2 dogs were Chocolates so we knew what to expect in regards to energy levels and exercise needs. We were lead to believe that our Bear was leash trained. Great, checked that off the list. Ummmm not so fast. We tried for 3 weeks to loose leash train w/ the Easy Walk harness employing techniques learned w/ our last dog Jackson’s dog coach. Until Jackson was 10 or so and slowing down did he really walk loose leash style even with a Gentle Leader head collar. Every walk we took Bear was pulling me so hard no matter what I tried and sadly, I was seriously considering returning him to the shelter. I contacted a reputable local trainer who I met at a local park the next day. She introduced me to the idea of using a prong collar as a training tool which I initially had strong concerns about having never seen one in use and having just lost a dog to laryngeal damage issues. She fitted the prong collar and leashed him and literally within MINUTES he was no longer lunging or pulling even though there were loud cars, people, and other dogs coming and going around us. I was overjoyed when I was handed the leash and he did so for me as well!! I followed her to the nearest pet store and purchased a Sprenger prong collar and she fitted it properly for us and instructed me in how to apply it. This was the same store I had been in days earlier with Bear and could barely hold onto him where he was now sitting next to me at the register!!!! We praised and rewarded him and he was getting it so quickly; finally!! I have walked him w/ the prong collar here at home several times since our session and he is not pulling or lunging. My energy is much more calm and I sense his is as well. (It is really hard to stay positive and calm when your shoulder and arm are being ripped away from your body!) We look forward to walks now!! My advice would be to give it a try w/ a professional’s guidance to see if it could solve your dog’s leash pulling habit. What have you got to lose?

    1. Thank you Melanie for sharing your story! The more we can share these real-life stories, the more people can realize that the prong collar is not cruel, but a life saving training tool. So glad you found a trainer to guide you! And by the way, love the name Bear, that’s our yellow lab’s name too 🙂

  82. My first dog was a female shepherd-mix rescue and I used a prong collar on her to amazing effect. People would comment on how well-mannered she was on walks and after a few years, I didn’t need the prong collar at all.

    Fast forward to today. I have a 36-pound mini Australian shepherd who is an epic puller and leash reactive to a ridiculous and, I must say, embarrassing degree. I know that he understands what I want him to do when I tell him to walk close and he does it on occasion, but is too wired and easily distracted — even at three years old — to maintain a loose leash.

    When I got him, I vowed to use only positive reinforcement in training, so, rather than use a prong collar again, I tried every other alternative — easy walk, gentle leader, various harnesses and treats. He hates them all — except treats, of course, but they have zero effect on his lunging and pulling.

    I finally bought a Herm Sprenger collar and it was moderately helpful. I say moderately, because he still pulled and lunged somewhat.

    Then, watching YouTube videos last night, I came across Solid K9 Training (Jeff, above in this blog) and discovered that I was using the prong collar ALL WRONG — even on my first dog. I had it too low on the neck and much too loose.

    Now that I understand what I was doing wrong, I have all the confidence in the world that I’ll be able to correct the problem with my mini Aussie and can’t wait to give it a try this afternoon. I am also convinced, after having tried every other “gentle” alternative, that these are a) not effective and b) not kind, because walks with my dog are miserable for us both.

    Do not be afraid to try a prong collar. Watch videos, learn how to use the collar correctly ( I wish YouTube had been around when I trained my first dog in 1995!) and know that the collar is the least likely choice of training tools to hurt your dog.

    I’ll let you know how our first walk goes!

    1. Suzanne, you are the perfect testimony to how the prong collar can actually change you and your dogs lives. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am certain it will help others that are struggling.

  83. I rescued a German Sheppard who is roughly a year old Nov of 2018. He already knew all basic commands, house broken and crate trained. However when it comes to walking on a lease he is a puller and aggressive. I have tried regular collars, a harness, e collar now my last resort is a prong collar. I can only hope that the prong collar helps as I am having a hard time controlling him when people and animals walk within eyesight. I want to be able to enjoy walking him not only within the neighborhood but along trails this summer. At this point it’s stressful just trying to walk for basic excerise and needs. Picking up a prong collar tomorrow. Wish us luck!

  84. Thanks for this info. I have a question about prong collar fit- do the prongs need to go all the way around the neck circumference? Is it normal to have a few inches of chain that don’t have the prongs, and does that work as well? Thanks.

    1. There are different styles of the prong collar. I have only used the style that the prongs go all the way around the neck, so I can’t speak of the effectiveness of the ones that don’t. I would think they would still work as long as you have the collar up high on the neck.

  85. I had a guy ask me yesterday, as my dog and I were riding the bus, why I had a prong collar on him. I asked him “why not?” He went on to tell me “they’re known for breaking dogs’ necks”. I laughed out loud and proceeded to tell him how straight front harnesses cause soft tissue injuries to dogs’ shoulders over time. Gentle leaders and the like can cause serious neck injuries like whiplash. Flat collars can cause tracheal damage. Slip leads and choke collars can do the same and cut off air supply. Plain martingale collars don’t provide the same type of pressure to catch a dog’s attention. I have seen all of those injuries in dogs, and I experimented with many of those tools before I tried the prong.

    Why did I need to try all those tools? Because I adopted a 90 pound dog that, once he settled in, became seriously dog reactive in a city full of dogs that walk their owners and have no manners. Do you want to know why he was riding the bus with me to work? He’s my service dog now. A couple years of extremely hard work and amazing luck in happening upon a rescue dog with an incredible temperament and work drive, and my goals of having a pet to hike with turned into a lifelong passion for training dogs as a hobby and advocating for responsible dog ownership.

    I have since gone on to do board and train with dogs on the side, have taken in numerous problematic foster dogs and trained them for easier placement, and intend to continue doing both so that I can help dog owners and their dogs live calmer, happier lives. I have yet to see a dog injured by normal use of a prong collar (of course I only use Herm as well. And dogs can be abused even without physical contact, so I’m leaving out cases of abuse here). I hope that this informed guy and the other bus passengers who heard what I had to say stop to think about what they’re doing with their dogs and realize that my success is due to learning how to use a prong. Most people won’t dedicate themselves enough and likely don’t have the right dog for this extreme of a transformation, but they can accomplish a lot more if they tried!

    1. Lauren, thank you so much for sharing your story. It is so inspiring, it brought tears to my eyes. And thank you for all you do. Taking in and training foster dogs takes a very special person! You are truly saving lives.

  86. Hello, while I don’t have a prong collar yet (getting one from work soon) I greatly appreciate your article. I thought it was very well written and informative but also not an ‘any other method is terrible’. The kennel I work at is very much 50% training, 50% the tools you use. We have dogs in training classes with prong collars, slip collars, harnesses… everything. I support so much the keep working till you find something that actually works, and make sure you know how to use it before using it. I think that’s what gets so many people especially with e-collars or prong/choke collars, they just get it thinking it will be a quick fix and have no idea how to use it. Keep doing what you are doing 🙂

    1. Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Hannah, Thank you so much for your message. I can’t agree more. There are no quick fixes, and training is not a one time and done type of thing. Training is a life long learning experience, for dogs and humans!

  87. Hi, I have a 90 lb intact lab that I adopted a week ago. He came out of two regular collars so I get a herm sprenger. I see you have recommended a few times to use a carabiner and I don’t know what you mean. Could you post a video or picture of what you are recommending to do?
    Thank you

  88. When my German Shepherd was very young she had a lot of behavior issues and I was worried she would grow up to become an aggressive dog. I signed up for obedience classes at a well known and reputable training center in our area and they recommended and explained prong collars to us. Once I started using a prong collar on my girl (along with the time commitment of training!), she completely changed. I was stunned how quickly her behavior improved once I started using the prong collar! I had held out at first because I was skeptical, but as I said, once I started using the prong collar it was like night and day!
    I still use it, especially on walks and it helps her not pull too hard and injure her neck. It also helps me correct her and keep her focused.
    A word of caution though…if you do use one expect criticism from others. I have been lectured by multiple people and even had someone who found my dog once remove the collar and refuse to give it back. Unfortunately, people really just don’t understand these collars and that they can actually help prevent damage or injury, and help owners bond and communicate better with their dogs.

  89. We just started with a trainer for our 16wk Lab/Shepherd puppy that uses the Herm S prong collar.
    Although it is of course immediately effective, I fear he’ll go back to jumping, etc when not wearing it.
    (Thank you for posting that video!)

  90. I have a 150lbs St Bernard mix, I can’t walk her she is stronger then me. Will a prong collar help?
    Anyone else has used it on large dogs?

    1. Yes it will help you a lot! When we adopted our 95 lb lab, he had no leash manners at all. When used correctly the prong collar will immediately stop your dog from pulling you. Make sure you buy the Herm Sprenger brand I recommend. Not all prong collars are created equal, the cheap versions can have sharp points and break. I recommend using a carabiniere for a back up just in case the links come apart.

    1. If you use the prong collar correctly and correct your dog BEFORE he takes off for the rabbit, then yes. All dogs will show signals that he is about to lung or go after prey, such as excitement, whining, eye contact, etc. You need to correct the behavior at that point. If you just allow him to pull on the collar and go after the rabbit, it may startle him and if he is sensitive dog, it may correct the behavior. But for a stubborn dog, he may decide the pressure of the prong pulling on his next isn’t enough to not go after the rabbit. If you correct the behavior before he gets into that state of mind, the prong will work.

  91. Am thinking of getting a prong collar for my dog because he recently lunged at a cat he saw and pulled me over. I admit I was not paying full attention to him – was conversing with a neighbor. However, I am afraid of breaking a wrist – or worse; & I have some balance problems. He is only c. 30 lbs., a puggle, but very strong. On walks, sometimes he pulls on leash, other times does not. The pulling can be very tiring – and tiresome. But I don’t want to be cruel, OR injure him. Humane Society, PETA, & SPCA all speak against prong collars. But your points make sense to me.

    1. Hi Dawn, so sorry your pup pulled you over! That is so scary. Many years ago, I had our dog and a foster dog go after another dog when it was icy out and I went flying down on my butt. I did not have prong collars on them, but I am confident if I had, it would never had happened. The prong collar is the opposite of cruel in the right hands. If not used properly, it can be cruel. So make sure to watch the videos in the post about fitting and training. Good luck!

  92. We took our oldest daughter’s Welsh Pembroke Corgi to a trainer. He is a pretty stubborn dog (my understanding is that the breed tends to be that way). He started really being obedient when the trainer put a prong collar on him and she showed him who’s boss with a firm tug or two. He was much better with not pulling for a period of time when I would take him on a walk, but then he went back to his old ways and now pulls like crazy now even with the prong collar. Suggestions?

    1. Are you confident the prong collar is fitted properly? It’s important that the collar is snug around the base of the dogs ears, meaning high up on the neck. If fitting is not the problem, then next review the way you are correcting his pulling, do not pull or nag on the collar, it should always be a quick tug or snap of the collar. If you are consistently pulling the collar he may become numb to any corrections.

  93. I have a ten month old foxhound that I walk daily in the forest for two miles in rugged terrain. I have tried several different collars and leads to stop him from pulling. I want him to walk ahead of me on a 20′-30′ lead along my single file trail. The Halti works great to end the pulling but the lead runs on the ground between his legs so he steps on it. The Thunderleash is clipped on his back so it stays up high where he can’t step on it but he does still pull a bit. It’s better than a choke collar but any pulling gets old on a 2 mile rugged walk. Would a prong collar work on a 20′-30′ lead on a trail? Or must you be on the side of the dog on a short lead? Would the place where the lead clips on end up under the neck and, thus, drag on the ground on a long lead? Thanks!

    1. I’ve never tried a prong collar on anything but a 6′ leash. You wouldn’t have any control at 20+’ The prong is really meant for a quick “snap” of the leash not pulling or nagging on the leash. So I would not recommend the prong in your scenario.

  94. After 3 weeks of work with our 11 month old, highly excitable rescue dog we saw his behavior getting worse and no amount of treats of any kind could get his attention any more. We told our dog trainer all about this today and he introduced us to the prong collar with lots of instruction about how to gently tug the leash with just 2 fingers to get the dogs attention. Results were immediate and wonderful with no signs of distress, only a few sounds of surprise. Our dog seems calmer and more self-controlled and pays more attention than all the treats and tugs and words were able to do. BTW… the trainer only recommended this after understanding the extent of our dog’s A.D.D. personality.
    Thanks for your wonderful training resources.

  95. What appealed to me the most in your blog is when you talked about how safe prong collar dogs are because they can’t damage your dog’s trachea given that they are going to be properly used. This is something that I will be sure to remember because I’m planning to buy handmade dog prong collars for my dogs at home. I want to make sure that they won’t get hurt when using the collars that I will buy for them. Thanks for sharing this.

  96. I guess I am one of those 100% pure positive dog trainers and yes their is a more humane way to train the dog. Time, time is all it takes. You noted that you have used these devices for a quick fix when you need foster dogs to walk along side yours… You also made notes about how to introduce the dog to the prong collar, and with the use of reassuring gestures and being patient with the animal, along side the use of treats… why would the prong collar be needed?
    I do believe it is each to their own, but to me it is still an aversive tool created for people who do not have time to train their dogs without punishment or the consequence of pain.
    Thank you for providing this resource, however nothing would change my mind about it, ever!

    1. For some dogs it is more than just patience. We rescued our pit-lab mix as a puppy and underwent training with him for eight weeks, then again when he was a year old and even had the trainer come to our home to work on specific issues. He has someone home with him 24 hrs a day and has all the love and attention he could want. When we go for a walk he is well behaved- until he isn’t. As a super strong pitty, he can yank a full sized adult over in a half a second to randomly lunge at a person or dog or squirrel. No warning, no rhyme or reason as to when it will occur. If it weren’t for the prong collar, our super sweet 70+lb lapdog would not have been able to stay with us. He responds instantly better when a prong collar is put on him. After 5 years we still must put it on him when in public even though we still do training in private with him frequently to get him to behave on a regular collar. Like I said, he is very well behaved, until he is not. I have never had him so much as attempt to lunge on the prong collar. Sometimes it is NOT the owner, but the dog that needs this collar.

    2. Hi Lesa, I appreciate your feedback and the fact you’ve never needed to use a prong is great. But I also believe that most people that are dead against the prong collar never experienced a dog with any severe reactive behavior issues. The prong collar is not punishment or pain. I heard a trainer once describe the prong collar as “power steering” for dog training, which I think is a great analogy. It’s kinda like tapping your dog on the shoulder to keep his attention on you.

  97. I bought a prong collar for my 12-year-old unfixed rescue dog, pitbull. Worked fine for a month then he saw a dog and jerked And the collar broke and went flying and he attacked the dog. Now what should I do? I bought the collar at Petsmart. I’m a 68-year-old skinny woman I don’t have the strength for this dog and don’t know what to do. Had him two years now he has also been attacked by other stray pitbull’s

    1. Hi Carol, the prong collar is known to come apart at the most inconvenient times. Many trainers suggest using a carabiner to connect the prong to the collar. It’s important to check that all links are secure before putting on your dog. I’ve noticed several times that ours become lodged and aren’t connected all the way, leading to it easily being able to break apart when the dog pulls. I highly recommend following a couple of trainers online: https://www.facebook.com/MajorsAcademyDogTraining/ and https://www.facebook.com/SolidK9TrainingRI/ both of these trainers offer a lot of free advice. I would also suggest finding a good behaviorist trainer in your area that can help you one on one.

    2. Carol, good professional dog trainers ALWAYS recommend a back up collar for a prong collar. It is like an airbag, you hope it never has to deploy, but when you need, it better be there!

    3. Also, as the author mention, there are huge differences in the quality of a Pet Smart pinch collar and a Herm Sprenger (the recommended brand)

    1. Hi Beverly, Yes you can use a prong collar on a short face dog. Just remember, the collar needs to be high up on the dogs neck, just below the ears. If you find that it’s not working because of the lack of a “neck” try using a slip lead.

  98. I have a 120 lb Great Dane Mastiff mix. He is a rescue who was only 77 lbs when he came to live with me. He eventually started showing extreme aggression towards dogs including my other two rescues. I even sustained a back injury when he took off after a dog on a walk. I was on the verge of having to give him up when I was introduced to the Herm Springer. It literally saved his life. I use to think they were cruel but now I believe they are an invaluable training tool especially for adult rescue dogs with no previous leash training.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story Darci! I am so happy you found a way to change the path of you and your dogs life. There is certainly a lot of misconception around the prong collar, and I feel the only way that will change is when people have a dog like yours and experience how it can be such an invaluable training tool. Thank you for saving a dogs life!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}