Choke and Prong Dog Training Collars & Their Effects on Behavior
Choke and prong dog training collars were originally developed as dog training tools.
These dog training collars provide a painful physical consequence if your dog pulls or lunges on the leash.
Many dog trainers, aren’t fond of choke and prong dog training collars because there are less risky, pain-free tools available. Yet, for the sake of objectivity, they can work on certain dogs. Some dogs respond instantly to a physical consequence and when a timely, physical correction is provided, the behavior exhibited at the time of correction stops immediately. If these collars are going to work, they will work within a day or two and then the collar should be removed. If your dog has not changed their behavior in this time frame, the collar is not working for your dog!
Choke and prong dog training collars do not teach your dog how to walk on a loose leash, they only keep your dog from pulling while he is actually wearing the collar. Why is this important? If you do not teach your dog the behavior of not pulling, you’ll have to use the choke or prong collar for the rest of the dog’s life.
Any collar that tightens or provides concentrated pressure points on the dog’s throat can cause physical injury. Serious and irreversible injury is common in dogs that wear these collars long-term and continuously strain on the leash. The throat and neck are quite sensitive, and scar tissue quickly develops from repeated bruising of the muscles and ligaments. Scar tissue deadens feeling in the area.
Dogs lose their sensitivity when this occurs and can literally choke or receive puncture wounds before they feel the pain of their actions. Aside from the choking risk, permanent damage is evidenced in labored or noisy breathing, a “goose-honk” cough, and frequent dry coughing. Many dogs will suffer a collapsed trachea from these collars.
It does not take a lot of pressure to sustain an injury of this magnitude. Allowing a device to physically punish your pet in the presence of children or other animals can quickly create fear resulting in child-aggressive and dog-aggressive animals. Once learned, both behaviors are enormously challenging to unlearn.
Clinical studies have shown that the use of some dog training collars INCREASES the negative behaviors owners are trying to correct and CREATES new problems which are substantially worse then a dog pulling on leash. Dogs learn by association. If they’re wearing a choke or prong collar, which provides painful corrections, they can associate the object they see or the environment they’re in at the time of correction as the source of their pain. If your dog pulls or lunges when another dog approaches, their collar tightens up, providing a painful correction. In a short period of time, your dog can become conditioned to react negatively every time he sees another dog.
When you apply the psychology, it looks like this: see another dog = get excited = pain = fearful or aggressive response. Here’s the risk- the next time your dog sees another dog he’s going to become fearful and may likely offer an aggressive response designed to scare the other dog away before it causes him to get hurt again.
This formula applies to any other object or situation in which the dog is being corrected. The American Veterinary Board of Animal Behavior offers this valuable handout for dog owners on the use of punishment and its risks. AVSAB Punishment Statement
Teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash is easier than you may think and eliminates the need to use painful collars. While your dog is learning to walk on a leash, our dog trainers recommend using the Easy Walk or Freedom harness. These tools are pain-free for your pet, eliminate pulling, and allow you to change your pet’s problem behavior without the risk of increasing it. Like all dog training tools, these are intended for temporary use. The best choice is to train your dog to walk properly on a leash, and a professional dog trainer is your best tool for that.
©Paws in Training 2009
The goal of all dog training is to provide peaceable solutions to everyday problems so that pets and their owners live harmoniously. Paws in Training provides dog and cat training services in Raleigh, Apex, Holly Springs, Cary, Fuquay Varina and Garner, N.C.