Prong collar and other leash techniques, are the safe or should they be banned?

Border collie enjoying freedomI have recently met a few shady dog trainers that advocate negative training techniques that claim all tools (regardless of how much pain in the hands of the inexperienced) should be accessible to the general public.

One of these ‘trainers’ is also advocating there should be NO restrictions on dog breeds in any country. Don’t know where you stand on this, but some breeds that were bred to rip apart large game animals should not be allowed in urban areas. Councils cant control ownership and usually police have to clean up the end result, a dog or human death.

I am not going to mention breeds, but some dogs are almost universally banned already, and its because of their potential and reason they were bred, not because everyone of their breed is a killer.

Back to the dog collar prong story.

Some trainers will tell you that this is essential for almost all of their red zone or nearly red zone dogs.

The fact is that in the hands of very good trainers, who are saving a dog from death row, it might be the last chance tool.

Unfortunately there are a whole lot of not very well qualified (or completely unqualified) dog ‘trainers’ out there that will use pronged collars and shock devices as the first choice.

Their story will be that the dog is big, uncontrollable, a danger to everyone. Makes you wonder whey they can’t train these dogs in safer environments?

The answer is that of course they can, but they are either not confident with more positive training tools or they are on a schedule. Can the average trainer spend 100 hours on a single dog, when the dog owners dont have the money to pay for that kind of time?

This is the quandary for such devices in an unregulated industry. It is up to the trainer to convince the owner that whatever tool they are going to use is the  ‘right one’.  that if they dont use the tool, their dog will not get better and will probably be put down.

The issue with this of course, is that if a dog trainer brings around a severely aggressive dog, or one that does very dangerous things around other dogs or people, will the owners ever be able to fully trust their dog?  Of course one solution is to lock their dog up in the back yard forever, and that is often what people with ‘dangerous’ dogs do, once the law has been brought in, and once a dog trainer has had their go.

This then means that a powder keg of a dog is sitting in the back yard, bored out of its brain, getting less social and just waiting to bite or kill something in retribution or fear.   This is not the natural state of dogs, and it is a shame that dogs that are very powerful are put in this horrible situation, but not every owner has the skill time and effort to look after a dog that a dog trainer has to put a dog prong collar or e collar on.

Do I advocate prong collars for uses on dogs. Yes, in the hands of a very specialized trainer, as last resort. Is this how the prong collar is usually used? Sadly no, it is well over used, sometimes as a full time collar on dogs.  This pain will usually result in neck scaring and mental scaring on dogs that will lead to less social dogs locked behind gates.

If you have a trainer who recommends a prong collar. Check out their references, talk to the other owners and be around your dog when the trainer is using the device, if you are not comfortable with what they are doing, stop and get a new trainer.

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