Let’s Talk About… the Prong Collar. Facts, not emotions:
The prong, or pinch, collar was first patented by Herm Sprenger in the late 1800s, and the design has evolved over the decades with improved knowledge, experience, and materials. It should be noted that Herm Sprenger (*not* “Springer”) are one of only a very small handful of prong collar manufacturers that reputable trainers recommend, and arguably the best.
The collar itself:
The individual prongs themselves are angled in and blunt at the ends, NEVER sharp. They are not designed to stab like a needle, or injure the dog. Due to the mechanical design, pressure is distributed evenly around the neck, and this pressure is felt far more readily than that of a choke/check chain, or flat collar. Ergo, less pressure is required to be used by the handler. This is particularly useful for handlers who have strength or mobility issues, or who have very large dogs. Also important to observe is that there is a martingale chain that connects each side of the collar, which prevents the collar from tightening excessively or dangerously, as can happen with a choke or check chain that is not used appropriately.
The mechanics of the collar, as explained by a mechanical engineer:
F = force applied by the handler.
FA, FB, FC etc = force applied on dog’s neck. The tip exerts the force in opposite direction of pull. This is because of the lever effect created by the fulcrum (shown in the red circle).
Now the important part: anatomy, not physics.
A dog’s neck is sensitive at the throat and strong at the side and back. FE is force applied at neck and FB & FC are force applied on side of neck.
Now FA = F cos (angle made by FA and F); similarly, FB, FC etc. If you look at a trigonometry book, the greater the angle between F and the direction of resultant force (FA, FB etc), the lesser is the force. So you can see the force on the neck/throat is almost zero. And the force on the side of neck is almost equal to what you apply.
Please do bear in mind that this post is about the science behind the prong collar – not your *feelings*. If you don’t like this particular tool, it’s pretty simple: don’t use it. But also bear in mind that, if you haven’t ever used it, then your opinion of it is based on nothing more than emotion and/or hearsay. If you are triggered by this post, ask yourself why – based on *fact* :-)
And finally, always please remember: TOOLS DON’T TRAIN DOGS; TRAINING TRAINS DOGS! If your trainer puts one of these on your dog to “teach it to walk nicely to Heel”, I would suggest firing them and finding a trainer who understands how to teach Handler Awareness, the Step Sit, and actually train the dog. If your dog will only walk to Heel when it is wearing equipment (of any kind), it’s not trained :-)
Thank you for reading!