Is it cruel to use a prong collar or e-collar when training a dog? And what are they exactly?
First, what is a prong Collar? A prong collar (also called pinch collar) is a series of chain links with open ends turned towards the dog’s neck so that, when the collar is tightened, it pinches the naturally loose skin around the dog’s neck. When properly adjusted and used, it startles the dog and gives a sharp correction, but it is very difficult if not impossible to actually puncture the skin. And while it looks painful, it’s actually less harmful to the dog than a slip or choke collar. Opponents argue that pain is never a good default way in which to train animals. Some dogs are nearly oblivious to leash corrections of any kind, but the prong collar might make such dogs pay more attention than milder collar types. The advantage of the prong collar over the choke collar is that the circumference is limited so that it is impossible to compress the animal’s throat. Another advantage is that any pressure on the dog’s neck is spread out over a larger area than with most buckle collars, and with all choke chains.
The prong collar itself is not a cruel device to use on any dog, so long as it is used properly during training. As with anything, there are opportunities for any training method to be used in a cruel and inhumane fashion. The collar should only be worn when the owner is actively training the dog. If left on, the collar can hurt the dog if it were to become tangled or caught on something. Prong collars are used solely for correction during training and should not be used in any other way. If you suspect someone of purposefully using the prong collar to hurt their dog, please contact your local officials immediately.
Study of prong collars in Germany
(Information about study taken from an Anne Marie Silverton Seminar)
- 100 dogs were in the study. 50 used choke and 50 used prong.
- The dogs were studied for their entire lives. As dogs died, autopsies were performed.
- Of the 50 which had chokes, 48 had injuries to the neck, trachea, or back. 2 of those were determined to be genetic. The other 46 were caused by trauma.
- Of the 50 which had prongs, 2 had injuries in the neck area, 1 was determined to be genetic. 1 was caused by trauma.
Second, what is an E-Collar? An e-collar is wireless collar that a dog wears around his neck that is operated by the dog handler who uses a hand held transmitter. These collars have developed into a much better design with new technology over the past 25 years. The remote collars of today allow the handler to change the level of stimulation at the transmitter. Years ago this was not possible; the stimulation level had to be changed on the collar. Some models of e-collars even have a vibration button and there is no stimulation associated with this button. There are two buttons on the transmitter carrier by the owner the continuous and nick button. The continuous button on a collar provides continuous stimulation for a limited period of time. Every e-collar has an internal cut off at about 8 to 10 seconds. This means you can hold the continuous button down but the collar will only provide stimulation for 10 seconds and then it stops. The nick button only provides a very quick stimulation (less than 1/2 of 1 second) and is a very effective tool. When the training is done correctly the nick button is used far more than the continuous button on the collar. The dog wears the remote collar receiver on his neck that is attached to a collar. The receiver varies in size according to the model and the manufacturer. The collar has metal probes that can vary in length. These probes must make contact with the dog’s skin so there are longer probes if the dog has a lot of fur. The dog owner carries a wireless transmitter which also varies in size, depending on the model and manufacturer. The transmitter sends a radio signal to the receiver on the dog’s neck. E-collars have the potential to inflict pain but when the e-collar is used correctly the training is done with “low level stimulation.” These are levels that a lot of people may not even be able to feel, or if they do feel the stimulation it’s more of a tickle. With this said, just like the prong collar, every training tool has the potential to be used incorrectly. In fact e-collars (electric collars) have a bad reputation because of abusive trainers not using the collars the way they are intended to be used. If you have always trained your dog while they are on leash when released off leash there is a good chance they will not listen because the associate the leash to controlling them. Also if you give commands off leash and are not enforcing them you are teaching your dog to ignore you off leash. This is one of the most common mistakes trainers make; they take the leash off before the dog is fully trained. The e-collar is a great tool for this, but do not fall into the trap of taking it off too quickly to test your dog. Always have your dog wear it if you plan on using it and make it just part of your dog’s routine. In other words you do not leave your house door unlocked to see if someone will break in, you always lock it to prevent anything bad from happening. Here is a great video on e-collars by leerburg.com http://leerburg.com/318.htm. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions please email us at email@example.com.