You've probably seen that horrific picture on Facebook. It is cringe-worthy and shameful. Whoever did that to their "pet" should be suitably punished. But the fault is not with the tool; it is with the owner. We use a prong collar with Kane -- and have done for about two months -- and there is absolutely no way that picture represents normal, humane use of a prong collar.
Before we switched to a prong collar, we had tried just about everything (except a choke collar), including a "Halti" collar, which looks like this, and is considered an extremely effective, gentle collar.
It didn't work. With the Halti collar, our trainer still evicted us to the hallway while the other dogs stayed in the classroom. Kane was also wearing that collar when he spun me like a whirling Dervish. And I had been using treats for positive reinforcement; they made no difference.
With the prong collar, he behaved himself almost immediately.
I'll be honest. He doesn't like putting it on. It fits snugly up behind his ears and below his jaw, and sometimes he flexes to enlarge his neck, making it harder to put on. But once it's on, he completely relaxes and thoroughly enjoys his walk.
|Not a great photo - the focus is in the wrong spot - but it shows his joy while out on today's walk.|
The prong collar has been a key part of helping Kane integrate into this family, his forever home. Without it, he would get many fewer walks (I was about to give up on walking him myself -- it was too scary!) and be a much less happy dog than he is. And he is a very happy, very much loved dog. (Even when he was terrible on his walks, he was much loved.)
The dog in the inflammatory image had been abused. He'd likely been wearing the prong collar non-stop and probably on a tether outdoors. It was not being used as a training tool. It is not reasonable to draw broad conclusions from that misuse of prong collars.
My point is this: we should be cautious about signing a petition or spreading a viral message based on a single picture. Banning a product is not the solution; appropriate use and by-laws are.
Not every dog needs them, but for those that do, they can be a godsend. Speaking from experience.