Teaching a dog to walk on leash is usually a top priority for most masters. It’s one of the most common activities taught at an early stage in a dog’s life especially when brought home as a puppy. A common challenge for many is that the dog pulls on leash which can cause injury to the person as well as the dog depending on the outcome. This situation can cause the master to search for a solution to dog pulling like a prong collar and sometimes what they find can mean more trauma for the dog while the master may feel the problem is solved. So many people believe that the gear they use is the solution and will fix whatever problem they are trying end. Dog owners have gone to professional dog trainers to seek advice resulting in buying a prong collar to train their dog believing that it is perfectly fine to use. Some found advise searching on the internet or from friends who may use the prong collar. The first time dog parent may go to the pet store where there is a huge variety of choices and end up purchasing a prong collar. The question is, are prong collars cruel to use? Are they humane?
From My Observation and Research
Everything here that I share is based upon observing people using prong collars on their dogs and seeing the results of some over a long and short period of time. I’ve taken the time to visit sites to research on this topic which validated my own reasoning about using prong collars on dogs. My common sense reasoning is that if something can cause pain or discomfort for me or a child then it isn’t good for any pet.
The Neck Muscle Of A Dog
No matter how muscular a dog’s neck is, the throat is always the same for each dog. If you feel the front of the dog’s neck at the same time feel yours you will notice that they feel the same.
You can do it on a huge muscular man with a big neck or a delicate person with a small neck. That area is equally vulnerable.
Even though a dog’s neck is large and very muscular the front is not is not any more protected than ours. The muscles are on the sides and back of the neck almost joining at the front. But the trachea is easily detected.
Strengthening the neck does little to improve defence against choking techniques as there is no muscle tissue in front of the trachea that can be built up – that part of the anatomy will always be vulnerable to the impact of tugging, yanking, squeezing, and snapping of a collar on leash.
The Prong Collar
The prong collar can add to the trauma of serious injury in my opinion. There are many who agree that prong collar is harmful and then there are some who claim that the the prongs are curved and does not jab or injure the skin and that the dog’s coat protects the skin. I don’t think so!
If we were to put a scarf around our neck with a prong collar the squeeze pressure along with the prongs would be felt. Yes, I tried it. Just pressing one area of the collar can hurt! It’s doesn’t feel good at all! I didn’t like the feeling of the prongs even being in contact with my throat, (trachea).
The injury that can occur from the prong collar
This picture can pretty much speak for itself. I have seen very similar results a few times and it’s very sad. People believe that eventually a dog will get the message and stop pulling. That is not so. Their coat does not protect their skin from damages.
Why does a dog continue to pull if it causes pain?
I’m going to be repeating this particular piece of information on the other posts pertaining to this topic as it can’t be stressed enough.
So, here it goes.
The More You Pull The More The Dog Will Pull
The more you pull on a dog’s leash the more the dog pulls and the situation gets worse. This is because of a natural reaction takes place which is called “oppositional reflex”. This is not a retaliation or bad attitude action. It’s a subconscious reflex where the dog is trying to keep balanced just the same if someone was to pull or push us we would bring lean or strain our body in the opposite direction to remain standing. The dog is doing the same to stay balanced and is not focusing on discipline. A dog does not train or learn under these drama situations.
The dog will continue choking and gagging even if it means dragging their owner or injuring their arm. The dog has no awareness if the master is struggling or screaming from pain which has happened to many. It’s a tug of war of no winners leaving both possibly injured and very frustrated. Even while using a prong collar dogs have continued to pull on the leash. The best thing to do is stop walking and begin walking the opposite direction. During a training session, this would be repeated as many times necessary using a no-pull harness or regular harness.
What If a dog trainer recommends a prong collar
If a dog trainer recommends the use of a prong collar for training or just leash walking, then I would search for someone else. There are professionals who will recommend gear that is gentle. Unfortunately, many trainers and dog parents believe that the prong collars for dogs is the solution to making the dog stop pulling on a leash which is not so.
The dog may obey for the moment because the collar action got his attention and that’s all. If the dog is trained to obey with the prong collar, what will happen when the prong collar is not in use? It’s not uncommon for dogs to pull on a leash with prong collars. Do we want to train our dog to listen based on a collar or to obey us based on our voice command? I think that the use of a prong collar is a lazy and abusive method that only intimidates. Using prong collars do not show skill in training a dog. Prong collars pose a negative emotion between the trainer and the dog with much greater chances of causing neck a neck injury.
Training with Gentleness is the positive approach
If the dog is trained with kindness a trusting bond will grow and both the trainer and dog will enjoy the sessions. It might take more time because the dog is being trained in a humane manner. The dog will develop the desire to please and follow the commands. All this can be accomplished with love, patience, skill and time. When a dog is trained we have to use our skill in communication with the dog and work on connecting. There is no quick fix in training a dog. Some dogs progress faster than others but none deserve a painful or harsh method.
The Power Of Influence is the Solution
Dogs are like children, treat them with respect. They all want to jump around and play. What do you do to settle them down? Use the power of influence with a positive approach to take charge. We can still be firm and loving at the same time. This will turn into a relationship of working together as a team. Our dogs will be in a calm frame of mind because of the positive gentle treatment rather than the negative fear and pain method.
Using a regular harness or a no pull leash is a very humane tool to train a dog to stop pulling on the leash. You won’t have to worry about any neck injury.
My Three Huskies Are Learning with Gentle Training
I do as I preach. My three huskies are very young from 6 months, 12 months and 15 months old. I train them daily with gentleness but firmness. This breed is known for their stubborn personality but the more gentle I am the bigger the influence. Just recently I had my oldest Alaska out on his 30-foot rope. It was hooked to his regular harness and ready to train. He walks alright but would still put pressure on the leash. The lesson would cover walking on a loose leash. All went well until he saw a bird and bolted after it and continued when it was in flight. I gave the command of, “Alaska Stop!” and with his speed and strength, my feet were air born behind me for a good 3 seconds. Then I slapped landed on the ground like a “flies swatter” as he pulled me another couple of feet. He stopped but only because the bird was gone. Obviously, my command has not been enforced, yet.
Yup, It happened again!
I took flight the second time and I’m not a fan of accumulating “husky air miles.” So I purchased a “no pull harness”. I also hooked the 30-foot rope to an in ground peg along with using a leash hooked to the harness. This way if he does bolt ever again during the training I have the choice of letting go of the leash and letting the rope and harness take the impact. Alaska saw a bird and took a bolt I let go of the leash. The harness did its job and he hasn’t done it again. The message he got was a surprise and got his attention while being risk-free of any injury and humane. After two lessons I can walk him with a loose leash. I will continue to train each dog to keep reinforcing the lessons and for the enjoyment of the bonding.
Consistency is very important along with persistence. I would not have 3 huskies if I didn’t enjoy it. Huskies are very challenging and sometimes they require many repetitions but then once they get it they don’t forget it.
These 3 huskies will learn everything all based on using the harness, positive approach with eye contact, emotional connection and a lot of visual commands. Most of all it takes time, love and patience. A beautiful bond is formed and the dogs look forward to the sessions which make everything progressive. The dogs are happy and I am too.
Using your voice rather the pain tactic
A dog that has been trained with a prong collar may not obey without that collar. He may associate that collar with following commands. Will he only obey while it is being used?
Wouldn’t it be more reassuring that your dog obeys your voice and your actions? A dog deserves to be trained with kindness and rewards.
The trainer/master needs to be the solution and the influence which means having full control of your companion. Training a dog to obey the command of your voice and body language is the highest level of dog training a person can accomplish. This level of training involves gentle gear such as the harness and leash which are only tools, not the solution.
The “Free Will” Benefit
Training your dog with the positive approach in keeping the leash loose will give you the best results in every sense of the word. Does it make sense to force a dog through fear, pain, or intimidation to perform a command and then reward them after? How can you bond with negative
treatment? It’s such a good feeling to have a dog trained and not have to worry about any struggling from pulling. I like to train my dogs so that they can be trusted walking on leash with a child or senior.
Like a child, repetition is going to be necessary. The dog may respond quicker to some commands than others. Time and patience are the only key to succeeding.
There is such thing as convincing a dog to do something without harsh treatment. When a dog willingly follows through a command with kindness it can be a sure sign that he will be trusted in the future.
Wouldn’t you like to have confidence that your dog will comply with your voice command and visual signs?
When your dog strays away or makes an attempt to pull away suddenly and he obeys your voice command that is free will. It gives you and your dog freedom of worry because your dog listens to your voice and body language. You as the master are relying upon yourself and a gentle tool such as the no pull harness. Your method and approach is the solution while the harness is a tool.
Your dog will be motivated to please you for a positive reason and will obey you with respect rather than fear. Your dog will be more confident with a healthy mentality.
Using a gentle harness means No Invisible Neck Injuries. You won’t have to worry about your dog hiding pain and then having to deal with it in the future. It could mean avoiding unexpected vet expenses. Be proactive and protect your dog from neck injuries and use a harness for leash walking and training.
A no pull harness gently discourages the dog from pulling on the leash. The harness rests across the dogs’ chest rather than the throat which eliminates any cause of choking or gagging. The harness redirects your dog’s attention towards the master by steering him left or right.
So once again, I recommend using a “no pull harness” or a regular harness depending on the size and level of the dog’s strength in pulling. Just remember that the harness and leash are not the solutions to stop the dog from pulling. The harness and leash are the tools and the trainer needs self-discipline and patience to train the dog.
The Positive Method of motivation Between The Dog and The Master is the Solution
Now you must be wondering how to train a dog to stop pulling once you have the proper leash and harness. I’m working on that article.
Please feel free to leave your comment and story below. It’s always valuable to read other views and experiences.
Keep talking to your dog and use a harness.