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Please really think twice before using a prong collar!

OK I know I am beating this topic to death, but just this week I have had 4 cases of aggression that have developed after prong collar use.

Four in a week is too many. I know people call it “power steering” of dog training but please think about your dogs personality before using it.

Dogs have different “drives”, and if their defense fight drive is the highest of the main 4 (defense fight, defense flight, prey, and pack) you are at risk for an aggressive dog later on.

If a trainer or friend recommends using a prong, please make sure you know how high their defense fight drive is before using it.

Two of the cases this week, the dogs had no aggression prior to use of the prong. Both had taken a class and the instructor recommended a prong to make walking easier. Both after a few months started to get mouthy with their owners and with time started biting harder to the point of leaving bruises or wounds, and correcting the owners when corrected for bad behaviors. Both of these dogs had a good foundation and the owners tried to hire other trainers to help them get through the aggression that developed later. But their defense fight was high and they never stopped using the prong collars. I have trained dogs with a very high defense fight drive without a prong and they have not shown more aggression in the years that pass. It is possible to train a dog to walk calmly on leash without a prong collar, but you must understand the different drives in a dog.

The other two cases showed nervousness and fear, around other dogs in a basic class and again the instructors recommended prong collars to “control” their walks. They were not aggressive towards other dogs but had equal defense fight and flight drives. This caused them to become more aggressive as the months went on, to a point where they are now lunging at other dogs, and redirecting their aggression on their owners. Everytime they “backed up” from a dog or situation they were afraid of, they were biten by the collar. Naturally they put the two together and started to go into their defense fight drive when frightened.

In all of the above cases, proper understanding of drives and leash training in a different technique could have stopped the loss of bite inhibition and redirected aggression. If the instructor you are using solely prefers prongs, I would recommend researching another class. Again please do some research on how high your dogs drives are before considering the use of a prong. Make sure the instructor understands the different drives in dogs before you rely on the “wonder tool” of the training business. It will make your life easier and your dog much happier.

Tara, Brandie, Amanda & the “pack”

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