by Griffin & Mariana Mekelburg, LARPBO Trainers (Feb 25 2016)
Let’s talk prong (or pinch) collars —
There is a lot of controversy and misconception around this tool because a lot of people do not know how to properly use and fit one. It is critical to fit prong collars correctly and that’s what we’ll go over in this article.
There are different sized links when looking to purchase a prong collar: small, medium, large and extra large. We’ve noticed people have a tendency of buying the large or extra large for their medium sized dogs. A lot of times you cannot fit the collar correctly because the links are way too big for your dog’s neck size. If you add one it will be too loose; if you take one off, it’ll be too tight. You want to make sure you’re buying a size appropriate prong collar so it can be properly used.
Save any extra link to replace links that may be bent, which makes the links to easily pop off.
Rounded tips are more comfortable for your dog. We find that Herm Sprenger prong collars have smoother, rounded tips than other brands we’ve compared. We sell Herm Sprenger prong collars at our class locations. When you purchase from us, one of the trainers will help you fit it for your dog!
Fitting for Proper Use
Where most people err is having a slack fit. From our experience, people tell us a properly snug prong collar makes them nervous. They feel as if it is choking their dog and wrongfully add another link to loosen it. But when loose, the collar hangs down low on the dogs neck which results in the collar not working the way that it was designed to work. A slack fit means your dog is at risk for injury because then the prong collar is constantly slamming on your pup’s trachea instead of offering the proper correction.
The collar should be snug and stay at the top of the dog’s neck, behind the ears. It should be resting on the pup’s neck in place without it moving around or pinching.
Putting it On
A lot of people try and put a prong collar over their dog’s head and then moving it down to the bottom of the neck. However, prong collars are designed to be put on and taken off by unhooking the links. You’ll need to pinch one of the links and pull it apart to take it off. There are prong collars that have a quick release and you won’t have to pinch the links to put your collar on and off if you prefer.
Backing it Up (this is not optional)
You may notice there are two rings on the collar, one is called the “live ring” and the other “dead ring” (or O ring). The live ring is what you attach to your leash. The dead ring is used to back up your prong collar with a carabiner. Attach the carabiner to the dead ring and to the flat collar.
It is highly important that you ALWAYS back up your collar. If the prong collar opens, you want to make sure your furry friend stays by you instead of running free.
The correction should be just a quick pop on the leash. Do not yank on the leash or keep pressure on it to get your dog’s attention. Yanking or too much pressure will harm your dog.
We’re Here to Help
If you are in the Los Angeles area, stop by our class locations to speak to our trainers. We will gladly help you fit your dog for a prong collar. Join us in class and we can instruct you on proper correction. You can find our class details here.