Don’t Fool Yourself

I have recently had the experience of interacting on one level or another with people who have a desire to be dog trainers, professionally. It never ceases to amaze me how they seek out instruction, and with no backgound to speak of, have already formulated strongly held opinions about training methods. They have never had to meet a payroll or so much as pay a single bill as a business person in the dog business, and they have a visceral, emotional reaction to somethig like a pinch collar or e-collar, as a tool for training. It’s like taking a car to a mechanic because you have no skill in that area, and then proceeding to tell them which tools they are allowed to use!

The FACT is, that pinch collars are safer than chokes or nylon chokes, or head halters. Here are the results from the study done in Germany comparing choke collars and Prong Collars. Reference:

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.

There are 2 other famous articles by acclaimed trainer Suzanne Clothier, debunking the myths that prong collars are dangerous, and as well that the ever popular head halters for dogs are "gentle" training tools (they do nothing for training and are not gentle). She explaines the differences in head and neck structure between dogs and horses, to explsin why in the case of a horse it is a safe tool, but in the case of dogs they are generally the WORST tool to use, and the most dangerous! But people will believe what they think and not what they know. Ms. Clothier’s articles can be accessed with a free registration at: 

Registration is quick and free, and she has a lot of good, thoughtful resources on there in addition to the ones I mentioned.

I suppose the bottom line is that people believe bullshit because they are so scared of reality, it is an easy way to hide from it. We have been training both police dogs and pet dogs using prong collars, literally thousands of dogs since Tarheel Canine opened in October of 1994, and not one, I repeat not one traumatic injury was caused by a prong collar being used. However, we have had countless dogs come to the facility, choking and weasing because their tracheas are literally collapsed or partically collapsed because of the trauma inflicted by choke chains, and yet because of the way a prong collar looks, we that use these devices are the ones on the defensive.

In Part 2 of this rant you will see my response to an interview questions from the Signature K9 Blog our preferred equipment manufacturer. This is reprinted with forgiveness begged, not permission….