“Hey, you look bored! Let’s play ball. I love to play ball!”
Q: “Someone told me the other day that my dog’s pronged collar is abusive because it stabs the dog in the neck, is this true? I don’t want to be hurting my dog.”
A: I want to start off by saying that you are a wonderful dog owner who is trying to do what is in your dog’s best interest. Many times other dog owners, and even some trainers, seem to forget this. As your dog’s guardian, I highly doubt you would be doing anything to your beloved dog if you really felt it was abusive in any way. Do pronged collars cause dogs discomfort? They absolutely do. In fact, that is exactly why they are so effective at stopping leash pulling and why many dog owners continue to purchase and use that type of collar. As a trainer who has built her career on doing fear-free, reward-based dog training, I’m much more partial to training tools that don’t inflict discomfort or pain as the motivation to stop unwanted behavior. Yet, ultimately it is up to the dog (the learner) to decide what they perceive as aversive or punishing. I’ve met many dogs that find wearing head-halters extremely uncomfortable. One could argue that using a head halter on a dog who is stressed is more abusive than using a pronged collar! And that is, overall, the biggest issue right now facing the dog training industry. My answer? Look at the dog! The dog will tell you everything you need to know about how he feels about being trained with certain tools. If a dog doesn’t show repetitive signs of fear or stress during training, then you know you’re on the right track, no matter what people want to say or do. That’s just my opinion, of course!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
› Dee Hoult is the owner of Applause Your Paws, South Florida’s largest privately owned pet dog training company. Want to ask Dee a question about your dog? Email [email protected] or send a DM on Instagram @ApplauseYourPaws.