A pronged collar may look cruel or frightening at first glance, but the reality is that they are both effective and humane. Pronged collars are designed to pinch the loose skin around the neck of the dog when pulled tight, or “snapped”. This sensation, while painful, does not injure or harm the dog in any way. In fact, it may even resemble the pinching and nipping that the leaders of packs in the wild naturally use to promote their dominant role. This is a sensation that dogs instinctively expect, and is a far cry from the strange, frightening and stressful sensation created by alternative training tools, such as an electric shock collar.
When using a pronged collar, it is important that guidelines be followed in order to prevent injury to the dog, or breaking of the collar. Firstly, a pronged collar is intended only to be used during training sessions, and should always be removed at the end of a session. Unlike slip collars, or flat collars, a pronged collar should be bought by the required size and strength of the pronged links rather than by length. Pronged collars are intended to be shortened or lengthened to fit snugly around the neck of the dog by adding or removing links. To place a pronged collar on a dog, unhook one of the links and wrap the collar around the neck of the dog. Make sure the collar is placed high on the neck, just behind the ears and under the jaw. Close the collar by reattaching the previously detached link, ensuring a snug fit. If the collar does not stay in place, or falls low on the neck, it is too loose! Rotate the collar so that the rings to attach the leash are on the right side of the neck. To detach the collar, simply unhook one of the links by squeezing together the prongs and gently pulling the links apart.
Many pronged collars come with two rings with which to attach a leash. By using only the outer-most ring, you provide a degree of slack and lessen the impact of the snap. You can remove the slack for a more immediate response by using both rings. In the case of a pronged collar breaking or opening during training, many handlers use a flat collar, or slip collar as a backup to the pronged collar. However, you should ensure that the backup collar does not interfere with the mechanic of the pronged collar.