AdventuresLola Love

The Dog Collar Debate

The Collar Debate - prong, martingale, harness...what's right!? www.lolathepitty.com

Bringing up the use of prong collars in a room full of dog lovers is pretty much like bringing up politics at Thanksgiving dinner…

I’m not even kidding. Have you ever seen the Facebook arguments that result from someone using a prong collar on their dog?

Here is what I’ve found with my experience using different types of dog collars with Lola and Rio.

  • Martingale – this is a great choice for the dog that just needs a light correction. This is what we walk Rio on.
  • Harnesses – There are probably 100 different types. The only harness that we’ve found that prevents pulling completely is the Easy-Walk harness. Downsides: only for walking, otherwise it may rub your dog raw under the front legs. Your dog will also lose range of motion. Then there’s Lola, she slips out of the easy-walk fairly easy (no idea how) when she gets excited.
  • Gentle leader (don’t even get me started). Lola almost rubbed her nose off and caused herself more stress and harm with this option than any of the others.
  • Choke – I would not suggest a choke collar for anyone, especially Lola – she would suffocate herself. A martingale might be better.
  • Prong – Kind of an “instant solution” for the heavy puller. Never wear when playing.

Lola is a puller. A heavy puller. She acts like she is out to compete in a weight pull competition any time a leash is put on her. She is our feisty girl and is full of spunk!

I have found TWO options for Lola’s pulling (UPDATE: we have been working with a trainer and now only use the Freedom No-Pull Harness or the Easy Walk).

The Collar Debate - www.lolathepitty.com

(If you use a prong and have had negativity directed towards you, try this prong collar cover to keep the haters at bay.)

Does Lola need more training, YES. Do I need more training, YES. But we’ve had dog trainers walk Lola and they have suggested a prong. UPDATE: We’ve switched trainers and methods and now only use the Freedom Harness on our dogs.

I do believe is that every dog and handler is unique. If you’ve been told to use a prong, I understand – we’ve been there. Just please educate yourself and use it correctly. Never keep it on while playing, have a trainer or someone help you fit your dog with the collar, do not keep the prong collar tight unless you need to correct your dog and never slip the collar over their head. And please consider positive reinforcement methods – yes, it can be done, but it is NOT a quick fix. We’ve come so far with Lola and have made more progress using positive reinforcement than we would’ve ever made with the prong collar.

What type of collar do you use?

Do you have a solution for a heavy puller? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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Sarah Lukemire

Sarah Lukemire

Fur mom to Lola & Rio, free-spirited personality, coffee addict. Blogging to create positive awareness for pit bull type dogs. Committed to creating a world in which all dogs are treated fairly and equally. Read more >>

34 Comments

  1. Megan
    January 14, 2014 at 5:34 am — Reply

    During obedience training for my two dogs, we used a light choke collar, mainly because I was terrified of those prong collars and didn’t know what else to use. The trainer had modified some normal collars to include 3-4 prongs, and he allowed us to use his to see if it helped. Well it did, and it didn’t. I definitely had more control of my dogs, but the one was so afraid of being corrected that she pretty much laid down as soon as the collar was on her (she had a rough start to life prior to becoming our dog). We used the modified collars for one or two training sessions, then switched back to the choke collar and both dogs seemed to respond better. They knew what was being asked of them and they obliged… maybe to keep from being put back in that contraption??? Whatever the motivation, I was happy with their behavior. Now we only use the choke collar when we go out in public. I think the biggest issue with the choke collar is that people don’t know how to use them properly. I know I didn’t, but my trainer showed me the proper way to correct my dogs and how to not let them choke themselves.

    • January 14, 2014 at 8:29 am — Reply

      Hi Megan,
      Thanks for the comment. I think this just shows that every dog is an individual – I’m glad that you are using the collar you are comfortable with and that does well with your dog. The prong on Lola does not have the same reaction as you explained with your dog…it hardly phases her and sometimes she will still try to pull with it on. I think with any training device, it is very important to know the proper way to use them! Thanks for stopping by. -Sarah

  2. Behnaz
    January 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm — Reply

    I can totally relate to everything you wrote! We have tried everything with our female pittie — and I have a basket of various harnesses, collars and leashes next to my front door to prove it! While I was very hesitant to try the prong collar, as I have always been against any aversive methods, I have to admit it is THE only way I feel in control of her. My only problem with is that she is very sensitive to it. She doesn’t require much correction but if she DOES get one, even by accident (which sometimes happens when she sees a squirrel or something else super exciting) then she flips out. Yelps and lies down…and it worries me as I think it is hurting her. I am currently trying to transition to a martingale collar…but so far she still pulls a lot with the martingale on. The choke collar and the Gentle Leader head halter were by far the worse for us. She acted absolutely insane with the head halter on and with the choke collar she would do what she sometimes does with the prong but much worse. It also cut the skin behind her ears…as her hair is very short there. It was awful! The Easy Walk type harnesses (that clip on the chest rather than the back) work okay but if she does get overly excited (like when she sees other dogs…as dog reactivity is one of the issues we are working on) I feel like I have zero control over her. Then she looks like this crazy pit bull flipping around on the end of her leash…which is the last thing I want! Always learning with this one…she keeps me on my toes. The challenging ones are the ones that teach us the most, right? She’s lucky she’s cute. 😉

    • January 14, 2014 at 2:01 pm — Reply

      Hi Behnaz, are you sure your dog’s name isn’t Lola?! Lol…the only difference is that the prong barely phases Lola. Here’s my suggestion for you w/ your dog on the prong. On the collar, there is a big D-shaped chain hook which will link them up to a full martingale-style (tighten to a certain point) collar (this is what we do) – try hooking your leash through both the D-shaped chain AND the loop that is directly behind this one. This way the correction is much softer. Hope this makes sense.
      And to answer your question on Facebook, yes, she has a regular leather collar on and a prong collar (it’s kind of flipped around because we were sitting down so you can’t see it that well). And if you look on Etsy, there are several prong collar covers. Here is a link: http://www.etsy.com/search?q=prong%20collar%20cover&view_type=gallery&ship_to=US&ref=auto3

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
      -Sarah

  3. January 15, 2014 at 10:18 pm — Reply

    Found you on Blog Paws – great site!
    It’s so funny because you are absolutely right – it is like bringing up politics at Thanksgiving dinner!
    My Wynston is only 6lbs so he just wears a tiny regular cloth collar, but if we go on serious adventures he wears a harness because Chihuahuas can be choked easily. I have to be careful what type of collar he wears though because it can easily wear on his skin – he doesn’t have much fur!
    I also followed you on Twitter!
    dogmomdays.com

    • January 16, 2014 at 7:53 am — Reply

      Hi Amanda,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! 6 lbs! Wow, he is so fragile ;).
      Following you on Twitter as well and stopped by your blog.
      -Sarah

  4. January 21, 2014 at 8:03 am — Reply

    I’m not a fan of collars simply because our dogs aren’t fans of collars, but I’m going to try something new to help with Rodrigo’s aggression towards cyclists – the speed makes him bark and lunge and I need to work on redirecting his focus. I’ve heard good things about the Martingale collar.

    • January 21, 2014 at 5:14 pm — Reply

      Hi Kimberly, yes the martingale would probably get his attention if you need to correct him. I’ve also heard good things about lickety sticks – have you heard of them? Would be the same as giving your dog a treat when he is calm and the cyclist is near, but the lickety stick is easier to carry and ‘whip out’ when needed, lol. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Stacie
    January 22, 2014 at 7:29 pm — Reply

    I am so excited I found this page! I have a Lola also! She’s a boxer and a puller. As I was reading about the collars I thought “my God is she writing about my Lola?!” Haha sounds just like her! We have a easy walk harness and a martingale collar for walking but they both aren’t working when we go for hikes! One or the other rubs her somewhere! I’m very interested in suggestions on what I should use. She is almost a year old and we also have a lot of training to do for the both of us! However we love our Sunday hikes I just want both of us to be comfortable. Thanks!!

    • January 22, 2014 at 7:56 pm — Reply

      Hi Stacie!! Thank you for the kind comment, too funny about your Lola – they sound very similar! So here’s what I would suggest If you prefer to use a harness vs. a prong collar: http://www.2houndsdesign.com/1-Freedom-No-Pull-Harness-Medium-and-Large-Breeds.html (I’ve heard several good things about it and they can’t slip out of it like the Easy-Walk, however, I’m not sure about the rubbing?).
      Otherwise, if she’s a heavy puller, I’d try a prong and hook your leash through the D-ring and the loop (this way it’s much softer). let me know if you do find one that you like, oh and feel free to share a photo of your girl with us on facebook (fb.com/lolathepitty). Thanks, Sarah!

  6. January 23, 2014 at 9:33 pm — Reply

    I’ve used them all. My dog hates the Gentle Leader, but he’s so much better with it on 🙂 I also have a choke collar and a prong collar. They all work great in the right situations. Ideally, I try to walk him with his regular buckle collar 99 percent of the time, but frankly there are times when I know he’s going to pull and that’s when I bring out the Gentle Leader. I pretty much use that when I can’t work on training him like if we’re walking with a friend in a busy urban area and I’m not focusing 100 percent on my dog.

    I use the choke or prong for situations where I know we need to work on training and I’m able to focus on training and work with my dog.

    The Easy Walk harness is great too. I’ve used them for rescue dogs. I just don’t have one for my dog. He’s a 70-pound Lab mix, by the way.

    • January 24, 2014 at 7:29 am — Reply

      Hi Lindsay, thanks for the comment. I agree with you, there are certain situations that do require different tools. For us, if we are in a social situation with Lola, we tend to use the prong because she may slip out of the easy-walk or start to really pull towards something. Have a great weekend! -Sarah

  7. January 31, 2014 at 12:08 pm — Reply

    Have you ever looked into the Freedom Harness, by 2 Hounds Design? It works like the Easy Walk harness, but the straps under the front legs are cushioned velvet, so there’s no chafing. We LOVE our harnesses, and they make it possible for me (not a strong woman) to walk my two German shepherds by myself.

    We tried a prong collar once with a very large and boisterous German shepherd foster, and I regret that decision. I think they can be very dangerous — not to mention that they don’t really teach a dog anything. Especially if a dog pulls to get close to a person or another dog, a prong or pinch collar will cause the dog to start associating pain with new people/dogs, which is a quick recipe for creating fear-based reactivity/aggression.

    But I hear you! It can be hard to know what to use until you figure out what works best for your dog.

    • January 31, 2014 at 7:25 pm — Reply

      Hi Abby, too funny – I just had two people earlier this week tell me about the Freedom Harness and we are getting on! I highly doubt she’ll be able to slip out of it and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Thanks for the comment! Looking forward to trying it out 🙂

    • February 19, 2014 at 5:31 pm — Reply

      On the plus side, the Freedom Harness will ensure that you keep a solid handle on your dog. On the minus side, however, harnesses actually ENCOURAGE pulling. Dogs have a natural opposition reflex to pull forward when something pulls them backward. This is why sled dogs wear harnesses – a quick tug backward and the dogs immediately pull forward.

      Using two points to anchor the leash (one on the back of the harness and one in front of the neck) doesn’t assist with anything other than slightly decreasing the force applied to either of these points. Some people will have good luck with harnesses, most will not. A simple slip leash in the hands of knowledgeable owner will often be all that’s necessary.

  8. February 19, 2014 at 7:50 am — Reply

    Collars are tools. Dogs are individuals. You have to match the two together. There is absolutely nothing wrong with ANY of the collar types listed above, provided that they are a) correctly matched to the dog and b) used properly.

    Personally, I like the metal chain choke collars for walks on larger breeds because the noise that the chain makes serves as a constant reminder to the dog that we’re “working”. But, a choke doesn’t always fit the bill.

    The biggest mistake that owners make with teaching Leash Manners is that they don’t understand that you have to start with “Manners.” Create, build, and foster a relationship between you and your dog(s) that positions you at the top of the heap. You make all of the decisions and they follow them. Then, when it comes time to teach how to behave on a leash, they simply think “oh, I have to follow the directions I’m being given.”

    • February 19, 2014 at 8:50 am — Reply

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, I agree with what you said – “you have to match the two together”.

  9. February 19, 2014 at 4:21 pm — Reply

    It is refreshing to read a post that offers a balanced perspective on the whole collar debate. Thank you! I agree that is about looking at each dog and handler as individuals and making a choice that will work well for them. Proper introduction and desensitization to any new piece of equipment that we put on our dogs is so important to ensure they have a positive feeling towards it 🙂

  10. Anon
    February 19, 2014 at 4:34 pm — Reply

    I have to GREATLY disagree. People that use prong collars, choke collars, e-collars, head collars and regular collars on pulling dogs are lazy, ingornant and stubborn towards learning new, humane, proper techniques that are not harming a dog or your relationship. It’s so easy to lose a dog’s trust, but much harder to get it back. They are not always as forgiving as people think. They have feelings, great memories and emotions. They are NOT unconditional.

    I see a lot of people dragging their dogs, yanking on the leash, holding the leash up so the dog is dangling. Dogs that pull are either fearful towards certain things or excited to get going on their adventure. They are NOT trying to hurt you or be the boss.

    Harnesses are NOT, I repeat, NOT meant to stop pulling. Harnesses are tools to ASSIST in training without hurting the dog. You are making a very poor excuse when you claim that harnesses cause skin to become raw. There ARE slip/glove type products that you can put on harnesses in order to prevent that from happening. Some harnesses already have them, if not, you can purchase them or make your own using thick, wool socks. Harnesses should NEVER be left on dogs or any animal 24/7 365. Harnesses can and do become imbedded just like collars and they are also uncomfortable to have on all time and dogs can also get caught on stuff and cause distress among other things.

    I cringe when people claim that choke collars of any kind and prong collars of any kind NEVER hurt dogs. You’re WRONG. You put one on and have someone pull it and see how you feel! Those “pretty” little slip covers for them DO NOT work or help. You’re still causing pain as your dog coughs, gags and hacks away. If you REALLY love your dogs as you claim, you would NEVER cause them harm mentally OR physically! Prong collars and choke chains cause trachia damage and fear.

    Collars in general cause a dog to choke and cough when they pull. Collars should never be used to walk any dog that pulls because they can and do cause trachia damage!!! Harnesses are recommended. Collars are used to walk dogs that have great manners and used by people that have patience and aren’t forcing their dogs to do anything.

  11. Anon
    February 19, 2014 at 5:04 pm — Reply

    Here are some great videos that teach you how to walk a dog PROPERLY and RESPECTFULLY so that both the dog and you have fun and bond. Going for walks is a great bonding experience just like when people take walks together. You don’t drag your friends, yell at them, yank them or force them, it isn’t fun or appropriate and you certain won’t have respect or bond.

    I have used the same methods used in these videos to teach many different size dogs, different breeds and different attention spans. ALL dogs, especially the high energy dogs were amazing to teach and walk with. I never use anything BUT a harness. My favorite dog to walk was a black Labrador who had to put up with people using prong collars and choke collars on her. She learned quickily and had fun, unlike being choked in order to walk.

    People that use prong collars, choke collars, and Martingale collars (glorified choke collars diguised with a pretty mask) love quick fixes. Everything has to be fixed right away or the animal is bad/defective and stupid. In reality, that dog doesn’t know what you’re trying to teach them, they don’t understand. You have to communicate better!! Just because they don’t get in the first few times, doesn’t mean to get angry, take it out on the dog so the dog gets stressed and fearful of you. They are trying to do what you ask, you just might not be communicating the right way. Praise them whether they do well or not and end the training session before the dog gets bored, loses focus or you get frustrated. Pick up the session later. Sometimes you have to start slowly and work your way up. Not every dog learns fast. In some cases, if your dog is fearful, which shows up in signs of aggression towards people, other dogs and objects due to being insecure. That dog would need behavior modification coupled with training. Behavior modification and training are 2 VERY different things. Some dogs are overstimulated.

    Loosh Leash Walking indoors with Victoria Stilwell
    http://youtu.be/AeTBGMYZj5I

    Loosh Leash Walking outdoors with Victoria Stilwell
    http://youtu.be/urYGYIGhi38

    Learn to Heel with Victoria Stilwell
    http://youtu.be/zYmRaGyqsJs

    Choosing an Effective and Humane Collar with Victoria Stilwell
    http://youtu.be/4dRgZB5u0VE

    • February 22, 2014 at 7:03 am — Reply

      Thank you for this comment. I will watch these videos and continue to work with our dog. And I will agree with you… prong collars are quick fixes for owners that wish to have control. In time, Lola and I will be able to walk on a flat collar and I really can’t wait for that day.

  12. Jen
    February 19, 2014 at 9:16 pm — Reply

    From a doggy health perspective, anything that attaches to the neck does damage to the dog’s trachea over time and can make them prone to laryngeal paralysis later in life. Choke collars are the worst for this because all of the dog’s force is being applied to a really narrow area, but flat collar, martingale collar, prong collar: if your dog pulls, he or she is causing serious damage to his neck. On top of that, a prong collar is designed to simulate the feeling of a bite to the neck, so if your dog is afraid of strangers, it can make the situation worse.

    Alternatives? Gentle leaders or “nose leash” as I called it growing up work well for pulling if you don’t mind your dog trying to rub it off on you every 2 seconds. The armpit based harnesses work ok but most dogs learn to ignore them. And they’re difficult to put on.

    I use and recommend a front-attach harness. Softouch (Sense-ation harness) made the first ones but a lot of brands are coming out with knock-offs that work just as well. It’s easy to put on, no stepping in and out, and it in no way harms your dog (just don’t pinch their fur in the buckle or they will never forgive you). It’s the harness that the local ASPCA shelter uses on ALL of their rescue dogs. And it works: I gave my parents one for their malamute, she tore after a rabbit, she came to the end of her flexi, she flipped in the air and fell on her side. Probably caused Nala some bruising, but more importantly my mom stayed on both feet, no broken bones, even though she was standing on ice during a Minnesota winter. It causes the dog to turn sideways if they pull, breaking their forward motion.

  13. Anon
    February 21, 2014 at 9:59 pm — Reply

    Harnesses are NOT difficult to put on if you know ‘Left’ and ‘Right’! It’s labeled on each side of the harness. Also, there are pictures in the instructions and even videos. Don’t be lazy and say that it’s “hard”. Put more effort into it and have a better attitude. Your dog will pick up on your poor attitude and become stressed out each time.

    No, dogs do NOT learn to ignore them. You’re using them the wrong way and you’re probably a really bad teacher. They are TOOLS that MUST be coupled with proper training. You can’t use one without the other. They work on EVERY breed of dog once you get them used to it by associating the harness with something great. It might take time for some dogs to get used to it because it isn’t natural to them, so give it time and keep praising them for trying. They do their best for you, so you need to do your best for them. You’re supposed to be a team (No, not a pack or pack leader as that’s rubbish because humans are not dogs and therefore can’t be a pack. A pack is a group of the same species. No, wolves and dogs are not the same, they are VERY different).

    If your dog is pulling, don’t yank them, choke them, dangle them in the air, yell at them, push them, hit them, drag them down the street. That’s called animal abuse. Abusive relationships DO NOT = love! Instead, stop and walk in the opposite direction with a VERY high value intem that your dog loves. Every dog has a favorite item, whether it’s food or toys. Praise can be healthy food, toys, verbal praise, a game, a walk or petting.

  14. March 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm — Reply

    So glad to read a balanced post that recommends different tools. I use the prong collar on my dog when I don’t want him to pull around other dogs. The Gentle Leader also works great for him, but he doesn’t like wearing it so I feel bad. I’m sure the Easy Walk harness would work for him, too, but I just haven’t felt the need to buy one when the tools we have work just fine.

  15. April 20, 2014 at 12:26 pm — Reply

    Oh man, i know what you mean about owning a puller!! We got our Koodge (I think he is either a pit bull/beagle mix, or an american bull dog/beagle mix) in any case, he is a strong, stout guy at 60+lbs… He almost pulls my arm out of socket!

    We’ve had him for almost 3 years now and it has taken this long to just get him to walk without pulling my arm out of socket. But it still wasn’t right! Because when he’d see other dogs, or people, in excitement, he’d pull again, but not without hurting my arms! Once he pulled me over when I was picking up his poo… Thank goodness that disaster was averted!

    We have tried so many different types of collars (though, not pronged nor choke/pinch) and harnesses! First, regular collar, no go. Then, a different type of easy walk harness that went under his arms, and did a bit of a squeeze when he pulled… He got used to the feeling, and stopped caring. Then, I saw a friend’s dogs who did perfectly with a regular harness… Tried that, it was easier to control him (I could partially pick him up with it, and hold him back when he got excited), but, it rubbed his little puppy pits raw.

    THEN – I recently purchased the Pet Safe Easy Walk harness for him, and it has done WONDERS. I have told two friends of dogs that pull to buy one and they both love it! I cannot recommend it enough! I do have a problem with it rubbing under his body (though, not all the time but, he has a hairless undercarriage! lol) but, i guess… You know, you win some, you lose some…

    • April 20, 2014 at 6:20 pm — Reply

      Hi Adrienne,
      thanks for the comments…I really give you credit for never using a prong or choke – looking back (we no longer ever use our prong) it was really just a “quick fix” and unless it was being worn, the problem still existed. We have been working really hard with them on heeling and not pulling using positive reinforcement and we’ve come a very long way! The harnesses have saved our arms from being pulled out, lol. You sound like me when we first purchased the Easy Walk, I had doubts that it would even work but it really does – but like you said, the rubbing and range of motion for us was the only downfall. Have a great week – best of luck with your Koodge 🙂

  16. April 23, 2014 at 8:18 am — Reply

    Interesting reading indeed. I don’t think the ongoing debate about prong collars will ever go away. The question is who’s buying them anyway? I’ve used a half choke collar on my terrier in the past and it was ok. The only thing that bothered me was the chain kept getting caught in his hair and I thought it was a bit cruel. Also he couldn’t really wear it in the house. You need something that they feel comfortable in and can sleep with on.

    Like many of the other comments we have a draw at home with a sort of graveyard of past dog accessories, some which I wonder why I ever bought! We’ve settled on a round leather collar for Bryan now as its suits his shaggy hair and when we are out we use a quick fitting harness. To be honest we’ve never felt safer, especially around animals when the pulling gets increased 10 fold!

    It’s a big NO for prongs and massive yes for whatever is suits and is safe 🙂

  17. July 9, 2014 at 9:10 pm — Reply

    I am curious to see what your opinion is, now that you are training positively. I am wondering if doing the walk with reinforcement, will make you never want to use anything but a regular old collar now. I know I changed so many of my beliefs.

    -Rusty
    http://rustgrizzy.com

    • July 13, 2014 at 7:56 am — Reply

      Hi there! Yes, we only use a flat collar or our harness now (for higher distraction areas). Dog ownership is definitely a learning experience and continues to be!

  18. December 15, 2014 at 10:05 pm — Reply

    I have a year old LabraDane (half Great Dane, half Labrador) – she’s just over 90lbs and I’m 110lbs…….. She’s very obedient and sweet but STRONG; she’s solid muscle. The only time she pulls is when we arrive at the dog park or when she sees a person/dog she wants to say hi to, which is everyone! 🙂 I tried the choke collar, prong collar, harnesses among harnesses, nothing worked, or helped. She has legitimately thrown my back out & had me unable to do anything for nearly an entire week. I got her the ‘gentle leader’ head harness ( http://www.chewy.com/dog/petsafe-premier-gentle-leader-quick/dp/52198?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=PetSafe&utm_term=&gclid=CjwKEAiAqrqkBRCep-rKnt_r_lkSJAArVUBc2ugpibcaxpsBL3h3u_xItAiI4wClh1C3CsKe6kBd5RoCZTTw_wcB ) and it’s AMAZING – LIFE ALTERING hahaha. There’s an adjustment under their mouth and I keep that as big as it can be so she can still pant, kiss, drink, eat, etc. just fine. There’s also a little padding for the piece that goes over her muzzle. I take her for decently long walks & never have had an issue with her fur rubbing off or anything of the sort. There are LOADS of different brands/designs of these out there, but I cannot recommend this one enough. It’s super cheap and there is INSTANTLY a noticeable difference with the control you have. A lot of the other methods (choke chains & prong collars especially) you need specific knowledge/training with. I trust her with my life & know she would NEVER hurt anyone or any other animal, but I don’t want to be dragged whenever we go somewhere. In fact I was so impressed with this product I bought one for all my doggie owner friends! They are all hooked! I’m sorry you had a bad experience, you seem to have found harnesses that work, but if you ever were to try something else, I can’t recommend this product enough 🙂

  19. BrigitteR
    December 4, 2015 at 12:27 pm — Reply

    I have used harnesses, a gentle leader head harness, and a regular collar on my dog. Snickers dislikes anything that goes over her head, even when she knows the harness = car ride (which she loves). I have never used a choke collar or a prong collar on her, but I am looking into taking her through yet another training class (this would be #4) because she is a black lab/staffy and she is crazy. The woman I spoke to on the phone today did warn me that she would probably recommend a prong collar for my dog because she is so energetic and out of control. However, she told me not to go out to Petsmart and buy one because they will sell me the wrong thing. This woman was recommended to me by a co-worker and her volunteer organization trains guide dogs and prepares everyday dogs for CGC exams.

    I am kind of iffy on the idea of a prong collar because they have always been talked about with an air of cruelty, but the woman I spoke to said that they use the prong collar in association with only positive reinforcement techniques. I will do a bit more research and think about it before I decide if I am going to take Snickers to them for training.

  20. Patrick
    May 26, 2016 at 4:55 am — Reply

    I have had my APBT, Phoebe, almost three years now, and i have not had much luck with any harness or collar. I personally think that the hook in front and back would work better with the two points of contact. The pinch collar worked for awhile when she was a puppy, but when I seen my APBT start shying away from it I stopped immediately. She pulled in it just like any other collar anyway. Ive had two harnesses that she has pulled threads apart on so i keep a few on hand.(lol) The idea of a gentle leader working like a horse bridal was nice. It worked for a couple blocks and then my APBT spent the whole way back walking on her face trying to get it off. Even after much prep training and introductions before using while walking. The gentle leader harness has rubbed under my dogs arms multiple times although I have ensured it was fitted correctly. *I may use seatbelt cushions from auto zone on the gerth strap and see if that helps* Recently, i purchased an extra wide martingale as i did not want a narrow strap around the neck of my pretty strong animal… I know that i just need to continue working with her. I like the idea of the two points of contact harness but wasting money on solutions that have not worked has been/is costly.

    My APBT is without a doubt the smartest, most loving, and obedient (aside from walking on the leash) dog I have ever owned. She responds to hand signals, multiple verbal commands… But the dang walking issue stinks for me and her. Would also be nice if my wife was able to walk her by herself again, shes just too strong now.

    Any testimonials regarding the harness that latches at shoulders and chest would be great to hear. I cant say that I have one complaint regarding my APBT other than being on a leash seems to instinctively make her pull. Maybe she was just an eighteen wheeler or a horse that pulled buggies in her previous life…

    • Lucille
      July 30, 2018 at 11:45 am — Reply

      Hi Patrick,
      I have a pitti x staffi mix and walking her was a nightmare for both of us. I tried EVERYTHING on the markets except the negative reinforcement items like prong collars, etc. My girl is exceptionally bright and resourceful and managed to back out of, break, chew, etc, etc all of the types of walking gear I could find until a positive reinforcement dog trainer gave me some tips and things to try.

      I found the best way to walk her is with an H-Harness. I clip the one at her chest (buckle away so that the latch thing doesn’t hurt her) and the other between the shoulder. It works like a charm when I have the one on her chest tighter and loose between the shoulder. I have better control and when she pulls, the one on her chest becomes tighter as a cue for her to slow down. There is no yanking involved at all. When she pulls I also stop dead in my tracks and click my finger at my side (fingers pointing downwards) and she knows she needs to come back to heel position. I also sometimes use her ball in my left hand (with leash in right hand) as a lure (she loves her ball) to keep her from pulling as she is then focused on being near her ball and not pulling. I have used high value treats (liver biltong) in my left hand to keep her in a left-hand side heel position. We do still have good days and bad day and it can be quite difficult to be consistent but it is key. I’m still working on the best solution to the problem but all of the above does work for me. I hope this helps.

  21. Jenna223717
    November 2, 2016 at 10:21 am — Reply

    I have used a prong collar during walks, with every German Shepherd I’ve had. I find that each of my dogs have learned rather quickly what happens if they pull on their leash. Within a few walks the mere weight and presence of the collar is enough to keep them walking beautifully. Not to mention focus training so they are not distracted on other animals or people, but instead concentrating on their walk.

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