The Dog Collar Debate

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

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 -

(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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