Personally I don’t use collars on my dogs as I believe that they can do damage to the dogs neck and can result in medical problems. so instead I use a harness. I have heard people say that harnesses are only used by people too lazy to train their dog not to pull – well this is not the case for me! I do train my dogs not to pull while using the harness I just feel it is gentler on the dog especially when you just start training them as they will pull.
The reasons that I don’t use collars is because of personal comfort and preference. Also because Tess is baldy on her neck a collar would rub on her causing sores. She is still baldy around her chest and under her front ‘armpits’ so a wrong fitting or tough nylon harness would also rub so I put a length of sheepskin around the harness strap that goes under her legs until I found these fleece harnesses at http://www.fleecedogharnesses.co.uk which are made specifically to fit your dog’s measurements, which is perfect for staffies as they have a deep chest so a lot of harnesses are ill fitting. These harnesses also have a from D ring so you can attach a training lead (they sell matching ones) to both D rings to help train to stop pulling and gives a more balanced control.
So along with positive reinforcement training with the clicker and treats I don’t see the need for choke, prong or shock collars especially with the damage they cause. I myself have never tried a shock collar but I sat next to my dad at a seminar whilst he tried the shock collar on his arm, which is a lot less sensitive than the neck, he tried it on the lowest setting and it made him jump and left a mark on his arm for the entire night which was all red around it.
The above is a photo of the results of a prong collar which is meant to apply just a little pressure, not only does the collar itself look vicious but the effects of “misuse” are disgusting and the fact that they can sell theses products online or over the counter without training is disgraceful.
but even without training in how to use them, how could you think that the above photos are ok? how could you continue to use it? I know that some trainers swear by them, especially in extreme cases but surely as a trainer you could use your knowledge to come up with a more humane way to treat the problem to me these (what I think of as torture devices) are far lazier than using a harness! ‘punishing’ your dog in this way is more likely to make him snap and bite, then he gets put down – hardly fair is it? The people that defend these collars say that they are humane, I don’t understand how anyone could think that this is humane in any way I would never subject my dogs to this, if they were that bad that I couldn’t overcome it with training then I would take them to a professional behaviourist. I once left a training class because the trainer took Tanya and dragged her round on her hind legs and because she was crying she sprayed her with water, but she was only crying because she was being dragged round (on a collar) on her hind legs so the trainer was causing the behaviour then correcting the dog for doing it. Dogs have to be allowed to be dogs, their own behaviour and personality have to be what the training is tailored around as every dog is different but no dog needs this extreme training aid, in my opinion. I am not a dog trainer or behaviourist but I have been around dogs and cats all my life and have found that there is no ‘one fits all’ training technique you have to work with the individual dog but I do know positive reinforcement is always the way to go as hitting or screaming at them doesn’t work and you look like an idiot screaming at your dog and getting no response from the dog! Also if these prong and shock collars are so humane and effective why don’t we use them on difficult children or criminals to teach them good habits?! A dogs skin is much thinner than ours because they have fur to protect it so any prong or shock is tenfold to what we would feel but still the creator of the shock collars would not test it on himself. I am not blaming the collar for these injuries I am blaming the owner for inflicting them by not knowing how to correctly use them as even a normal collar can become embedded and cause similar injuries if a collar is put on a pup and left on whilst the pup grows it becomes embedded in the skin, but because there are so many unknowledgeable people out there looking for a quick fix is exactly the reason these shouldn’t be sold to the general public as they don’t know how to use them. Personally I would see them banned completely as I don’t think they are necessary even if used the so called correct way, they are just not for me. If you build a bond with your dog and love it it will reciprocate with unconditional love and want to please you. Realistically how perfect do our dogs need to be? We as humans are far from perfect so why do we expect 200% perfection from our dogs?