Prong collars should not be used on dogs who are fearful or aggressive. Dogs who bark or growl, usually have a reason for it. Using a prong collar to teach your dog not to bark or growl can sometimes have negative results and worsen your dog’s behavior. Dogs bark or growl to warn others that they aren’t comfortable. If you teach the dog not to bark or growl, he may have to skip the warning process and go straight for a bite!
My Australian Cattle Dog was never socialized around children, so whenever she saw someone under four feet tall, she suddenly had to go for their ankles! I didn’t know she had this problem until a kid ran up to her one day and she tried to nip at his face. I tugged her collar quickly (a normal nylon collar) and told her, “no!” I was so unprepared at the time, I didn’t know what to do. Her behavior had totally surprised me.
After doing some research I learned how to correct the behavior. I started carrying treats around with me and each time I saw a child, I had them take a treat and hold it out for Sammy to take. This method helped her understand that children are not scary, and that good things (like treats) come from little people. Even though it’s been more than a year, we continue to work on her behavior towards children. We make every single experience a pleasant one, so that she will always know that kids are nice.
In a situation such as this, a prong collar may be used. However, in some cases, they are not appropriate to use. If a dog is child-aggressive, you may need to resort to a different tool. Sometimes the sensation of a prong collar can attribute to a dog’s aggression by increasing his drive. If your dog barks or growls at strangers, it is usually out of fear. It is very common for aggression to stimulate out of fear. Don’t punish your dog from being afraid of something. The best method is to show him that he has nothing to fear.
I didn’t invest in a prong collar until later, because I initially hated them. I saw them as tools of torture and said I would never use something like that on my own dogs! Once I learned more about them, I realized that they aren’t as bad as they appear. I ended up buying a prong collar to enforce the heel command with Sammy. She’s also a moderate puller, but the EasyWalk Harness worked fine to prevent her from pulling during walks.
There are specific martingale collars that help when teaching your dog to loose-leash walk, but I have not used any. I recommend trying other tools before resorting to a prong collar. In most cases, other tools can be just as effective. But for especially stubborn dogs, prong collars may be the answer. Please do research on prong collars or consult a professional before ever using a prong collar on your dog. I’ve seen too many people misuse them that it’s no wonder they have such a bad reputation.