There are dog collars on the market that are called prong collars, pinch collars, and various other names, depending on your geographic location. These collars have prongs that are pointed toward the dog’s neck. When the collar is placed properly on the dog’s neck, the prongs are located around the neck and a slight tug on the chain mechanism causes this collar to close slightly. When this happens, the prongs dig into the dog’s neck and deliver a physical correction. Many trainers justify this type of collar because it is less likely to choke the dog, as a choke chain might. The travel of the chain is limited. The other main reason given is that this is a humane way of training a dog, but this is not true; it is not a humane collar at all. It is designed to deliver pain.

If anyone tells you that it is not painful, try it out on yourself. Place the prong collar snuggly around your leg or your upper arm. Now, attach the leash to the collar and give the leash to someone else. Ask them to deliver a correction and see if it hurts. Please, just try this on your leg or arm. Don’t try this around your own neck — we’re not responsible for any pain, injury, suffering, or damage caused by this experiment! Done properly, this experiment should show you that this collar is, indeed, not painless. It hurts. Be forewarned.

Now why would you want to treat your dog in this manner? It seems incomprehensible that pain is still used as a tool to correct a dog’s misunderstanding of what you want. What you are saying to the dog is: learn quickly what I want or I will hurt you. Therefore, if you are a poor communicator to the dog, the dog will suffer more. If you are a poor teacher of the behaviour that you want from the dog, then the dog will suffer more. And, in the process, you will be ignoring all the advances in behavioural science. You do not see a pinch collar around the neck of a trained orca whale. Ever.

Don’t do it, please. Don’t use this type of collar. If some professional trainer suggests that you use this type of collar, then you are not with the right trainer for your dog. If some dog school tells you that this is standard equipment for dog classes, then leave. You do not want to learn the various methods of delivering pain to your dog. If developing an expertise in such things holds an interest for you, then, by now, you must have figured out that you are at the wrong website. Here, delivering physical pain is not part of the teaching process. Ever.