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Are Pinch Collars Humane?

Are Pinch Collars Humane?are pinch collars humane

When I first started my career in dog training many years ago I was taken back by the site of the pinch collar or also known as a prong collar. I would often ask myself, “Are pinch collars humane?”  The sight of a pinch collar can look like a “torture” tool. I thought pinching a dog on the neck seemed unfair or a fear-based type training style. Over the years as I have studied dog training and how different countries train their dogs, I have found the pinch collar to be one of the most humane ways to help train a dog. Most people would consider using a pinch collar once they see a behavioral issue in their dog, however, you don’t need to wait until there’s a problem. When a pinch collar is used as a tool on the right dog, it’s a wonderful tool. I like to describe a pinch collar as providing your dog information. 
When a puppy is born and grows, it’s the birth mother who would use her teeth to apply pressure to direct the puppy to stay away from something dangerous, to correct her puppy or to also get her puppy’s attention almost like someone tapping their finger on your shoulder to redirect your attention. Using a level of pressure for a dog is how they communicate to one another; it’s natural and in their DNA. Since we take puppies away from their birth mother or pack, we expect these puppies or adult dogs to live with us and understand what we ask of them. The only challenge is how do we properly communicate with a dog when they are now in a foreign environment (our home)? Dogs don’t speak our native language, so us humans had to come up with tools in order to communicate properly with our dog. Can a tool be misused? Absolutely! If you want to put a screw in a wall, you don’t use a hammer to drill a hole. The hole will be too big for your screw! Lol. Now let’s get into some of the top questions I’m asked about pinch collars. 

Are Pinch Collars Effective?

A Pinch collar is one of the most effective ways to communicate with a dog. For horses, we use a bit in their mouth. When we would like a horse to turn right, we apply pressure on the bit. Some horses need more pressure than others to make a right-hand turn. As soon as the horse makes the right hand turn, we release pressure. We just provided and communicated with our horse on what we would ask of them. This is the same way we use a pinch collar with a dog.

When we first introduce a pinch collar, you want to combine your lure with pressure from the pinch collar. For example, if you would like to train your dog the place command, first you want your dog to be confident in going onto a designed place you would like by luring him or her with a treat, toy or praise. Whatever motivates your dog the most, use this! Next, once your dog or puppy is confident and doesn’t see the place as any sort of danger, then you lure your dog with a treat and apply pressure on the pinch collar. After several days and repetitions of the lure and dog now understand the place command once you’ve given a name, the moment the dog tries to leave the place command you would give a simple and quick “pop” on the leash. The “pop” on the leash lets the dog know they are to stay on their place until you release them. 

Are Pinch Collars Safe for Dogs?

One of the reasons a pinch collar was designed in the first place was for the safety of a dog. This tool was originally designed for dogs with a collapsed trachea. A flat collar or a choke or also known as a training collar are unsafe for a dog that is prone to a collapsed trachea. Any tool can be misused by a dog trainer or handler. This is my opportunity to educate you on how to properly use a pinch collar. 

Before even considering using a pinch collar you MUST train your dog how to do the stationary commands first by luring them with treats, praise or a toy. A stationary command would be sitting, stay, down, etc. During a stationary command, a dog physically does not move. The next step, would be to lure your dog into a come when called, place command. It’s important to make training fun for both you and your dog. It’s also healthy to build confidence in your dog whether you recently adopted your pup from a local shelter or you bought a puppy from a breeder. If you would like to learn how to train your dog using a lure click on this article. 

Are Pinch Collars Bad for Dogs?

There are some exceptions to the rule when using any type of training tool. Just like humans, not all dogs are the same in personality. We do not use pinch collars to punish a dog, rather we use one to create a positive behavior change. Most of us reward with treats, praise or with a toy. The question is how do we correct our dog? There are several tools to correct a dog. I would hesitate on using a pinch collar on a puppy under 16 weeks old, for sport/competition dogs not use before they are 6 months old, flighty, aggressive or sensitive dogs I would also not generally recommend a pinch collar. There are other tools to use for dogs with these types of behavior or personalities. If you would like more information on what type of tool to use for an aggressive or flighty type dog check out our article on Dominant Dog Collars. 

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