All dogs need training so that they learn to behave appropriately, especially in a family environment. To this end, training collars have been created to help you with this process, and they have proven to be very effective in this role. As with many things however, in the wrong hands, dog training collars can be used to hurt and abuse dogs, so you need to understand how they work and what they do.
The prong collar looks like a medieval torture device, but is actually one of the gentler training collars being investigated here. When the leash is pulled, the prongs start to pinch the back of the dog's neck. The thinking behind this is to replicate the memory of the dog's mother's teeth nipping the scruff of the puppy's neck. The collar is quite safe to use, the only real problem occurring if the fit is poor. If your dog is one that pulls strongly at the leash though, the prong collar might not be suitable.
The fit of the prong collar should be snug against the dog's neck. There is usually some leeway with these types of collars in that you can add or remove prongs to adjust the fit. A ready guide for the fit is if you can fit your finger between the collar and the dog's neck. If the collar is looser than that, it will not do it's job properly.
The Gentle Leader dog collar (or Halti collar) looks more like a harness. It works by closing the dog's mouth when you pull on the leash. The method aims to control the dog's general movement by controlling it's head. The theory being that the body will follow where the head goes. This type of collar is well suited to aggressive animals that lunge or bite. There is a downside to this type of collar though.
Dog's, as a rule, do not like having restrainers on their face, and it might be quite a job to get your dog to accept a harness of this type. Care should also be taken bot to pull the head to hard, because the dog could suffer injuries to the neck or back. The choke collar is one of those items that can raise some people's hackles.
Those that like them point to how effective they are in controlling a dog. Those that don't like them, would say that the collars are inhumane. The answer to this probably lies in the people who use the collars. Used correctly, choke collars can be very effective. Used in an inappropriate manner, the choke collar can be quite brutal. Correct use of a choke collar starts with correct fitting.
They work by tightening around the dog's throat when the leash is pulled. Equally, the tightness should be released when the trainer eases up on the leash, but if the collar does not fit correctly, this might not happen resulting in undue distress to the animal. If your dog is one that continually pulls on the leash, then the choke collar is probably not the right collar to use.
One of the newest forms of dog collar are the electronic one's. They are considered to be a very humane way to train a dog, but equally can be abused in the wrong hands. The electronic dog collars work by allowing trainers to give dogs small electric shocks via a remote control to control the behaviour of the dog. How much of a shock the dog gets is entirely in the hands of the trainer, so in good hands, the electronic dog trainer can be very flexible and very effective. As a rule of thumb, the shock that is applied should be just enough to make the dog's ears twitch, but obviously the amount of electricity involved will depend on the size of the dog.
In any case however, if the dog cries out when the electricity is applied, then the setting is too high. Once again, this type of collar is only really suitable for experienced trainers.
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