Pinch collars are great

A prong collar or pinch collar will make training and walking your dog a much more pleasant experience. If these collars are used properly, they will help you train your dog to walk nicely on a leash in all situations. These collars are not cruel or painful. Many trainers encourage them. My mutt is much better off wearing his pinch collar than without because he gets to go along to more places if he is under control.

A pinch collar is simply a metal choke collar with prongs. When the dog pulls, the collar puts even pressure around the dog’s neck and pinches his skin. I admit, it does sound and look like a medieval torture device. However, I would never hurt an animal. These collars look a lot worse than they are. I am very concerned with animal welfare and have considered taking jobs with PETA and The Humane Society. I recently became a vegetarian partly because of how animals are treated before they reach our dinner plates.

dog-with-pinch-collarWhen the pinch collar is worn correctly, it should fit loose and high on the dog’s neck, just behind his ears. As long as the dog is walking without pulling or lunging, the collar will hang loosely. If the dog pulls, you should quickly pop his leash with a quick snap. This will quickly tighten and then loosen the dog’s collar, showing your disapproval of his behavior. It reminds the dog to return to a heel position, or to remain focused on you and not another dog. Using the pinch collar enforces good behavior. Many of the dogs through my dog walking business wear pinch collars.

You want the collar to be loose when your dog is behaving. If it is always tight and uncomfortable, he will not learn anything. Remain calm and relaxed during your walks so the leash is never tight and you are never tense. Ideally, your dog will eventually learn to walk on a leash without pulling, so he won’t have to wear the pinch collar.

If you have never used a pinch collar, it would be a good idea to meet with a professional dog trainer and have him or her show you the proper way to fit and use one. If the collar is used incorrectly, it could damage a dog’s throat. And of course, some dogs walk just fine without wearing a pinch collar. I wish that were the case with my mutt. I have spent hours training him to heel properly on a leash, and he walks better on a leash than most dogs I know. But I still walk Ace with the pinch collar, and I recommend you give it a try while walking your dog.

22 thoughts on “Pinch collars are great”

  1. My wife and I just started seeing a dog trainer last week. We have a silky terrier, and he is trouble. The first thing the trainer did was put a pinch collar on him. We have noticed a difference in only a week of walks.

    Mike’s last blog post..Dream Home Gym

  2. Hey, I have a Silky Terrier too! His pictures are on my site under the “Don’t buy from pet stores” post. I know they work very very well with praise and you have to be the strong one…They’re smart…I don’t like choke collars, bark zappers or any of that though… =/

    The Realtor’s last blog post..dial for a loan

  3. Cool. I just posted a comment on your site.

    Our silky does do well with praise and is extremely smart. He has a bad separation anxiety problem with my wife, and we are working to correct that now.

    He is a good dog, though. My wife and I like to say that he’s a lady’s man (like the song), and he does have a bit of a strut when he walks.

    Mike’s last blog post..Dream Home Gym

  4. While I have used pinch collars on a couple of dogs, I prefer training with a buckle or regular choke collar. Your dog should be trained to walk on a loose lead. The problem that I have had with pinch collars is that when you put the dog on anything else, you still have the problem. The two dogs that I recommended training with them were problem dogs and they did not have to wear them but a few weeks before we transitioned back to regular collars. I also suggest that you try it on around your thigh and give it a quick pop. You might be surprised, my son left bruises on his leg from it. I have since learned clicker training and can actually train without any leash or collar at all now.

    CindyS’s last blog post..Converting Bugs Into A Delicious Meal

  5. If you need a choke, pinch or shock collar to manage a dog on a walk or pretty much anywhere else, you are doing something wrong in a major way in your training. You’re not building a relationship with the dog, you’re teaching it to expect pain when it disobeys you. My dog walks at my side during walks just fine based on positive reinforcement and clicker training. It took longer, but I didn’t have to hurt, and yeah you’re hurting them, my dog to get a result and my way is part of a larger and more complete relationship.

    As someone who knows at least two people who put their dogs down after pinch collar use and the dog became aggressive about having his neck and scruff area touched… and someone who has done it another way and doesn’t have a dog who is hurting on a walk… you’re doing yourself and your dog a disservice in the long run here.

    Using the argument that “many trainers” recommend them is bogus. Many trainers, who seem like nice folks, recommend everything from helicoptering to muzzle grabs to alpha rolling to shock collars to pinch collars with a kind and straight face while your dog is learning to fear walks with you. He’s not getting the positive reinforcement you think you’re giving him as referenced in your article. That’s the opposite of positive reinforcement. Get hurt if you do what I don’t like isn’t positive anything. It’s negative, especially to the dog’s psychological well-being.

    You say in your article you would never hurt an animal. You are. Sorry, but you are.

  6. I have a pinch collar, choke collar and Gentle Leader and use each one in different situations for Ace. He prefers the pinch or choke collars. He walks the other way when he sees the Gentle Leader because he feels so restricted by it. Still, I also think Haltis or Gentle Leaders are a great option for a lot of dogs (including Ace).

  7. For those that know how to use a Pinch collar or a choker chain fine but unfortunately there are far too many people that don’t so they are instructed to use them become dependant on them for life and the dog is in pain its entire life. I started with a pinch collar but after being introduced to the Gentle Leader I will NEVER go back! My dog didn’t like it at first but now he has adjusted to it fine. Plus when he sees it come out he knows we are going for a walk! After working with him for a couple days I saw definite improvements and I can bounce back and forth from a regular collar to the Gentle Leader without problems! I love it and recommend it!

  8. I would NEVER put a pinch or choke chain on a small terrier! If you want to hurt it’s throat go ahead! Constant pressure on its poor little neck is not hard to do if your yanking on them! If they can break their leg by jumping wrong putting prongs to pinch or a chain to choke is very inhumane! I would suggest an Easy Walk Harness! it takes all the pressure away from the neck period but helps with walking tremendously! Plus you won’t hurt the larynx!

  9. Don’t use a pinch collar or choke collar if you are not comfortable using one.

    Pinch collars, Gentle Leaders and Easy Walk Harnesses all work for the right human-dog pair. I recommend you use whatever you are comfortable with, but make sure you know how to use it. Training collars like pinch collars and choke collars are not meant to be tight on the dog’s throat.

  10. I find these comments interesting. I strongly feel that each dog and human pair needs to find a balance for them that is right.

    I have had some people tell me I am crazy for putting a pinch on a small dog… here are the problems – he is a STRONG puller and has no regard for his ability to breathe when I put a regular collar on him. When using a halter, he lunges forward and looks like a sled dog trying to pull his owner down the street. When using the pinch collar, I rarely if ever correct, he walks with this head and tail up. Everything shows me he is happy.

    I have tried an Easy Walk Harness, it results in him walking at a slant so that he can PULL harder and twists himself up so that he can slip out. This was a hugely frustrating process and he was being corrected over and over.

    Perhaps no one has had a terrier-schnauzer mix with a pulling problem. The pinch is safer for this stubborn little boy of mine.

    I would like to also add that his pinch (or rather PRONG) collar is never tight on his neck. The only time it is tight is if he tries to pull me down the street. He stops and his trachea is safe from collapsing as would be the danger if I put him on a regular collar. A choke collar would be devastating for a dog like him so I didn’t even go that route.

    ** I would like to add that we tried loose leash training at great lengths, and the pinch collar was my final decision which was the BEST decision we made for him.

  11. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks so much for your comment! I completely agree that prong collars are often the way to go. Choke collars and regular collars can end up hurting the dog’s neck, but most dogs do not pull against the prong collar.

    And I totally agree that there’s nothing wrong with using a prong collar on a small dog! Obviously the collar will be designed to fit that particular dog! 🙂

  12. Cool..Pinch Collar..It might be useful, might be not…But for me, I don’t like to use this for my dog, I dont want to hurt her! Could be used for training, but not for me…I love her so much that I dont want her to get hurt, or be pinched…Nice blog anyway…:)

  13. Kudos to those people with encouraging responses whether they agree with pinch collars for themselves or not. The pinch collar is a training device, not the only strategy anyone would want to use, but for some dogs, an essential tool that works very well. I’ve trained many dogs, and some were so eager to please and well mannered that I thought I was a ‘dog whisperer.’ However, after rescuing a couple of stubborn, aggressive dogs, I realized that I was pretty lucky to have worked with those sweethearts in the past – our success had a lot to do with the dogs willingness to accept me as the leader. Any dog with a dominant personality needs to have a leader working with him/her, and size of dog has nothing to do with it. With the stubborn dogs, I’m so fortunate that there are so many terrific and easily accessible books on dog psychology these days, to help me understand how to work with them. I also have the help of a great dog training school and the community of trainers who model and help coach me/us. For those readers who look down on anyone using a pinch collar, you’re correct to hate it if it’s used inappropriately, but if it’s used correctly, you should know that it can make a world of difference for a dog’s attitude and emotional well-being. The dog will feel protected, part of the pack, and it will develop the strong dog-human bond we all hope for. It’s only used for short periods, and it can be a positive relationship builder, and even a life-saver. Please don’t judge without all the facts.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Well said! Thanks so much for your comment! I agree. It’s a great tool, although not the right tool for every dog.

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  15. I’d just l Ike to say here that people against these collars need to have open minds and consider that there are a few billion people in this world, not just yourself. And many of these people have dog companions, and not all of those bonds those pairs share are EXACTLY the same as the bonds you share with your own dogs.

    Also, I know it’s a bit of a shocker, but dogs are each as unique as human beings. They have personalities, their own temperaments, their own quirks, etcetera.

    So don’t presume to tell non-abusive dog owners how to train their dogs anymore than you would tell another parent how to teach their children how to be good human beings. It’s self-centered, closed-minded, and disrespectful.

    Thank you.

  16. Ericka and Sander

    To me any collar can do damage! I do believe it is how and what you use it for. I have adopted a 2 year old Golden retriever-St. Bernard mix, that was a stray. He is very sweet and kind and big. I do use a pinch collar, but only for walks. Mind you he has slipped out of a collar on a walk before and he chased a car. (thank god the guy in the car saw him) Also, Sander has a big pray drive. Anything small he wanted to play with it.

    I walk Sander every morning at 7:30. I tell him that he is a very good boy and a rub down, when we pass a small dog or cat. As we are walking I contently tell him he is a good boy. He never uses it for anything else. I will be rotating collars soon, I want to to use a regular collar as a main one. But, I have to slowly working him into the other collar. I would kill be if he got hit be a car.

    I did not just go to pet store and slap a pinch collar on him. I did a lot of research. I have seen and heard the horrible story. Many people leave the collar on all the time, That is not what it is for. I is a tool to use. I do not pull on this leash on walks just a tog, that’s all you need to to. Sander has pulled so hard on the other collar that he sounded like he was coughing something up. THAT IS BAD ON IS NECK AND CAN CAUSE DAMAGE!! He has not done that with a pinch collar and i do reinforce his good behavior. Like I said it is how you use it and what for. And I highly recommend you talk to you vet before for you use one. They are not for on all dogs, I also do not like the choker because it does what is called.

  17. I am so sick of people justifying thenuse of prongs. dont you have a brain?! Anyone who uses a prong collar is an idiot and cruel to their dogs. Get a brain and learn how to actually train a dog. You can remind your dog not to pull in a leash with a simple verbal command, not pain. My mind may be closed, closed to the idea that a person needs to use pain to train their dog. Get your head out of the sand and face the fact that prongs do cause pain, that is how they work!

  18. I am a dog trainer myself and see nothing at all wrong with using a pinch collar!! Providing you seek the advice of a professional, as stated above pinch collars are not suited to every dog some problems can even be made worse by these collars. Which is why I am saying before using these extremely usefully bits of kit you should seek help. The pinch collar is not designed to cause pain it is designed to produce a correction that a dog understands. The same type of correction that one dog would give to another and nobody can deny that this happens. The problem here is anthropomorphism (people are given dogs human characteristics and qualities) one person even says above ‘correct your dog from pulling by pulling them back and telling them no!!’ now correct me if I’m wrong but Dogs do NOT speak the same language as any of us do, no matter how many languages you speak. So this is where the pinch collar comes in handy as it produces a correction that the dog understands. I do not use pinch collars on every dog I work with as I tend to use slip leads and chains, again working on a correction that the dog understands (why? It’s just nature!!). People that refuse to listen to points like this are arrogant and uneducated and I would invite any body to one of my very successful training sessions to see how beneficial some of these training tools can be!! Thank you

  19. This is not a learning device. You aren’t teaching the dog ANYTHING except to expect pain when a) you are walking them b) with the collar on. If they walk nicely afterwards, it’s because they are in a constant state of fear and arousal, expecting pain. The idea that this teaches more than a head collar is absurd; it teaches nothing.

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