Skip to Content

Dog Training: Yes, I use shock and prong collars

If you work around dogs long enough you’ll get the question.

Do you use shock and prong collars? (Or choke collars or slip collars.)

You’ll get this question if you’re a trainer. You’ll get it if you’re a dog walker. You’ll get it if you’re a pet sitter or a rescue volunteer.

My answer to this question is yes.

Yes, I use prong and shock collars

I have used or at least recommended almost every single training collar available – prong collars, shock collars, Gentle Leaders, anti-pull harnesses. They all work well for the right dog/owner pairs at some point or another.

And every time I mention the use of any tool, someone gets upset. One woman said she could no longer read my blog because she noticed a comment where I’d recommended a prong collar for a dog that was pulling. Yes, if you are offended by that I agree this is not the blog for you.

I am not here to tell anyone else what to do. I just write about what works for me. I try not to give specific training advice unless asked.

I met a trainer recently who says she only uses positive reinforcement training techniques. Good for her. I’ve seen her working with dogs and she is an excellent, patient trainer.

Shock collars for golden retriever and springer spaniel

Of course, she asked me the question, and was bothered by the fact that I have used shock collars. She didn’t think we would ever be able to work together.

I told her that being open to all training options allows me to help more dogs. It allows me to meet the owners where they’re at and go from there. This is very important to me.

I also have more flexibility because I do not make my living training dogs. Wouldn’t want to. I have taught obedience classes, but I make my living writing about dogs and walking them.

It’s too bad that trainers feel they have to define themselves as “all positive” or not. Maybe they feel they have no choice. Dog walkers don’t seem to have that problem.

[quote_center]Being open to all training options allows me to help more dogs.[/quote_center]

I try very hard to avoid these labels for myself and others. Of course, no trainer is really “all positive,” not if she has any clients or any dogs of her own. It’s not possible. At least, I’ve never seen it.

And what if you’re not “all positive?” What are you then? I don’t want to know.

I guess in the training world, there will always be people ready to ask the question. If you work with dogs, you better have an answer.

Are you ‘all positive?’ Do you use choke or prong collars?

My blogging friend Mahogany wrote a thoughtful post on why she used a prong collar. Check it out.

Get That Mutt’s newsletter in your inbox:

Cat Shaming (featuring Beamer and Scout)
When is it OK to run with senior dogs? (A vet's point of view)