To Prong or Not to Prong – That is the Question

06 Apr

Let’s toss a controversial opinion out there and see what debate results.

You may not be a pet owner. You may not even be much of an animal lover but would you seriously consider putting one these around a dog’s neck?



Let’s be clear about this, those spikes are on the inside of the collar.

Pinch Collar

Like this.

Many people are using these things because they honestly don’t know better. Perhaps they’ve been advised by a dog trainer. The idea is to stop the dog pulling when it’s on the lead by inflicting pain and fear on the animal. A dog that is in fear, a dog that is in pain is more likely to become aggressive and then the dog faces further punishment. Might that result in a no-win situation for the dog?

Once upon a time it was very common to see dogs in choke chains. I know that the dogs we had when I was a kid all wore them. The idea with those was that when the dog pulled, it choked, therefore, the dog would stop pulling. None of ours did. The dog went on pulling and choking and pulling and choking. It is now known that choke collars are responsible for all kinds of terrible injuries from a crushed windpipe to blindness. Now imagine lining the inside of one of those collars with a row of spikes…

Defenders of prong collars (AKA pinch collars) will say that when used properly, these will not cause injury. They will also say that they are a gentle method of controlling and correcting your dog. Others will say ‘I didn’t even know these things existed.’

Well,they do exist and they do cause injury. Sometimes it’s a physical injury that you can see and sometimes it’s a psychological one – either way prong collars offer very few positive outcomes when weighed against the risk and I am working with a bunch of concerned citizens to get them banned in the UK. If you are of a mind to, come over to the Banning of Pinch Collars on Facebook ( If you’re from the UK sign the petition, get info on writing to your MP, join others in emailing the sellers and manufacturers of prong collars. Make like a Quaker and bear witness – tell the world about this questionable but legal form of dog control. For it is legal in the UK – unlike Quebec.There is a fine of several hundred  dollars if caught using one (see Good old Quebec. Let’s spread their enlightenment.

Are these legal where you live? Do you want them to be? If not then use the power of your keyboard and get the word out there. Dogs need strong, assertive, caring, educated owners not spikes. In the last couple of days, because of pressure from communities like Banning of Pinch Collars, both Amazon and eBay UK have reviewed their policies and found that prong collars contravene their own rules on animal welfare. They have undertaken to stop selling them. Which other suppliers could you email? How about manufacturers like Herm-Sprenger? Can we get them to see our point of view?

The prong or pinch collar is an anachronism. If we must ever see one, let it be in a museum of the macabre alongside the rack and the iron maiden. Not, NOT on a dog.

If you have no strong view or, if you believe that there is a place for such a collar then don’t just read what I have to say, check out these links;

It may not seem much but getting these collars banned is a step along the road to better animal welfare and, as the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


Posted by on April 6, 2014 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “To Prong or Not to Prong – That is the Question

  1. Abigail

    May 22, 2015 at 3:20 am

    My step aunt has a collar like this on her dog, Raddar. I was so shocked when I saw this around his neck. I told her it didn’t look save, but she replied back and said “Its perfectly safe”. she said that twice. I wanted to take him home, but she wouldn’t let me. Now I am wondering if I should call the pound, have them take the dog away, and then adopt him. But would the pound even take him in the first place? I think its legal to put this kind of trash around a dogs neck here in the states.

    • Lorraine Gouland

      May 23, 2015 at 12:03 am

      Sadly Abigail, prong collars are legal in the States and in UK. Many other places too. Because of this, I don’t believe the pound would take the dog. Maybe you can just be a friend to the dog? That’s something. And make sure your step-aunt is using it as the ‘experts’ recommend – like not wearing it in the house and when he’s at rest. Look up the advice on how it should be used so that you can be sure any discomfort is less. Maybe keep dropping into the conversation things like, how modern positive trainers like Zak George don’t approve of prong collars. Whatever you do, keep being the animal lover you are xxx


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