- I found a great website that has all the info and studies I have done research on. It talks about the dangers of slip chains but also Head Halties and easy walker harnesses fall into this category too. Because the Halties and easy walkers twist the body they can cause long term damage to the neck and spine. When you select a collar to work with a martingale is best for sensitive dogs and a prong is great for the stronger dogs. If used correctly they can be great tools just just like any equipment you must use them properly.
I could not agree more with the statement and this is how I feel about training. The best well rounded trainers are the ones who continue to learn and grow but also use different methods for different dogs. Dogs are not cookie cutter dogs and may require different methods to accomplish what you need. The newer methods that are popping up are all E collar training like with Sit means Sit and I have seen some trainers (who have only gone through a 6 week course to become a so called trainer) ruin dogs by not using the collars the right way and again this does not work with all dogs. Then you have the no correction and all motivational method and even that has it's flaws with the harder dogs. Finding a trainer with experience in many methods is important to look for when selecting a trainer to work with. Beware of the franchise training centers or ones with only one way to do things.
The best Trainers are those who never stop learning.
They are the ones who have learned not to base their opinions about the usefulness of a training method, on the inability of someone (or a population of people) to understand and learn to use a method correctly.
They are the ones best equipped to work with the sometimes unconventional (but so true-to-life) combinations of individual idiosyncrasies, personal strengths, and weaknesses which present with each student-dog/handler team.
. . .even when it means they must revise previously held concepts and challenge old ideas.
- Janice Frasche
A Study on Prong Collars was done in Germany:
100 dogs were in the study. 50 used choke and 50 used prong.
The dogs were studied for their entire lives. As dogs died, autopsies were performed.
Of the 50 which had chokes, 48 had injuries to the neck, trachea, or back. 2 of those were determined to be genetic. The other 46 were caused by trauma.
Of the 50 which had prongs, 2 had injuries in the neck area, 1 was determined to be genetic. 1 was caused by trauma.
The numbers seem to speak for themselves.
(Information about above study taken from an Anne Marie Silverton Seminar)
Here is an article about the dangers of different collars
Some Comments on Safety and Effectiveness of collars and other forms of control with dogs
(c) 2003 by Bonnie Dalzell, MA
e mail is bdalzell at Q I S dot net
used with permission.
I was a teaching assistant and laboratory instructor in veterinary anatomy at the Veterinary College of the University of Pennsylvania for over 13 years and I have been raising a large, and often enthusiastic breed of long haired dog, Borzois since the late 1970's. I also do some training -especially with people with difficult dogs.
Your section on the prong collar is quite clear and makes a good case for the prong collar, perhaps a better case than you realize. The section on the nylon snap choke does not discuss some of the failings of this device as compared to either a prong collar or a chain choke.
The limitations of the nylon snap choke are, in my opinion:
(1) In long haired dogs with thick neck hair, nylon chokes generally do not release at the end of the correction, so even if the dog responds well to the correction, the collar may continue to nag and punish the dog. It only takes a little wear on a fabric choke for this problem to start to develop because the thick undercoat of a long haired dog easily fouls the choke.
(2) More seriously, the "control" region of the neck, the area high up just under the back of the jaws, works because this is where the voice box or larynx is on the dog. The voice box is made of many small fine bones which can easily be broken by a sudden compression, as when a dog on a high set choke collar suddenly lunges against the collar. For this reason a prong collar is much to be preferred to a high set choke as the worse damage a prong collar can do if there is a powerful lunge is to puncture the skin, especially if the prong collar is designed so that the prongs do not lie over the trachea.
As an anatomist and a serious breeder I obtained thorough postmortem reports on many of my Borzois after they passed on and I was surprised to find that a number of them had healed fractures of the lateral bones of the larynx. This sort of injury narrows the opening into the trachea and, in extreme cases, could also produce respiratory insufficiency at heavy exercise.
A lateral radiograph read by some one who knows what they are looking at can reveal these injuries in a living dog.
Haltis and Easy Leaders have the potential to severely injure a dog's neck in the case of an out of control dog who bucks on the Halti. Dogs do not have the massive neck ligamentation of horses and, while their necks are stronger than ours, they still can be injured, especially if suddenly pulled up and back. Haltis do have their place in control of a powerful dog, I regularly use one on one of my best lure coursing Borzoi who has injured his trachea from his enthusiastic attempts to get at the lure while we are waiting for him to have his turn to run. However one needs to be careful that the dog does not get up speed and run to the end of a long leash while in a Halti, because the leverage on the neck that can be exerted by a high speed Halti stop could be very damaging. I would not use one on a dog working on the high obstacles of an agility course because if the dog fell from the A-frame or the elevated walk and was jerked by the Halti it could be severely injured.
In addition I have observed that since Haltis do not deliver much correction, they are good for control but not training.
I have found that a useful tool for leash breaking long necked sighthound pups without neck injury is to start them out on a harness until they learn not to panic and buck from the restriction of the leash and then to work them on a harness and a collar and then a collar alone. I prefer a chain choke collar to a buckle collar or a fabric choke. I would not have the choke collar riding really high on the neck and compressing the larynx because of problems discussed above unless I was handling a dangerous dog.
If I am working a dog in agility that is unreliable enough that it needs a leash to keep it from running off after it has completed an obstacle, I would use a harness rather than a collar for the same reasons discussed under the Halti.
The "no pull" harnesses with the thin cords that run in the arm pits of the dog work because they do cause a lot of discomfort in that region. (This is why back pack straps are padded for human use). However I have seen dogs become chronic pullers on these devices also and I worry that chronic pulling on these may result in damage to the nerves going to the forelegs. For control it is best to have the leash attachment of a harness be at the front end of the harness, that is at the base of the neck, not behind the shoulders. The front end attachment puts the control in front of the dog's center of gravity and discourages pulling. The typical attachment point for a leash on a harness places the control behind the center of gravity, enabling the dog to pull much more effectively.
When comparing the prong collar and the nylon snap collar, I Feel the prong collar is a better choice for really powerful control.
Remember, if you have a really dangerous dog, use a properly fitted (secure but not so tight as to inhibit breathing and panting) muzzle.
Here is the link with more info
Prong Collar Info