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— July 8, 2014 —

Training Collar Damage, Fact v/s Fiction.
by Daniel McElroy Jr.

Recently, this image was circulated on social media. It shows a dog’s neck with a line of regularly-spaced holes, which look like puncture wounds. It purports to be damage inflicted by training a dog with a pinch or prong collar (the two terms are interchangeable for my purposes here).

This Tail is not intended to be in support of training with pinch collars or not. (Full disclosure: I have used prong collars and have had dogs that have needed them. I have also trained dogs that have not needed a prong collar. I believe the collars are tools and tools are defined by the user.) What this Tail is intended to be is an explanation of what actually happened to the poor dog in the above photo.

When we first got involved in rescue, we ran across a dog named Lexi. Lexi was a female Rottweiler who had been left in a pinch collar for way too long. Her neck had actually grown INTO the prongs of the collar. In fact, the collar was so deeply embedded that the vet said the collar was actually protruding into her airway. This is the unfortunate situation that we see in the photo. The collar was put on a young, smaller dog and never removed. The dog essentially grew into the collar and the collar embedded into the dog’s neck. The above photo is not the result of training with a pinch collar, this took weeks or months to happen. It didn’t happen overnight or in a training session and it is the result of neglectful abuse, plain and simple.

Pinch collars should never be left on a dog that is not supervised or tethered in the yard. We generally recommend against tethering in any case, but especially not on a pinch collar. Also, a growing dog needs to be monitored to make sure the collar is not becoming too tight.

Lastly, whatever training equipment you choose to use, please be aware that anything can be mis-used. If you are having behavioral issues with your dog, please look up a qualified trainer in your area and get help. No equipment, treat, pill or anything else can replace the guidance of a trainer who has experience with your dog’s particular issues.


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