Animal Update: Positive Reinforcement Trumps Prong Collars When Leash-Training Dogs
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Some dog owners use prong collars in order to get their pets to obey, but some animal experts are not encouraging their use and provide alternatives to the “medieval” training device.
Dr. Jennifer Scarlett with the San Francisco SPCA describes a prong collar as a spiked-metal choke collar that has a series of blunted spikes that goes around the dog’s neck. When you pull on the leash, you not only collapse the trachea a little, you also poke prongs into their neck.
The idea behind it is to get your dog under control when you pull the leash.
“Certainly if you add enough pain and fear to a dog, it will stop pulling. But what we want to create is a dog that responds to us. If we understand what motivates a dog because they’re happy or anxious and using positive reinforcement, we can have a much stronger bond and a dog that doesn’t pull,” Scarlett said.
She said using positive reinforcement methods; including treats and praise work best, but also suggests more humane anti-pull devices like a head collar. Positive reinforcement not only works for inter-species relationships, but intra as well. Try it on someone you know, she suggests.
The SF SPCA has positive reinforcement trainers that can help you with your dog.