Prong collars have a bad reputation and can seem cruel. But many handlers still use them for Schutzhund training. So it’s normal to wonder whether or not you need one to get into this dog sport. Here’s everything you should know about the use of prong collars in Schutzhund.
What Are Prong Collars?
Also referred to as pinch collars, prong collars are training and refining tools. It’s a series of chain links with metal blunted prongs. The concept is that when there’s tension on the collar, the prongs pinch the dog’s skin around the neck.
A prong collar is a great way to communicate with your dog. You can use it for corrections or prevent him from pulling on the leash. But like any other training tool, you have to use it properly.
In Schutzhund, pinch collars are popular pieces of equipment. So your training director (TD) and other handlers will probably recommend getting one. Now you might wonder if you need a prong collar, why, and how to use it.
Do You Need A Prong Collar For Schutzhund Training?
A prong collar can be an effective training tool for Schutzhund, but it’s not necessary. Even if most handlers use and recommend this piece of equipment, you don’t absolutely need it. You can train your dog for Schutzhund without using a pinch collar. On the other hand, it will probably take more time and effort.
So you shouldn’t use a prong collar just because everyone is doing it. Depending on your dog’s conditions and personal preferences, this training tool might not be ideal for your needs. But you should first understand better the utility of pinch collars for Schutzhund.
Why Do Handlers Use Prong Collars In Schutzhund?
There are many ways to use a prong collar for Schutzhund. Most handlers take it as a training and refining tool. The pinch of the collar will allow you to communicate with your dog and have control even when in high drive. You can use it for both stimulation and correction in the phases of protection and obedience.
So prong collars are versatile Schutzhund training tools. Many handlers use them principally for corrections. However, experienced trainers know they can stimulate the dog to get the desired result.
A prong collar can help you train your dog for Schutzhund if you use it correctly and for the right reasons. It can also discourage unwanted behaviors, such as lunging and pulling on the leash while heeling or walking. But will the pinch collar cause pain to your dog?
Are Prong Collars Cruel For Dogs?
Although prong collars might seem cruel, they won’t harm your dog if properly fitted and used. The pressure of the collar is distributed all around the dog’s neck to reduce the risk of injury. Nonetheless, you may still perceive the pinch collar as cruel because of the increased stimulation and corrective aspect.
Some people say it’s just another way to communicate and that it mimics the correction of a mother on her puppy. Others think it’s wrong and unnecessary. But like any other collar, the prong can damage a dog’s thyroid, esophagus, and trachea.
I think that everyone should make their own judgment on whether they want to use one or not. If you’re against corrections and aversive training methods, a prong collar might not be the right tool for you.
On the other hand, you might believe in that concept and want to make the most of it. Just be sure to make a decision aligned with your values and goals. And if you choose to use a prong collar, please do it the right way.
How To Use A Prong Collar Properly For Schutzhund?
Once you decide to use this training tool, you need to learn how to do it safely and effectively. First, you have to fit the prong collar on your dog’s neck the right way. It’s probably the most common mistake people make when using it.
A pinch collar should fit tightly around the upper neck, just behind the ears and jag line. It’s often way too low or loose, which doesn’t give you the control you want over your dog. You can choose a collar with smaller links and remove some to make sure it fits perfectly.
Then, you will need to introduce your dog to this new equipment. You can start by putting the collar prong on and let him get used to it without any tension. After that, you have to make your dog understand how it works.
At this point, you should consult and work with a professional trainer or your TD. There are many ways to use the prong collar, and each dog will need a different approach. But after a proper introduction, you should be ready to start using this training tool for Schutzhund.
Best Prong Collars For Schutzhund!
Now that you have a better idea of how the prong collar works and how to use it, you’re ready to buy one. In general, most models are similar and will do the job. However, it’s still essential to choose an appropriate option for your needs. So here are some of the best pinch collars for Schutzhund!
- Herm Sprenger Chrome Plated Steel Prong Collar
- Herm Sprenger Black Stainless Prong Collar
- Herm Sprenger Curogan Prong Collar
As you can see, those are three models made by the same company. Herm Sprenger is a leading manufacturer of metal products for dog sports. They make reliable, safe, and high-quality prong collars.
The main difference between the three options up there is the material. It doesn’t really matter unless your dog is allergic to a specific type of metal. The quality and look might differ slightly, but you can’t go wrong with all of them.
Each link above goes to the description of the product on Amazon. But Herm Sprenger prong collars are also available on more specialized dog sport gear sites. So here are some other places where you can buy them and check other options!
Last Thoughts About Schutzhund Prong Collars!
Finally, prong collars can be helpful training tools for Schutzhund. It will allow you to correct and communicate with your dog. So it can help you improve his obedience and protection skills as easily and quickly as possible.
However, it’s not for everyone, and you don’t need to use a prong collar to do Schutzhund. If you think it’s cruel and you don’t want to use one, you can always train your dog with positive reinforcement or any other method that suits you the best.
In my opinion, the prong collar is worth giving a try unless you’re really against it. The worst that can happen is that you don’t like it. So the next step is to invest in one and get started using it, ideally with a professional trainer.
Have Fun Training Your Schutzhund Dog With Your New Tool!
If you don’t want to use a prong collar, it’s totally OK. But you will still need collars and other gear to prepare your dog for the BH and IGP trials. So here’s more information about the Schutzhund equipment you might need!