What we have been failing to do successfully

What’s missing from our Blog posts, training articles, Facebook page and videos?

If you have been a fan of my work, you will likely have watched my videos, read our articles and maybe even trained with me or attended a workshop. If you have a think about it, you will notice the absence of a component you will frequently find in other places.

Before I discuss what that is that we seem to be “lacking”, I might just run through a few articles I have read on the web this week on other sites, Facebook pages etc.

One site has been making pretty big noise over the use of prong collars, he has a picture of a dog that has some puncture marks on its neck form the alleged use of a prong collar.

It sure is a shocking pic isn’t it?

Is this typical of prong collar use?
Is this typical of prong collar use?

What I don’t get as I grabbed the phone numbers of my lynch party and went out to hunt down people who use prong collars was: –

  • How is it that I have used Prong collars in some circumstances on some dogs and have never caused an injury?
  • How is it that I have instructed and coached many people on how to use Prong Collars and never seen a picture like this in 30 years of working dogs?
  • How is it that I have never seen any of these injuries?

In any case, if a prong collar will cause this then I too think they should be banned, why should some unsuspecting responsible dog owner be faced with their dog having puncture marks on its neck!

Just before I jump aboard this high horse, I thought I might gather some more evidence to arm myself with, as others seem to do.

In no time at all I came across more examples!

I have added some Icons here as some of these pictures are gruesome, don’t click if you may be offended.

This first one is of a dog with quite a severe collar injury around its neck, problem is that the collar wasn’t a prong collar, it was just a piece of chain left on for way too long.

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This next one is a much worse collar injury, this one though came from a dog that was wearing a Nylon collar and was chained up with it, the dog grew bigger and the collar became too small, this caused the dogs neck to grow around the collar!

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This one is yet another collar injury, as you can see in the picture though, it isn’t a prong collar, it is a check chain, aptly named a “Fursaver”. It didn’t seem to save the fur in this case, but again the description is that the dog was tied up for months on this collar.

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This next one is horrific, it is a collar injury but as you can see, the collar in question is a simple rope collar, again left on too long.

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Do they use prong collars on cats? Nope but this cat has a collar injury, collar left on young cat, cat grows bigger, collar wont stretch, cats neck is a mess.

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The dangerous element here is a human…

You don’t need a prong collar to cause a neck injury and in fact correct use will not cause a single injury. The pic above may have come from a prong collar, but was it left on, how was it used? These are all the more important areas to focus on because as you can see, any collar can cause horrific neck injuries.

Should we ban all collars?

The unsuspecting dog owner will not fit a prong collar and come away with an injured dog, so why focus on peddling this propaganda?

Well if you do find someone who is stupid enough to tie their dog up for months without checking it and end up with a neck injury like is in these pictures, they will likely be guilty of stupidity and freely admit it and apologise, you will get no argument from them like you will get from someone who has made a choice for their dog on a training tool they think will help.

No argument means no feeding of trolls, so it is easier to bait people who are well intended but have a different view, dog and or training methodology than you if you want emotive arguments.

Another story I read highlights the cruelty of using an e collar, the sensationalism in the claims is something to behold. When I read these claims I have to wonder where do these people come from and what are they trying to achieve here?

Again most myths that circulate around electric collars is pure propaganda created by people with a motive, they are big on information but short on facts and or proof.

A client of mine was recently called an abuser as they use a No Reward Marker, a NRM is a verbal cue that the dog missed out on getting a reward due to a choice the dog made in training, in fact I have a client that has her NRM as “missed it“.

A person came to train their Obedience Trial dog and the dog jumped on her, I said tell your dog no and she froze and said “the people I train with would hang you for that, they are purely positive“.

I guess hanging somehow fits into the positive scheme.

If I see a dog suffering at the hands of someone who is being genuinely cruel to it, I will say something and do something, and have. If I wasn’t that type of person I would report it, berating people for the choices they make in training their dog is ludicrous.

When I said we are missing something here at K9PRO, it is the fact that we are absent all the posts, videos and Facebook attacks on people and equipment we choose not to use or agree with, I made and insist on a policy here with my staff that we don’t involve ourselves in the petty political squabbles that circulate around us and our chosen field.

Forums can be a great place for support but they often are a haven for keyboard warriors who have little to no experience dealing with dog behaviour but will be handing out advice day in, day out. They have picked up all the terminology, jargon and theories but take a look at their dog and you will see just what they can do, or rather can’t.

This is a difficult for the novice dog owner seeking help to navigate through and I often find people come here for help after following the advice of the warriors and they have a practically incurable dog. Not because the original problem was so deep seeded, but because they have layered over the top of that problems one, if not more behaviour modification techniques that only exacerbated the original problem.

Were the techniques they used bad or wrong? Probably not but they may have implemented them incorrectly, the technique they chose may not have been right for their dog or they may not have carried it out correctly.

The major problem is that there has been no professional diagnosis carried out and this has meant that a cure was prescribed without knowing the actual problem. It is easy to describe the symptoms, but not so easy to define the root cause of the behaviour.

Imagine if you said you felt sick and I reached into my medicine cabinet and said “here this is medicine, it will make you better, it made me better”. Would you take it?

I see many arguments debates and non factual sermons that I could get myself right into and field facts, experience and results to combat what is being said, but that is not how professionals conduct themselves.

Taking this high ground has its drawbacks, but in the end it is all I have that stands between me and the others that spend their days abusing, intimidating, threatening and berating others.

If you want to focus your attention somewhere, go looking for these people who leave collars on their dogs for months or years, those who dump dogs, fight them and are obviously cruel to animals, I promise you there is enough of these people to go around.

Perhaps we all can be a little more supportive of other dog owners and the methods, tools, dogs and choices they make.

Love to hear your thoughts!


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  1. Hi Steve – good post and from reading my (many) comments in FB in relation to that photo that’s been bandied around there’d be no prizes for guessing my thoughts (which equate to yours). Except that I don’t understand that anyone is accepting that the injury photographed has got anything to do with injury from a prong collar at all. The angle of the punctures are wrong; the width between the punctures are wrong. Should it even be entertained as a possibility of having been caused by a PPCollar, do you think?

    • I don’t for a second think someone fitted a prong collar to that dog, did some training (any type of training) and that was the outcome.

      Did the prong cause that either being left on for god knows how long, did someone sharpen the prongs or did something else other than the prong cause this? I think we might need Horatio Kane from CSI Miami to answer that one, but I am very skeptical.

      As I have said, I have never seen as much as a scratch on a dog after using a prong collar, I have watched some very heavy handed trainers use prongs and never seen an injury then either, so what collar caused this to me isn’t important, its what where they doing with said collar!

  2. I have a Great Dane who is gentle and obedient but fearful of new things. After almost being pulled into oncoming traffic a professional dog trainer demonstrated and trained me how to correctly use a prong collar. My dog readily accepted the collar and has realized that she mustn’t bolt when scared but look to me for guidance. Without a prong collar I could no longer walk her as I would be endangering my dog, myself and others.Thete are dogs for which a prong collar is the best solution. Far preferable to the alternatives of never leaving the backyard or worse still, rehoming. I would ask those who vilify prong collars to consider stories like mine before perpetuating the myth…..

  3. Good article!

  4. 100% hands down a great post. I stopped going on all dog forums for these exact reasons. A lot of people are just looking to feed their egos and get attention for matters they don’t have a proper understanding of.
    That photo of the dog with an embedded prong collar injury floats around so much. It’s a shame we live in a society where ignorance rains thick and fast

  5. The only time I’ve ever seen a dog suffer a injury from a prong collar was when the vermin using it had “touched ” up the points with a file to make them needle sharp. And once again I reported him to the authority’s just as I would and have report genuine abuse . I have a good quality prong from a previous dog never needed it recently but leave it in my tool box along with a fur saver and a e collar . I recently put my Aunt on prong collars she’s about 55 kgs ringing wet and owns a Great Dane and while generally obedient there were some control issues when walking mainly cats. This had resulted in her being injured on two occasions in minor injuries after he had taken her for a walk. The pair now happily walk everywhere together and my Aunt has no problems and its been almost twelve months . It took literally 4 x 10 min sessions with her and Banjo and I’m not a dog trainer by any definition. Happy healthy dog that gets looong walks every afternoon and a happy lady that does not stress in regards to dog walks . I know I’m an arms dealer and perpetrator of evil .8)

  6. Completely agree, people are always the problem, not the dogs. I am a total novice dog owner but I adopted a large dog from the rspca under the proviso we never got a second dog or had her around men because she was so madly aggressive with both. 2 months down the track I have adopted a second large doggy friend and all her man issues are gone. Through the correct use of training tools and making sure my dogs know what I expect from them when it comes to behaviour, we get to do all the fun stuff like swim at the beach and go camping, and they even get on the front of the dirt bikes with anyone available to go for a ride! which is what everyone wants in a dog! I wouldnt know what I would have done without your guys martingale collars. But they are only ever on when we leave the house for our daily jog, and straight off again when home. People need to do the research and practise themselves what works for them and their dogs. Sometimes saying “sit” and giving them a treat isnt enough. And also exercise, exercise, exercise! A tired dog is a happy dog :o)

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