Many dog owners use choke and prong collars to train their dogs. They’re made of metal chain material, that tightens around a dog’s neck when the owner pulls or jerks back on the leash. These “corrections” cause the dog pain when he pulls on the leash or misbehaves. While this type of training may inhibit certain behaviors for the moment, it is not a long term solution to a training problem. These collars can even create behavioral issues such as fear or aggression. So, are choke and prong collars safe?
Our general consensus is NO. Choke collars can cause pain, discomfort and injury to a dog’s neck, head and spinal cord. A dog’s neck contains his trachea, esophagus, thyroid gland, lymph notes, jugular vein, muscles and his spinal column. One jerk or yank can cause injury to any one of these areas. For example, a hard yank can inflame the thryoid gland, and result in hypothyroidism, weight gain, skin problems and organ failure.
Some studies have concluded that the force applied to a dogs neck increases pressure to the dogs eyes, and can cause eye injuries.
Prong collars are similar to choke collars, except they contain metal spikes that dig into and pinch the dogs neck if he pulls on a leash. The theory is that the pinch mimics the actions of the dogs mother grabbing a puppy’s neck with her teeth. There is no scientific evidence to support this theory, and it’s unlikely that dogs relate the pinch of a collar to a correction by their mother.
Any jerking or pulling of a collar can be harmful to a dogs neck and throat. Allowing a dog to pull hard on a lead can cause damage to a dog’s neck and internal organs and spine. There are more effective and humane alternatives for training your dog, such as a chest-led, no-pull harness. These harness can help stop your dog from pulling without instilling fear or pain, or the possibility of injury.