I Don’t Even Need The Prong Collar Anymore

Lifting the collarRecently, I received one of the nicest compliments I think anyone could give me.

I started my new group training classes last week.

In my basic obedience class, I have a 9 month old puppy that has been through puppy class previously and the owners had desired another class to tune up.

After all, I am a firm believer that just one obedience class is never enough.

I actually have clients who have gone through several classes with me because they are having fun playing and learning with their dogs!

The first trainer put a prong collar on this puppy.

Let me just mention that he is not even a big, aggressive, or over exuberant puppy (not that I think there is any excuse for a prong collar on a puppy!).

I guess I just don’t understand that mentality.

I  suppose it makes classes easier for the instructor because the dog listens because of pain and intimidation; but I don’t agree with this laziness.

I think a good instructor, well… should actually INSTRUCT and help build the relationship with dog and human.

We should TEACH our dogs, not just force them.

And, we (those of us who are trainers) should remember that the dog doesn’t always have a prong collar on (at least I certainly hope not).

The OwnerTraining with dogs

The owner came to the first class prepared to use the prong collar.

I am not a fan of them, but under certain circumstances and provided they are not abused in my classes, I allow people to show me how they use them.

I had outlawed them in previous years, only to see clients our walking their dogs with them!

So now, I would rather help educate my clients rather than make them feel harshly judged.

The First Class

So the first class we worked on “eye contact and focus” for more on that click the link. We also worked on “leash manners” for more on that click the link.

And, we worked on making learning and training fun!

We talked about always rewarding the dog on the left side so that he wants to be there.

We went over using a clicker, and marking behavior and why this makes for superior training and playing games.

GamesGood Dog

After all, games make training more fun!

Would you prefer to go to work to do tedious things… or would you prefer to go to work and play games?

Unfortunately as humans, most of our work is tedious and requires a certain amount of being meticulous.

But dogs don’t need to live in a serious world.

Part of my amazement of dogs is how happy, energetic, and full of life they always are!

I believe we shouldn’t take that away from them by adding pain and confusion.


So the nicest compliment that I could get after one week of training was how this dog didn’t even need these negative training tools anymore!


And, the truth is; you won’t either if you work diligently and make it fun!

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  1. Minette is a fantastic teacher and trainer!

    We (my 7mo old, 6 pound Yorkie named Kona) and I are in a group training class. In the first two weeks, he went from being a dog who could do the basic sit, down, come to a dog who loves training sessions and now has a very reliable recall, “leave it”, a beautiful loose leash walk and is showing patience and manners around treats.

    I completely trust that with Minette’s help he will as well behaved as our 12 year old working therapy dog.

    It isn’t just big dogs who need manners!


    Minette Reply:

    Awww Thank you! I love you all 🙂


  2. Anneliese says:

    What locations do you have those training classes? My fear is that they would be too far from where I live and at times I can’t make it. Could you kind of give me an idea of what I’m looking at?


    Minette Reply:

    My classes are in Anne Arundel County Maryland. I do however have many internet classes I run here for the dog training secret. Our companion dog course, our aggression coaching program, our fear course are all run by me using my videos and techniques. You can contact Dana with customer service to find out when we will be starting a new course. info@thedogtrainingsecret.com


  3. Hal Wrobel says:

    Question about clickers and treats: I’m not a professional trainer but I’ve always loved and had a good rapport with dogs. And I’ve always managed to train them, not to do clever tricks, which I had no interest in, but all the basics needed for the dogs, me, my family, and guests to live comfortably together. And I’ve always done so by showing pleasure or dissatisfaction with the dog’s behavior (never, ever physical or verbal abuse). Since dogs are extremely sensitive and aware of their significant others, this has always worked for me. Of course my dogs got treats sometimes after obeying a command, but not regularly and not often.
    So is it that clickers and treats make training more time-effective, or what? Though I’ve always found speed of learning to depend on the ability of the individual dog to grasp information.
    (Regarding verbal abuse, I mean no shouting, except in the event of immediate danger to the dog when off leash. I say “Stop” loud enough for her to hear. She stops, sits, and waits for me to say “OK.”)
    Beyond this question, I find your posts very valuable, and often brilliant.


    Minette Reply:

    It is all about science. We are trying to communicate with a being that is not human.

    And, not all dogs care about pleasing people, you have been lucky to get these gems.

    Read this http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/clicker-dog-training/


  4. Donna says:

    Need help. Have 3 cocker spaniel bitches. Two years old out of same litter two will fight one another last time one ended up going to vet. Fight is aggression not toys or food. Food is always in different areas of house. Love them both. Should I go ahead and find home for one of two who fight before it gets worse. Last time I had to hv stitches in my wrist because I goofed and tried to separate them


    Minette Reply:

    Not all dogs get along. If you keep them you might just have to always have them separate. You can’t “force” them to like one another read this http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/love-dog-lesson-sociability/


  5. Melissa says:

    I have a question about the prong collars. I only use one when we go outside to go potty because she pulls me all over the yard. I use a regular collar when we walk. Any Ideas how to stop the pulling in the yard? She doesn’t pull when walking I trained her out of that but I cant figure out how to teach her in the yard where she is free to sniff and do her business but needs to be on a leash.


    Minette Reply:

    use the search bar to search for leash manners.

    I also reward them while they are in the zone and I teach them they can never pull. it is never going to be successful


  6. Joyce Abel says:

    Thank you for saying “never” to prong collars. I am a dog trainer and also a representative for a national dog/cat food chain which takes me into pet stores to promote the food. Along with that I help customers find what they are looking for when store associates are unavailable. When looking for a “choke” or “prong” device, I steer them towards the Martingale collar, noting that it is considered escape proof, made for dogs who get out of their collars, for greyhounds because of the same size neck/head, etc. Although I am only a visiting vendor in these stores, my opinion must be subdued so as to not deter customers from purchasing what they want, but I want to give them an alternative to more humane approach. Do you have any glowing comments on Martingale collars that I may incorporate in my referrals?


  7. Cindy says:

    I have many clients that try all the ‘kind’ equipment, come to class for a few weeks and try all the ‘kind’ training methods that I teach, and are so very grateful when they get the prong collar I had been recommending for most of the time for their particular dog and are able to walk their calm, attentive dog almost immediately! Any equipment can be abused, it is an art to use any aversive tool or method correctly. It took a lot of practice and a bruised relationship with a dog to learn to use a prong correctly, and for what dog/client team. But to have a dog get proper exercise and socialization and the owner doesn’t get their arms/shoulder/back damaged while the team practices ‘kind’ methods is priceless.


    Minette Reply:

    I think that is lazy training.

    A dog should be trained to not pull on leash.

    My clients are seeing results after ONE week


    Minette Reply:

    I have a client that was taught how the “art” of prong collars and her dog is terrified of making a mistake.

    he is now off the prong and learning to work for toys. He is happy and about to get his first title


  8. Mary says:

    My Malinois/Pit mix was very out of control. A trainer turned me on to the Martingale collar/leash combo. It was absolutely amazing to see my beautiful dog walking in a controlled manner within just a few minutes. However, dog owners need to understand how to use this tool. The neck loop needs to be very high up on the back of the head/neck, just behind the ears. And also very high up on the front of the neck in the soft part of the neck. This will provide control without choking experiences for the dog. It is the most effective tool I have used with out of control issues. Prior to this tool, my dog used to pull me down, almost dragging me across the yard. He’s a big dog and seemingly one big muscle. Now a little flip of the Martingale and he’s stopped in his tracks before ever having a chance to land me on the ground. Love it! As soon as I put this collar on him, he knows it, and his behavior immediately changes. This may sound weird, but its as though he respects it.


  9. FidoJones says:

    Prong collars should not hurt the dog at all if used properly. But most people don’t use them properly, and have constant tension on the leash. In fact I believe correctly used prong collars are ultimately more natural, gentle and effective then any other collar as they can simulate a mother gently but firmly correcting her pups. (Try it on your own arm or leg first to get a feel for how hard to correct.) When used with skill, you should barely ever have to do anything. And before you know it you’ll have a dog that walks perfectly by your side.


    Minette Reply:

    Training tools are exactly that, just for training. And, I would disagree. I wouldn’t want a prong collar on me… I just think there are better ways to train


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