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Is a prong collar or harness better?

Is a prong collar or harness better?

In the world of dog training and walks, the choice between using a prong collar and a harness can spark quite the debate among pet owners and trainers. Here at Guangzhou QQPETS, where we craft an array of dog walking essentials, we’ve heard all sides. But which is truly better for your canine companion?

Generally, a harness is often seen as the more humane and safer choice for most dogs compared to a prong collar, which can provide more immediate control but at the risk of discomfort or injury to the dog.

What’s the Prong Collars?

Prong collars, also known as pinch collars, are a type of training collar used for dogs that is designed to mimic the corrective behavior observed in nature, such as a mother dog nipping her puppies to teach them proper behavior. These collars are constructed from metal and have blunt prongs facing inward toward the dog’s neck.

Pros of Prong Collars

  1. Effective for Strong Pullers: Prong collars can be effective for teaching dogs not to pull on the leash, especially large or strong dogs that are difficult to control with standard collars.
  2. Immediate Results: Many users report immediate improvement in behavior upon using a prong collar, which can be a significant advantage in safety-critical situations.
  3. Mimics Natural Corrections: The design of prong collars is intended to mimic the natural way a mother dog might correct her puppies, by using a nipping action around the neck.

Cons of Prong Collars

  1. Potential for Injury: If not used properly, prong collars can cause physical injury such as puncture wounds, bruised skin, and damage to the tissue around the neck.
  2. Risk of Misuse: Because of the pain they can inflict, there is a significant risk of misuse or overuse, which can lead to aggression or fearfulness in dogs.
  3. Not a Long-Term Solution: Prong collars do not address the underlying behavioral issues; they only suppress the undesirable behavior temporarily.
  4. Negative Association: Dogs may begin to associate wearing the collar (and thus walks or training sessions) with discomfort or pain, which can lead to increased anxiety or behavioral problems.
  5. Public Perception and Legal Restrictions: Prong collars are viewed negatively by many people, and they are illegal or restricted in some countries and regions due to animal welfare concerns.
  6. Reliance on Equipment: There’s a risk of becoming reliant on the prong collar for control, rather than training a dog to behave well without it.

How Prong Collars Work

When the leash is pulled or the dog pulls against the leash, the prong collar tightens and the prongs pinch the dog’s neck. The discomfort it causes is intended to deter the dog from pulling and to correct undesirable behaviors. The idea is that the dog associates the discomfort with the undesirable behavior and learns to avoid that behavior in the future.

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Prong collars can be controversial because if not used properly, they can cause pain, discomfort, and even injury to the dog. This is especially true if the dog is a persistent puller or if the collar is not fitted correctly.

Why Harness Be a Better Option?

On the other paw, harnesses are like a cozy bear hug for your dog—secure, comfortable, and evenly distributing any pressure across the chest and shoulders rather than the neck. This is particularly advantageous for breeds susceptible to tracheal or breathing issues, like pugs or bulldogs.

Harnesses also offer varied styles to suit different needs, including no-pull versions that help control dogs without causing discomfort. These are designed to gently redirect your dog’s momentum sideways, making it easier to train them not to pull while walking. Dive into the world of harness types at types of dog harnesses.



Why are Prong Collars still being used?

While I advocate for harnesses, I acknowledge that prong collars have their place under certain conditions. For instance, they can provide the necessary control for owners handling large, strong dogs that might otherwise be uncontrollable. However, they should only be a temporary tool within a broader training regimen aimed at phasing out its use through positive reinforcement.

Remember, the key to using a prong collar responsibly is education and professional advice.

What Should You Choose for Your Dog?

Selecting the right tool depends on your dog’s size, breed, behavior, and your training goals. Most dog trainers and veterinarians recommend starting with a harness, particularly for puppies and dogs in training, because it is gentler and more forgiving of mistakes, both on the part of the dog and the handler.

QQPETS is the leading wholesale dog harness manufacturer of adjustable harnesses for dogs and other items that people may use when walking their dogs. Our goal is to make dog walking easy for pet owners by providing valuable accessories. We offer a variety of customization services including custom logos, custom graphics, custom products and more. If you want to start your dog products business, check out our website and contact us today.


FAQ about prong collar and dog harness

  1. What are the main differences between a prong collar and a dog harness?
    • A prong collar is designed to control by applying pressure around a dog’s neck when pulling, while a harness distributes pressure across the broader area of the chest and back, reducing strain on the neck.
  2. Can a harness provide the same level of control as a prong collar for a dog that pulls?
    • Yes, especially if it’s a front-clip harness, which can help manage and reduce pulling by redirecting the dog’s movement towards the owner.
  3. Are there any risks associated with using a prong collar on a dog compared to a harness?
    • Yes, prong collars can potentially cause physical harm like puncture wounds or psychological distress if not used correctly, unlike harnesses, which are generally safer.
  4. How does a dog harness promote better behavior compared to a prong collar?
    • A harness does not cause discomfort or pain, which can foster a more positive learning environment and reduce anxiety during training.
  5. What type of harness is best for a dog that has similar behavioral issues as those typically corrected by a prong collar?
    • A no-pull harness with a front attachment point is effective for training dogs that pull, as it helps control the dog without causing pain.
  6. Can a prong collar be harmful to a dog’s physical health or behavior in the long term?
    • Yes, incorrect use can lead to neck injuries and potentially foster aggressive or fearful behavior due to pain or discomfort.
  7. How should a dog be transitioned from a prong collar to a harness?
    • Gradually introduce the harness during positive, low-stress experiences, and use treats and praise to associate the harness with good things.
  8. What are the signs that a dog is not responding well to a prong collar, and a harness might be a better option?
    • Signs include avoidance, fear, aggression when seeing the collar, or physical injuries on the neck area.
  9. Are there certain breeds or sizes of dogs for which a harness is recommended over a prong collar?
    • Yes, harnesses are particularly recommended for small breeds, brachycephalic breeds, and dogs with tracheal or respiratory issues.
  10. What training methods can be used in conjunction with a harness to achieve the same results as a prong collar?
    • Positive reinforcement techniques such as clicker training, treats, and verbal praise can be very effective when used with a harness to encourage good behavior without coercion.
QQPETS Author

Article by

Kyra Luo

Product Design Manager

Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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QQPETS Author

Kyra Luo

Product Design Manager

Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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