Pinch collars – also known as choke collars, poke collars or prong collars – are a type of dog collar that tighten around the dog’s neck, inflicting pain.
The theory is that pinch collars can be used as a training tool, with the discomfort caused by the pinch collar being used to train the dog to stop doing certain things, such as pulling on their leash.
In reality, pinch collars are cruel, can cause serious injury to your dog, and are not an effective training tool.
In this guide to dog pinch collars, we explain what pinch collars are, how they work, why they are bad, and what you should use instead.
How do pinch collars work?
Pinch collars sit around a dog’s neck, just like a normal dog collar. However, unlike normal collars, pinch collars have pointy metal prongs positioned all the way around the collar.
When tension is applied to the leash – whether by the owner or by the dog themselves pulling on the leash – the pinch collar tightens around the dog’s neck.
The tightening of the pinch collar causes the metal prongs to dig into the dog’s neck, which causes them serious discomfort and pain.
What are pinch collars used for?
Pinch collars are sold as a training tool.
Manufacturers suggest that the discomfort and pain caused by the collar tightening around the dog’s neck acts as discouragement and trains the dog.
The suggestion is that the dog will learn that when they do certain things they experience pain, so they will stop doing those things.
Pinch collars are often used to train dogs who have leash aggression (barking, growling and pulling towards other dogs or people) or who pull on the leash while out for a walk.
How painful are pinch collars?
Pinch collars cause metal spikes to dig into the dog’s neck.
These spikes often dig in hard enough to scratch or even puncture the dog’s skin.
When considering how painful pinch collars are, we encourage people to consider how they would like it if this happened to them!
A collar tightening around the neck, and a metal spike digging in forcefully enough to break the skin, is clearly going to inflict significant pain.
How humane are pinch collars?
As pinch collars inflict significant pain and even injury on a dog, we believe they are not at all humane.
At Dogtelligent, we believe pinch collars are inhumane, cruel, and that their use should be banned.
In addition to causing your dog physical pain, pinch collars can also cause psychological damage to your dog. Being restrained with painful spikes around the neck can cause serious stress and anxiety.
Why are pinch collars bad?
At Dogtelligent, we believe pinch collars are bad for two reasons.
Firstly, pinch collars are bad because they are cruel and inhumane – they cause unnecessary pain, physical injury, and psychological suffering to your dog.
Secondly, pinch collars are bad because they are not effective. The best way to train a dog is through positive reinforcement (rewarding good behavior) not punishing bad behavior.
What should you use instead of a pinch collar?
Instead of using a pinch collar to train your dog to walk by your side, you should simply use a normal leash or harness, combined with positive reinforcement techniques.
The following steps will work far better than a pinch collar:
- Stand still and give your dog a treat when they are by your side.
- Next, start to slowly walk and continue to give them treats at regular intervals.
- When the dog moves too far away from you, or starts pulling, stop giving treats and stand still until they come back
- When the dog returns to your side, give a treat and continue walking
- Repeat steps 1 to 4, while gradually increasing the gap between each treat
You’ll achieve the end result you want – a dog that walks calmly by your side – without any of the pain and suffering that pinch collars cause.
And if the above doesn’t work for you, we recommend seeking advice from a dog trainer or behaviourist in your area.
Whatever you do, don’t resort to punishing your poor dog with cruel and painful pinch collars.
Thanks for reading!