It’s not uncommon for you to see another dog owner passing by on the street, dragging behind an over-eager dog that is wheezing and panting excitedly as it pulls and strains against its leash. It might be a little amusing to see the dog taking the owner for a walk, but this sort of behavior can also be dangerous. Leash pulling can cause damage to the dog’s neck or throat and it can be much easier for an excited dog to slip out of a collar and run off with no guarantee of returning without a strong recall.
‘Heel’ is the most important command when out on a walk, as it can relieve much of the dangerous tension that can harm both your dog and you. It can also mean that your walks are much more pleasant and your dog will be much less likely to bolt towards whatever distraction draws his focus. There are a number of strategies and tools that exist to help you teach the perfect ‘heel’, but the prong collar, in particular, tends to be one of the more popular tools out there.
Prong collars, when used appropriately, utilize interlocking links with metal prongs that apply pressure to the area around your dog’s neck when force is applied to the leash. This creates a tension in the form of a correction if a dog tries to pull against the leash. Though the prong collar can be an effective tool, it requires caution and awareness to avoid doing any damage to your dog’s neck area. A proper fit and a well-informed owner can go a long way to making sure your dog can succeed at a ‘heel’ by your side without resorting to using the prong collar incorrectly to achieve the same goal.
First and foremost, you’ll need to find a prong collar with the appropriate fit for your dog. An improperly fitted collar can be dangerous, as too small will cause pain and too large may allow for your dog to escape. A prong collar should also be fitted behind the ears and up towards the head of your dog, rather than around the base of the neck. If you’re unsure of the size or fit of the prong, do some research with your dog’s size and neck width in mind.
Other than that, you may need a handful of treats, a nice and sturdy leash, and a little bit of persistence to obtain the results you want. Rushing a ‘heel’ with a prong collar can be damaging, so it’s important to take your time when helping your dog understand what you want from him.