This case was a young female Labrador Retriever. Anyone who knows Labs would not be surprised to learn that she was an energetic and bouncy dog.
I can understand that people get tired of their shoulders getting yanked out of the sockets when walking a large, impulsive dog, and training takes a lot of time… a shortcut like a Prong Collar becomes an attractive idea.
But Prong Collars, IF they are going to be used, should ONLY be put on when you are actually taking the dog out on a walk.
This poor girl was in the care of a boarding facility, when her caregivers noticed the oozing sores on her neck. She had a fairly snug-fitting Prong Collar on, that apparently was left on 24/7. Where the tips of the prongs pressed non-stop against her skin, they were digging into her flesh – in places they were embedded about 8 mm deep!
Moral of the story: DON’T LEAVE PRONG COLLARS ON FULL-TIME!
Even better: if you need a training aid, pick one that does not rely upon eliciting a pain response!
I, too, have a Lab, and I do use a training aid to walk her – when she sees another dog and gets excited, that sudden surge can be really tough on the arm.
If you control the head, you control the body – that is where options like the Haltie and Gentle Leader come in.
There is still some concern about the sudden stop at the end of the leash yanking the head around – for my Tyke, I use a headgear called NewTrix. Instead of the leash fastening under the chin, it attaches to a loop that is against the back of the head. Tension on the leash causes pressure on the back of the head.
Dogs have a natural instinct to lean into pressure – this is why you see dogs pulling against a collar that puts pressure on the underside of their throat (often with their front feet dangling off the ground, and their lolling tongues turning purple, dragging along backwards-leaning people who are just trying to stay upright and keep their arms attached…). When we transfer the pressure to the back of the head, this means they lean back into that pressure instead. Which means -Hey!- the dog just stopped pulling!! And look, when the dog stopped pulling, all the pressure went away… instant reward and reinforcement! It has really helped my bouncy impulsive dog – my kids are now able to walk her and keep her under control.
You can check it out at www.newtrix.ca