One dog we will not approach
As a positive reinforcement trainer who is concerned with the canine/human connection I do
not support the use of these barbaric collars. They only cause more problems in dogs with problems and without.
When we are out on a walk; I am constantly reading body language. On leash greetings are far more complicated than off leash, so I am very choosy about who we say hi to. With our recent visit to OR; both Luke and Elsa had more than their fair share of cranky greetings. Cranky greetings can lead to your own dog becoming cranky in defense. Nice dogs can be hard to find; but even nice dog greetings can go wrong. I watch body language and gear; one dog that we never say hi to is a one wearing a prong/pinch collar.
For those of you using prong/pinch collars, read on before you get cranky. Prong/pinch collars work by delivering a pinch; hence the name that the collar was given. I have had sooooo many users of these collars tell me "they don't even hurt." Well, tell me then how they work? What is the premise around it? You can't, there is no other form of correction except the pinch. That is how they are meant to work by delivering pain when the dog pulls. This pain is the reason that we don't say hi to obvious prong/pinch collar wearers.
Association - the connection or relation of ideas, feelings, sensations, etc.; correlation of elements of perception, reasoning, or the like.
Elsa and I came across a nice young Labrador wearing a prong collar. He was also at the end of an extension leash and a very inexperienced owner. We had no intention of meeting with them; but as we passed the dog ran towards Elsa excitedly; that is until he hit the end of the leash and got an almighty pain delivery. He then turned from a nice guy into a frenzy crazed dog. The association was quite clear; other dogs in the vicinity mean pain. The owner yelled to me "he's sort of out of control;" ya, you think? But the cause of the problem remained illusive to the owner; even though it was quite clear.
Many trainers throw a prong collar on a dog who needs control training. When the dog lunges or becomes unruly at the approach of another dog; they receive a yank, which is meant to correct the bad behavior. Sadly what the yank does is to further fuel the dogs unruliness. Even if a human does not yank on the leash; a lunging dog will deliver the pain themselves, causing the association. It is all very easy to understand if you just sit back and think. So many people use prong/pinch collars; many hide them under a plastic cover so that they don't feel the shame that putting those metal barbs on our dog can cause. Yep, good ole human guilt is at the core of the prong/pinch collar cover. I saw one the other day; when I realized what it was the woman hung her head and said "yes, she still needs training." It wasn't a moment to teach so I just shook my head and moved on. Sadly it was a very nice little dog; hopefully she won't be ruined by that collar in hiding.
Dogs who approach to say "hi" often are fine until they get closer. The closer they get, the more excited they get, the more they pull and BAM, the pain delivery; right as they are close enough to your dog to get aggressive. So we basically stay away from prong/pinch wearing dogs; that is if we can see the collar. Does the collar mean that it is a bad dog? Oh no, it means that the owner doesn't understand what they are creating and we don't want to be involved in that process.