View Full Version : "Pinch" collar vs. "gentle leader"

07-02-2009, 10:32 PM
So as many here im sure know....everyone has their opinion on which way to train your dog etc. we have been struggling with chewy for quite some time with his desire to chase (herd) cars....our current trainer said to use a "pinch" collar. this has actually worked pretty well...when on he gets somewhat excited still and eagerly watches the cars but no longer really goes after them like he used to.

basically a few good pulls by himself let him know it wasn't comfortable and he stopped. now our current person who runs the doggy day care recently had a conversation with my wife and of course told her that the pinch collar was not a good way to go and that a "gentle leader" was much much better to use.

now my understanding is the gentle leader uses pressure on the top of the nows / snout to train the dog...however everything i read about training said to shy away from ever really grabbing the top of a dogs nose or tapping it ect b/c it is an esp. sensative part of the dog ....

so i am curious what people on here think??? i am sure many have used one or the other but i am curious if anyone has tried BOTH and has seen any differences etc!!!

thanks :)


07-02-2009, 10:54 PM
I have used both, on all kinds of dogs of different breeds and various shapes, sizes, strengths and temperaments (I volunteer at a shelter) didn't really like either...I like this harness the best!!!!



07-02-2009, 11:30 PM
Prong collar works great on Scout. I shied away from using one for a good while, but a trainer friend of mine recommended it after seeing how Scout was.

I was going to try one of those rigs that Laura mentioned if it didn't, but she doesn't pull against it even when I have it set so that it won't tighten hardly at all (you put your leash clip through both the dummy and live rings). She used to really choke herself pulling on a regular collar, but now that she's been wearing the prong collar, she's been learning to do better on the regular collar. My only problem with the harness is that I worry that it wouldn't train her to act right when she wasn't wearing it.

I'm not a fan of the gentle leader because if the dog bucks, it could really hurt itself and you. Also, a friend of mine used one for their dog and it rubbed the pup's nose raw. So, yeah, try the harness but make sure you get it fitted right. I have another friend who has one, but it doesn't work worth a crud. The same trainer friend said it was because our other friend didn't have it fitted right.

There's an article on www.flyingdogpress.com about prong collars that you might want to show to your wife. That's another well-known trainer who is for them. You have to register to view it, but registration is free and they don't spam you. Some other great articles on there, too.

I think some tools can work for some dogs, but no one tool is going to work for every dog. You have to find what works best for you. I put the prong collar on myself and tugged like heck before I ever put it on Scout.

07-02-2009, 11:55 PM
Honestly it sounds like in your situation, either tool is really just a bandaid for the chasing issue. If I were you, I'd be trying to find someone to actually address the behavior you're dealing with, vs. just giving you a way to physically prevent it.

That being said, I prefer to try the front lead harness, then the halter, then the prong when it comes to issues that require a dog owner to have more control of their pet. The harness is first because it is well accepted by the vast majority of dogs and works quickly, the halter is second because when it works it's very effective and humane, but when a dog takes issue with it the halter can become very aversive. The prong is last because there's always the risk of side effects from punishment based techniques (using the behaviorist definition here: punishment is anything that decreases the frequency of a behavior) and it can be used very inhumanely if the user is not fully instructed on use. (My Maggie's dog aggression was worsened significantly due to the use of a prong on the advice of a trainer. )

07-03-2009, 03:57 AM
I've used prong collars on all 3 of my dogs. I've also used a Halti which is like a Gentle Leader. Honestly, I've known more dogs get neck injuries from the Halti or Gentle Leader. Not everything works for everyone. My dogs know when they have the Prong Collars on and they don't do anything to step out of line.

I have one dog with Dog Aggression and when she's on the Prong Collar I make her do things like obedience or watch me to avoid the aggression rising. My sister wasn't a fan of them until they got their Australian Shepherd and a trainer recommend it to her. Now, she uses it on her dog and told me that they actually do work. She didn't like the fact I used one on my dogs.

Alot depends on the dog and how the trainer teaches you to use one properly. Used properly, they do no harm and work great. Even pressure applied all around the neck.

07-03-2009, 09:14 AM
I've got harness collars for both Nash & Pandora now. I do have a gentle lead that I got for Nash last year, and it does work, but I have the TOUGHEST TIME remembering how to put the darn thing on (I'm spatially-challenged, lol). Plus, once it's on Nash, there's a BIG difference in his personality--he becomes *incredibly* submissive when he wears the gentle lead (after trying his darndest to take it off). :naughty:

The harness collars I just got for N & P are the "step in" kind. It's funny, but neither dog likes it when you try to put something on them over their head.

07-03-2009, 09:30 AM
I haven't tried a prong collar but I would sure like to try it on my younger three. If they haven't got out for a few days then taking them for a walk can be pretty crazy they all want to pull your arm out of it's socket. I used to use the head collar on Sandy when she was younger many years ago but since her neck injury I would NEVER.. it sorta help with the pulling but I think any determind dog could get those things off which is scary if your using it for training not to chase or aggression. My younger three FLIP when I put one on them and it's more stressful then anything for them.

07-03-2009, 02:44 PM
It depends on the dog, the problem, and how they are used. I won't go into the million and one things for each of them, but I will say that I don't recommend head halters for dogs who are "bolting" to the end of the leash (nor choke, or even buckle, as they put to much pressure on the trachea if the dog suddenly hits the end), as the halters are designed to turn the head to stop pressure. A dog that hits the end of the leash when it goes to chase will wind up with it's head snapped to the side or worse, which is hard on the neck, and potentially very dangerous.

07-04-2009, 11:36 PM
i guess i should have mentioned that chewy is only 6 months old and as far as the car "chasing" he really hasn't "bolted" after them but has pulled hard sometimes. typically he just starts panting and whining and barking like mad....but once we got the pinch collar and he pulled a bit hard once, he definitely did not like it and does not do it anymore. he is much calmer when we walk with the pinch and does not pull at all though i am sure he wants to....if he gets ahead of me i simply give a small tug and say "back" and he slows and gets on my side....

i was more just curious what people have thought about the different types of leads out there....i would never put the pinch on him on a long lead for fear that he may run and come to a quick jerk.......the pinch definitely has kept him more manageable on the walks..

thanks to all for their 2 cents/advice etc! :)


07-05-2009, 10:04 AM
i would never put the pinch on him on a long lead for fear that he may run and come to a quick jerk.......
Never do it with a Halti or Gentle Leader, as if they are running and hit the end of the long line, it will cause a jerk and twisting motion of the neck, which isn't safe either!

07-05-2009, 06:46 PM
Never do it with a Halti or Gentle Leader, as if they are running and hit the end of the long line, it will cause a jerk and twisting motion of the neck, which isn't safe either!

I agree! You NEVER want to jerk a dogs head back- a neck injury will occur. Sounds like this young dog needs more training. I've used prongs for 30 years- no problems with them, but I would never use one on a long line and never leave the collar on the dog after the walk or training session. I've never noticed any change in aggression after use of a prong collar. I HAVE noticed a change for the better! I can usually faze the use of the collar out after a short while, but I still use them occasionally when practicing for obedience competition.

07-06-2009, 12:06 AM
"Sounds like this young dog needs more training"TexasCDLorenz

so chewy has never ran away so hard that he has "jerked" the collar texascdlorenz...

i was simply stating that i am always watching for what potentially could happen and want to make sure that i am ready in case an incident does present itself so i am ready to prevent it as much as possible...chewy only has the pinch on when we are on walks around the neighborhood where there are cars that come and go a lot...other than that he has a normal collar on which works quite well...

as for chewys training....i find it hard to believe that everyone else here has a 6 month old puppy they can take to the park etc and be around many other people and dogs running after balls etc and be able to be 100% confident with them off lead ....

to not think that their puppy wouldn't at some point decide to start jogging over to see another passer by etc seems like quite a stretch at 6 months. He loves to meet almost all people and dogs he sees!!! heck he still gets bored with playing ball after 4 or 5 good hard throws... maybe we arent far enough along with chewys training since he does get distracted when there are tons of other people and dogs around. he doesn't leave my wife and i often but everyone once in a while someone or something catches his eye and he is off to investigate...

..if anyone knows of a good trainer in the LA area that can have a 6 month old puppy ready to be off lead anywhere you go i would love to know so i can sign up for some classes.....actually maybe taking him to the park to do training each night instead of at home is a good idea...probably a good way to get him to focus on us all the time!!!

07-06-2009, 01:06 AM
I think that everyone here has had some success with one type of training collar or the other. I think the bottom line is that what works for one dog may not work for all dogs. So, as long as you are using the prong in the proper manner and it is as effective as you say, I would continue to use it!

07-06-2009, 08:52 AM
No one is trying to say chewy should be great off leash. What they are saying is you need to do some training to address the problem now BEFORE it becomes a major issue.
Having said that, I don't expect any 6 month old to be good off leash EVERYWHERE but having said that, save for one, all of my dogs can go to the car off leash (we are set back some from the road), but they are very focused on getting in the van to go somewhere LOL. I walk all my dogs offleash in the field beside us, and sometimes at a school I teach at (he has acreage there). I start them on off leash walks from the day I get them as puppies, with tons of treats for coming back on their own choice, etc... I don't say they are perfect, but they are decent. Once a construction guy happened to be there, the ran towards him barking, I called to them to "lets go" and had their toys, they turned and followed and we went home. I don't expect them in pack mode when a stranger appears to be perfect on a direct recall (and in fact I am glad they bark), but they know I am where the fun is and if I walk the other way they will follow. Are they perfect? No. Are they managable for what I want? For the most part yes. And that is what it comes down to. Are you happy with the level of responsiveness for the dog for what you want and given his age? If yes, great, if no, then you work on it :)

07-06-2009, 01:22 PM
I think maybe you took my post wrong. I didn't mean any offense. I wasn't suggesting that you would "jerk" your dogs head and cause injury- I just know that there are several on this forum that may think the head halters are totally safe, so my comment was directed at everyone- not specifically you. Sometimes when these posts get going- from one person to another- I forget the original question:s4:
As for a 6 month old dog being trained to perfection- I don't think ANY dog is 100% ALL the time, BUT- I was at a obedience competition this weekend and saw many 6month olds that were pretty darn good at healing & attention. But, this was inside, not at a park. I can control my dogs (even when they were 6 month) to a point, but knowing they are still puppies, I wouldn't put them in danger, by letting them off leash where there are cars. In your original post, it sounded like your dog was chasing cars- I got the wrong idea (didn't have all the facts) If the pup is just lunging on leash, then the prong collar should take care of the problem. He just needs a little attention work - now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying your dog is out of control- ALL dogs need attention work! My dogs have obedience titles and they still need attention work:biggrin2:

07-10-2009, 02:22 PM
we're in a very similar situation with our Brody. He's about 7-8 months now and he's definitely getting better. And honestly I believe it's due to a couple of things. 1). The pinch collar and 2) our new trainer and 3) we're establishing his place in the family with strict guidelines in the house (took a lot of pointers from that NILIF method).

Originally we signed up with one of those petsmart training classes and they told us to use a gentle leader. We tried it out, and we he wasn't liking it at all and would still pull and get aggressive towards other dogs while wearing it. We brought it up with the trainer and she dismissed it as puppy behavior. So we decided to drop the petsmart training after only a few classes and go with a friend who trains police dogs for a living and also has a side business of training pets. I will say the quality of training we're all getting (my wife and I are learning too ;))is so much better and I honestly feel the new trainer understands dogs much better than the previous one. He recommended us to use a pinch collar and now he's almost a completely different dog. Much calmer and actually walks on a lose leash compared to when he was on the leader. He was pulling so bad on the leader that it was leaving marks on his snout. Our goal is to train him with the pinch collar so he can eventually just use the regular collar once he's older. But it definitely takes time and patience. Also, Brody did do the car chasing bit for a while. He would freeze and get in a "ready to pounce" stance at cars driving by. It lasted a couple of weeks and now he just barely turns his head as they go by. We feel very relieved it corrected itself.
Regarding the doggy day care/dog walkers. We had to lay down the law with our dog walker. She groaned about the pinch collar and we made it clear that if she didn't like it, we can easily hire someone else. At the end of the day it's your dog and you need to live with him/her. I no longer worry what other people say and comment about the training aids we use for our dog. Unfortunately people in my neighborhood can be very judgmental, we've received several looks and comments about the pinch collar already. We just brush it off an continue with our walk...

Karen Miller
07-10-2009, 02:29 PM
All of the equipment in the world can't beat training the dog to walk on a loose leash.

07-10-2009, 05:02 PM
No it doesn't beat it, it helps TEACH it for some.

07-15-2009, 11:34 AM

chewy was getting better now he is getting worse again. i believe a lot has to do with his energy levels. in the morning when i take him out to walk/light jog, he is so wired from sleep etc that when he even hears a car he starts looking for it. now what he does is when the car comes by, he knows he can't pull to hard so he tenses up, gets all flustered that he can chase, and out of frustration turns quickly to the leash and bites it hard and starts shaking it around like crazy!!!! he is very very food motivated but in these cases he could care less about the food...just gos nuts!!! it is embarrassing at times b/c people walk by and see chewy crying and grabbing the leash and shaking violently and crying more...i really have no idea how to stop this one...
i typically get the leash out of his mouth as soon as i can give him a firm "NO" and a tightening of the collar ...he lets go and just waits for the next car to repeat the process....when we take him around streets with no cars or on trails...hes great...no problems ....we don't let him walk in front of us always to the side etc ....

though on trails now he has started looking for rabbits or lizards to go after ...but he doesn't get as crazy when he sees these animals...

07-15-2009, 05:35 PM
will he take a tug toy in these situations? it may make it easier to teach him that way. Start by handing him the toy the second he hears cars, maybe even stop and tug with him for a minute or two. Seperately at first play the "two toy" game. Have two of the SAME toy, tug with one, then show him the other asking him to out the one he is tugging with. The reward is he gets to tug with the second one. When he is smoothly and easily outing the tug to play with the second, start hiding the second until he outs the first on command (hold still, even if he continues to tug, and wait him out, don't tug back, just hold still), the play with the second. Soon, you don't even need the second just the one toy, doing out, tug, out, tug. On the walks, then start working with handing him the toy when you hear a car, and start playing tug out tug out tug out. This will help him learn to self control the furstration. Eventually delay how long it takes after you hear the car before the tug comes out. You will eventually not even need to take the tug out, at least not every time, though all of this will and should be done step by step and a slowish process.

07-18-2009, 10:16 PM

funny b/c our agility trainer had the exact same advice about taking a tug toy with us. we will be trying that from now on.... i think he just is a puppy that doesn't know how to handle the frustration and urge to "herd" right now and over time this will get better (i hope)....ill keep you posted on how this tug thing works :)


07-19-2009, 09:20 AM
Not surprised your agility teacher said the same ;) Keep me posted!

Doug in Alaska
07-21-2009, 12:03 AM
I recently started using a 'prong collar' (advice given by a judge who was up here for our trials) and I'm impressed to say the least. At first, I was horrified by the thing but soon realized it doesn't hurt the dog. I now have a totally 'new' dog! I take full responsibility for the issues we had which caused a need for the collar. I guess we both had to suffer for my lack of discipline here at the house (too much of a buddy rather than leader). Anyway, lesson learned (hard headed ACDs) and he is a far better dog now.