The Dog Training Collar Report: A Look At The Prong Collar, The Gentle Leader And The Clicker

The Dog Training Collar Report:
A Look At The
Prong Collar, The Gentle Leader & The Clicker!
(This report is a free bonus for all dog owners who are interested in dog training) 

Copyright 2011 by Browning Direct, Inc.

Also, please take a look at:
Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!

Dear Dog Owner…

In my dog training career, I’ve seen training strategies and concepts that have run the spectrum from highly effective to highly unlikely.  Some have been easy to apply and others have taken quite a bit of time and money to install and make work correctly…

I have been very lucky in the success I’ve attained in searching out the dog training techniques that work the fastest and produce both a happy and reliable pet. But every few years a new training technique or tool will pop up and people will start talking about it.   This report will dispel some of the common myth and facts surrounding three of the most talked about tools in the dog training community: The prong collar (commonly called a “pinch collar”), the Gentle Leader (also known as a “Halti”) and the Clicker.

Although the latter two aren’t technically training collars, I’ve included them in this report because most people will compare the pinch collar to the Gentle Leader or the Clicker when deciding how to train their dog.

Here is my criteria for whether a training tool is worthy of being included in my bag of tricks:

  • It’s a tool or strategy that is easy to use and apply …
  • It incorporates a technique that works equally effective on all dogs and can be adapted to your dog’s individual temperament …
  • It is safe and humane and will work on difficult dogs as well as easy dogs …
  • It allows you to actually train your dog …

Ready?… Here we go…

The Prong Collar

It looks like this:

Basics of the Prong Collar: 

Yes… it looks like a medieval torture device.  But looks can be deceiving…

The prong collar is designed to replicate the way the mother would correct her pups in a litter.  Or similarly, how the Alpha dog in a pack would correct the subordinate dogs… that is, by giving a “nip” on the neck.

The prong collar (also frequently called the pinch collar) is made of a series of prongs that link together.

Most pinch collars are designed pretty much the same:  There is a safety ring which rides next to the dog’s neck and a “D” shaped ring that you hook your leash to.  Some pinch collar manufacturers have developed “quick release” mechanisms which may work somewhat differently.

A Safe Fit For the Pinch Collar: 

In order to properly size and fit the collar, you must do the following:

1.)  Understand that size and fit are two different issues.  The size is determined by the SIZE of the prong… not the diameter.  Sizes usually come in small, medium and large.  For dogs up to 30 pounds, a small prong usually works best as you’ll get more “pinch to the inch.”  Dogs 31 to 80 pounds will usually need a medium or sometimes a large size prong.

2.)  The fit of the collar is determined by adding or subtracting prongs to change the diameter.  Simply break the collar open at one of the looser prongs in the middle of the collar and pop off one or more of the individual prongs.

3.)  Properly fitted, you should only be able to fit approximately 1/2 finger space between the tip of the prong and the skin of the dog’s neck.  Trust me, you won’t be doing your dog any favor if it’s too loose and you have to give 10 times the number of corrections and it’s rubbing and chafing her neck because YOU weren’t using it correctly.  Make sure it’s a snug fit… 1/2 finger space!!!

Don’t Teach Your Dog To Be Collar-Smart!

If you put the pinch collar on your dog immediately before training, she’ll become COLLAR-SMART!  She’ll respond like a complete angel when the collar is on but like a real devil when the collar is off.  So, just like the Alpha dog who always has the ability to correct the subordinate dogs (with her mouth)… so must you!  In other words, leave the pinch collar and a tab (1 foot leash or longer) on your dog ANY TIME YOU’RE INTERACTING WITH HER.  You’ll know when she’s proofed when you can call me up and bet me $100 because you’re so confident that your dog is responding with 100% reliability.  If you take the pinch collar off sooner, you’re running the risk of making her collar-smart!

The prong collar is like power steering.  It is a phenomenal tool for teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash, as well as allowing you to give your dog a motivational correction in a manner that gets your point across.  (No pun intended).  Used by anyone other than a complete idiot, this training collar is safe and humane.

More “real world” professional dog trainers use the pinch collar than probably any other dog training tool.

May 1, 2002, Michelle C. adds:  “The prong collars with the quick snap release, work the same as the one you displayed. They are actually better for the novice or women, because removing the collar is very simple, just pinch the snap (the snap is on the chain). People using collars with out the snap release (that I have come across) tend to pull them off over the head instead of undoing a prong. Thus, they don’t have the collar fitted right if they can pull it off over the head and are risking injury to the eyes…. Herm Sprenger manufactures the ones with the snap. They are sold cheap at “


(Adam says:) I recommend ordering a “Good Dog” collar.  It is– for all intent and purporses, a hard plastic pinch collar.  It’s functions pretty much the same way and works (almost) as well as the metal pinch collar.  It is a good substitute for people who live in jurisdictions that have wacky laws and have been coopted by the wing nuts.  Here’s a sample of the Good Dog collar:

From one of our readers in Australia (sent: March, 2003):”Adam, Finally got my prong collar. It is really amazing how slight of a correction is required to be motivational. It is terrific to have a dog that heels correctly.  I am writing back in regards to a supplier in Australia of the prong collars.  As I work in a vet clinic, I had to try all of my suppliers and finally found one that had the collars in a catalogue.  I have spoken to my supplier, Lyppard’s, who are Australia wide. They supply to a large number of vet clinics around the country.  Unfortunately, this supplier does not sell direct to the public.  The best I can do, is suggest that if someone is serious about getting a prong collar, contact their local vet, and if they deal with Lyppards, then the vets should be able to order it in for them from Lyppards, given a bit of time. It took just short of two weeks to get mine. Sorry I couldn’t do better, I certainly couldn’t find a public source of the collars. Also, the collars are only a cheap brand, not Herm Sprenger brand, so it could be worth just recommending ordering them online from the USA.
Hope this helps,

From Lynn Stockwell, 2009:
“In light of the fact that Australia has been a bit wonky with its views of such training collars as the pinch and the remote e-collar, here are a few links containing information about bans, laws, and where to find products within the country (since apparently the RSPCA is banning imports in some areas).
Something to keep in mind is that it’s more commonly called either the Pressure Point collar (hence why you see a lot of “PP collar” references in some places), or a Behavior Modification collar. Anyone with additional links or information, please post a thread in the forum so we can add to it!

The case of Innotek Australia (Orion Pet Products) vs RSPCA

private blog keeping up-to-date (though not anymore, sadly) of the laws regarding the pinch collar in Australia

Some Aussies with working dogs have had success ordering equipment (including pinch collars) from Euro Joe, but again, I’m not sure about the import situation.

K9 Force is located in Australia and has prong collars available for any size within the country. PLEASE NOTE there is no order form, as you must email in an order as specified on this page. I recommend looking around this site if you are in need of some hands-on help in Australia; is has some great information.

letter to the Victorian government to lift the ban on prong collars. This site is full of working dog owners in Australia. It’s a good look-around too. Be warned that links are hidden unless you are a registered member.

Chris Flegler has a Sit Means Sit satellite in Brisbane. If you are near that area, I highly recommend checking him out. He even has some videos up, among other SMS trainers nationwide. Sit Means Sit is a highly respected organization of trainers who use the e-collar, and their results are fantastic. It’s quite the opposite of what the RSPCA wants you to believe regarding dogs who’ve been trained with an e-collar!

Posted May 31,2010 5:07 AM DPTrainer4

Pinch collars are illegal only in certain areas, but they still can run kind of expensive, depending on where you go for them. I did a blog post awhile ago on the various laws and places where you can still buy them within the country which I think Adam included in the book under the Training Collar Report.

Please note that the K9 Force website has changed, they are now K9 Pro, but the policy is still the same: you must email Steve directly in order to get a pinch collar if you choose to go with him. He is an awesome guy and generally responds to his emails within a day. I am not in Oz, but I do quite a bit of emailing, so naturally I had to send one off to him complimenting him on his site and asking him for more information about the ban. According to him, they ARE banned only in Victoria, but the pressure from the RSPCA and the pure-positive crowd makes them pretty much stigmatized throughout the country. In order to really import them legally, one has to have a sort of lisence to import them, kind of like “I’ll say the magic word ($$) and you look the other way,” as it goes in so much of government…except this is actualy for the benefit of many dogs and their owners, and it’s a lot better than having NO pinch collars!

If all else fails and you are unable to get one within the country, there are options for importing one, but getting them through customs is a doozy (according to Steve, it is actually a federal offense to import one, I cannot verify this at the time)…sometimes you can get the prongs and chain shipped separately, but more often than not you will probably have to go with the Starmark Good Dog Collar, which is essentially a plastic pinch collar. It has the same mechanism of action and feeling to the dog, but I’ve heard throughout the grapevine that it can have a bit of a “muddy” feel to it, ie the correction isn’t as quick to engage or release. However, if used with appropriate timing (which, honestly, most dog owners have better than they think), it can be used with success.

Hope this helps, and best of luck with that little ball of gray fuzz…she’ll be growing quickly!

Again, if anyone has any other link submissions or information regarding the laws of training collars in the general Oceania area, create a thread for it for the forum. ”

” K9 Pro and Pro K9 Supplies (two different companies, even with the same words!) are two sources within the country that might be able to supply you with one if you haven’t yet been able to find any.”

(Adam adds: Remote e-collar is mentioned in Lynn’s response, which is different from the pinch collar).

My Rating for the prong collar (5 Stars Is The Best):

  • It’s a tool or strategy that is easy to use and apply …

***** (Five stars)

  • It incorporates a technique that works equally effective on all dogs and can be adapted to your dog’s individual temperament.  

***** (Five stars)

  • It is safe and humane and will work on difficult dogs as well as easy dogs …

***** (Five stars)

  • It allows you to actually train your dog …

***** (Five stars)

The Halti and the Gentle Leader

It looks like this:

The Halti is similar in appearance to the head halter used by horse riders.

It’s fairly easy to use.  It’s cheap.  And it will stop your dog from pulling.

So why don’t I like it?

Because it doesn’t actually teach your dog anything!

The Halti is a restraint mechanism.  There is a huge difference between restraining an animal andtraining an animal.

Yes, these dog halters work.  But the lingering question in my mind is: Why would anyone use one of these to restrain their dog when they can teach their dog not to pull in less than 10 minutes using the pinch collar?

Anyway… back to the Halti.

How does it work, you ask?  The premise is that the halter controls the dog’s head.  And where the head goes, the body must follow.

The main problem is that– in addition to restraining the dog from pulling– the dog also becomes “equipment smart” to the fact that he’s wearing the Halti.  The Halti can only be used for taking the dog for a walk on the leash.  You cannot correct your dog for unwanted behavior with a Halti.

I have heard unconfirmed reports that the Halti can cause harm to a dog’s spine, as many owners strolling through an outdoor market will turn unexpectedly and yank the dog around at a funny angle.  Probably more of an urban myth…

My original review equated the Halti with the Gentle Leader.  The two are similar.  Here is the e-mail I received from the folks from the Gentle Leader Company:

“Dear Mr. Katz — 

My name is Jason Hart and I am the Director of Marketing and Sales for Premier Pet Products.  We are the manufacturer of the Gentle Leader Head Collar and recently came across the report referenced in the subject line (and referenced below).  I am writing to inform you that you need to immediately remove all reference to Gentle Leader in this report for the simple reason that you did not review a Gentle Leader.  You reviewed a Halti based on the picture in the report.

While both Gentle Leader and Halti are both headcollars, they are not the same product marketed under different names as you state in your report.  They do share some of the same principles, but also have significant differences.  You can gather more information on the Gentle Leader by going to our website ( and you can find more information on Halti on Coastal Pet’s website which makes the product.  


We believe that the Gentle Leader is the most effective and humane training collar on the market today.  We are obviously biased, but we also know it is the number 1 vet and trainer recommended head collar on the market and has very strong support in the professional market as a training tool.  In fact the product comes with a training DVD showing how people can use it to help with a number of behavior related issues from jumping and pulling to controlling barking to basic commands such as sit, down and stay.  In addition, we have case studies and video showing how professionals can use the Gentle Leader to manage aggression and desensitization issues.


We realize that there are different points of view on training products and welcome critical review of it and suggestions for improvements as the goal of the product and our company is to provide humane solutions and improve the relationship between people and their pets.  We would be happy to provide information and product for you to do a full review of it with both positive and negatives, but until that is done, you need to remove all mention of Gentle Leader from your report as it is invalid and misinformed.


I would also like to comment on your statement that you “have heard unconfirmed reports that Gentle Leader can cause harm to a dog’s spine”.  While you note that is “probably an urban myth”, I find it concerning that as a trainer you would note it without gathering all the facts to confirm or deny it.  Dr. R. K. Anderson (the co-developer of the Gentle Leader) has investigated all the injury reports that have some to his attention.  There is only one case (which has just come up) where a neck or spine injury can be attributed to the Gentle Leader.  With over 3 million sold, there is only one documented and substantiated case showing it is an urban myth.


As I said, we would welcome the opportunity for you to test the product and provide an opinion on it, but until then respectfully request that all reference to our product in that report be removed.  Please confirm that this will be done.  If you have any questions, I can be reached at the above email and at the phone number below and would be happy to talk with you.”

So, it’s comforting to know that– according to the company– there’s only one neck or spine injury that can be attributed to their product.

Okay– we’re probably nit-picking.  Do I think that these type of head halter devices are dangerous?  No.  Do I think they will generally help train your dog?  No.

My Rating for the Halti and Other Head Halter-type restraint mechanisms
(5 Stars Is The Best, Zero Stars = The Worst):

  • It’s a tool or strategy that is easy to use and apply …

***** (Five stars)

  • It incorporates a technique that works equally effective on all dogs and can be adapted to your dog’s individual temperament.  

**** (Four stars)  

  • It is safe and humane and will work on difficult dogs as well as easy dogs …

** (Two stars)

  • It allows you to actually train your dog …

(No stars)

The Clicker

It looks like this:

Clicker training has become the New Age buzz word amongst the humanist-oriented dog training bunch as well as the “book and pet product” promoters eager to capitalize on this latest trend.

Based on theories of operant conditioning first expounded by psychologist B.F. Skinner, and later popularized by dolphin trainer Karen Pryor in books such as Don’t Shoot The Dog, clicker training involves attaching a positive, motivator (such as food) to an event marker (such as a clicking sound made by a child’s toy known as a ‘cricket’) in order to improve timing and allow the dog to more easily understand which behavior he did correctly.

One of the original uses for this type of training– if I’m remembering correctly– was to train dolphins.  Instead of using a clicker, they used a whistle.

Advocates of clicker training often argue that you can’t put a prong collar on a dolphin, and since this approach was developed to train a beast as large as a dolphin that it is also the best method for training a dog.

But let’s not forget:  Dolphins are kept in small containment areas, where they are surrounded by nothing but water.  Ever.

A dolphin can’t accidentally crap on your sofa.  A dolphin can’t chew through the electrical wiring at the observation park where it is kept.

So using clicker training to teach parlor tricks to a dolphin isn’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison.

The problem I have with clicker training is not inherent to the use of a small child’s toy to assist in training a dog (which, it could be argued, strays away from the natural way dog’s communicate with each other) but rather in the promotion and word of mouth associated with this behavioral approach.  An approach which closely resembles the ramblings of a college girl newly converted to Evangelism.

Furthermore, clicker training has quickly evolved into the poster child of those who view traditional dog training as something closer to torture for the dog, rather than as a method of training new behaviors.  (They refer to using a training collar and a leash as using “violence” against a dog.)

Get real.

The weak point of the clicker trainer’s argument is in the assumption that using compulsion (giving a dog a correction) is the same as punishment and/or force. In reality, a well timed motivational correction is merely a method of telling the dog that he did something wrong.

(I guess they think that the mother dog uses “violence” on the puppies, too?)


Imagine trying to learn how to drive a car with an instructor who only told you when you were doing something right.  And refused to tell you when you were doing something wrong. Sure, you might eventually learn how to drive (if you didn’t kill yourself first), but the fastest and easiest method of learning ANYTHING is to know when you are doing something right as well as when you are doing something wrong.

I feel there is a definite place for clicker training in a trainer’s bag of tricks… for movie and TV training for example… however, as a behavior modification tool… leave this one for the birds.  Or dolphins.

My Rating for the Clicker: (5 Stars Is The Best, Zero Stars= The Worst):

  • It’s a tool or strategy that is easy to use and apply …

* (One star)

  • It incorporates a technique that works equally effective on all dogs and can be adapted to your dog’s individual temperament.  

(No stars)  

  • It is safe and humane and will work on difficult dogs as well as easy dogs …

(No stars)  

  • It allows you to actually train your dog …

** (Two stars)

This report is a work in progress.  If you’d like to add more information to this report, please e-mail me at: and I’ll include it.  If it’s intelligently written.  🙂