Monday, July 11, 2016

Product Review: Top Paw Easy On Prong Collar

Top Paw's new Easy On Training Collar is one of the several new styles of prong collars to hit the market in the last couple of years. Unlike traditional prong collars that tighten with a chain loop, and must be unclipped at the chain or have the links themselves separated, this one uses a nylon strap that unbuckles. It is available in four sizes, and the collar can be custom fit by adding or removing links.
Prong collar with plastic buckle
Photo by Erin Koski

I don't use prong collars on my dogs, for a number of reasons. The biggest is that a prong can increase reactivity and make dogs more worried about whatever they may be reacting to. I have used prongs on some large and physically insensitive client dogs that did not have reactivity issues. They aren't torture devices in the right hands, and I like them a lot better than choke chains for average pet owners and their undisciplined Labradors.

This particular prong collar is interesting enough to be worth discussing, which is why I put it on Brisbane long enough to take a picture. I've seen a few people use these, and I always worry a little bit when I see them take the collar off or put it on. See, the prong collars with the chains that open with a snap open up all the way, and to put them on you must thread the chain back through the other end of the collar.

The Easy On prong collar does not open up all the way. The two halves of the plastic buckle do not slide all the way through the metal part, so the collar just opens up wider while remaining in a circle. To put it on, you have to slip it over the dog's head. Though the prongs are dulled, they could still potentially catch an eye or sensitive bit of mouth when pulled over the dog's head. For this reason, I strongly recommend the prongs be flipped inside out when putting the collar on or taking it off. It adds a few seconds to the procedure, but I think it's worth it to minimize poking a dog in the eye.
Petsmart plastic buckle pinch collar
Photo by Erin Koski

This is an easier prong collar for the general public to use, but I don't find it quite as versatile as the traditional ones. With a chain loop, the leash can be clipped to the rings on either side so that the collar does not tighten. This makes the collar less severe. The Easy On prong collar has a single leash ring that tightens the collar when pulled. There is no secure attachment point that does not tighten the collar.

Pros: Much easier and faster to put on than a traditional prong collar with a chain. Does not require unlinking. Easier to use with sore or arthritic hands.

Cons: Does not open fully, must by pulled over dog's head. Leash cannot be attached in a way that does not tighten the collar.

Bottom Line: Call me crazy, but I'd actually rather see a dog walking somewhat decently on a prong collar than gasping and straining against a flat collar while putting unnecessary wear and tear on their trachea and neck nerves and stuff. Use a prong, use a head halter, use a no-pull harness, use a regular harness, train them to walk nicely or use a bandaid for the problem, just do something.

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