I was never a fan of pinch collars for dogs other than those massive Bull Mastiffs and some of the larger breeds. It was always my opinion that if the dog was more powerful than the owner than I could see them being warranted. It just seemed to me that otherwise it was unnecessary, maybe a little cruel and, well, they just look mean. Maybe I’m a bit of a softy. All that changed, however, when we got our Border Collie. A little 25 pound Border Collie!
Our dog, Ned, was very excitable as a young dog. All that energy in the breed just boiled over making him near impossible to walk on a lease. We worked with him, walked him, trained the heel command…everything we could think of and read about. He would stay nicely in heel like a good little dog until something caught his attention like another dog, a squirrel, a bug, a leaf blowing by or pretty much anything under the sun. We had been taking him to Puppy Training class (which I’m no longer ashamed to admit) and after the 5th or 6th week the trainer, a great lady by the way, asked the question, “Have you considered using a pinch collar?”
Walking our Border Collie on a leash was like flying a kite in high winds. He was all over the place! The trainer explained that it does not “hurt” the dog and the pinch collar was not used as a “punishment” but more as a corrective and training device. As young puppies dogs are often corrected by their mothers and other dogs with a quick nip to the neck. The pinch collar mimicked this behavior letting the dog know that they were acting out of sorts. My wife and I were, at that point, beyond frustrated and agree to a trial run with the pinch collar.
The trainer slipped the collar over his head sort of telling us about how it worked. As our dog sat their another dog walked close by in the training area. Ned, true to form, bolted off after this dog and, upon coming to the end of his leash, let out the most ear splitting YELP I’d ever heard! My wife and I instantly both felt like the worst dog owners on the planet. Luckily our trainer was right there and quickly explained that, first of all, the dog was more surprised than hurt and secondly that he was fine. A quick check of Ned confirmed this. She went on to explain that with a Border Collie, due to how quickly they learn new things, he probably would not repeat that mistake twice.
Boy was she right. From that instant on Ned never again would run around like a maniac on the leash. He very quickly learned where the end of the leash was and settled down into heel very smoothly. We have never “yanked” the leash to make the pinch collar work as, as soon as Ned feels a little pressure from the collar, he slows up a little bit. We only had to use the pinch collar for training purposes for about 2 months. After that we went to a normal collar and he has been great ever since.
As you can tell I an now a huge fan of these collars for training a puppy, especially a Border Collie puppy. We quickly learned that the metal ones can rust easily (especially when exposed to salt water at the beach) and we’ve had a few occasions where the pinch collar comes apart when Ned shakes out his fur (even after bending the prongs a bit with pliers). After doing some searching we found a Plastic Training Collar that worked great! Good luck!