Inquiries to Ask About That Weird Prong Collar Diagram

Expensive Canine Proprietor,

I’m writing to let you already know of some actually dreadful misinformation going round.

However first, right here’s the reality.

It’s quite simple. Prong collars harm canines. They’ll harm lots, relying on how tightly they’re mounted and the handler’s conduct. Typically the feeling could also be as little as gentle discomfort. However make no mistake: if carrying a prong collar will get your canine to cease pulling on the leash, it’s as a result of it turns into uncomfortable to take action.

In case you take have a look at a prong collar, your instinct will probably be right. Ouch! Although these prongs are blunt, they switch loads of stress right into a tiny space.

Sadly, some trainers who use prong collars will go to nice lengths to defend them, typically by making stuff up. It’d be one factor if they’d say, “Proper, I do know the collar hurts this canine, nevertheless it’s one of the best factor I understand how to do. I’m keen to seek the advice of knowledgeable for different concepts on how one can deal with this case.” However people maintain on to our biases. So as an alternative, in opposition to what we will straight understand with our personal senses, prong defenders make up fairytales about how useful such collars are for the canine. They’re getting an increasing number of agitated and give you an increasing number of absurd defenses.

If a coach has informed you that prong collars are good for canines as a result of they “distribute stress” across the neck or “shield the trachea,” please know that this isn’t the case.

Listed below are a few of the many holes within the foolish claims about prong collars.

The Diagram

I’m going to critique a sure diagram (and some different arguments about prong collars) I’ve seen on-line. However I received’t hyperlink to the diagram. I hate vague-posting, however I can’t see one other moral manner by this swamp. I really feel sure to say one thing concerning the misinformation, however I do know that linking to it, even for criticism, will promulgate it. So I’m on this bizarre place.

In case you haven’t run throughout the diagram (I’ll describe it in a second) or heard these arguments, nice. Simply bookmark this put up and go in your manner. In case you come throughout bizarre claims about prong collars sooner or later, you may come again and browse this text.

When you’ve got seen the diagram and arguments, and possibly even been persuaded by them, this put up is for you.

The diagram has a drawing of a prong collar with forces drawn on it to supposedly “show” that prong collars don’t put any stress on the entrance of a canine’s throat. That is incorrect, and it’s simple to confirm on your self in actual life if you wish to put on a prong collar connected to a leash, then have somebody pull steadily in opposition to it. Or you may use ballistic gel to create a mannequin to check this on, which might be safer. This can be a real-life case of the Emperor’s New Garments. The purveyors of those myths are asking you to go in opposition to what you may understand along with your senses and as an alternative, imagine a fairytale.

I’m going to provide you some fundamental vital considering factors for this diagram and others prefer it by the lens of fundamental engineering mechanics. I’m suggesting what inquiries to ask while you see diagrams that purport to painting the forces on prong collars.

Notice that the individuals who put up diagrams like this placed on the mantle of science and accuse anybody who disagrees with them of “being emotional.” Ya know, if “being emotional” makes you notice that what your coach advisable is hurting your canine, then extra energy to feelings. However right here, empathy and science agree. The prong customers’ makes an attempt to use science to help their bias are absurdly mistaken.

The diagram in query seems impressively science-y, with its vectors and arrows and cosines. However it wouldn’t get a passing grade in a highschool statics/dynamics course. It lacks required definitions, descriptions, and disclosures of approximations and assumptions. It makes use of the mistaken sort of diagram for the data it purports to current. It’s the other of spectacular; it’s determined.

So right here’s what to do in the event you encounter this diagram. Ask the one that is posting some questions. The questions observe right here in a lot element. You possibly can, in the event you like, skip all this and obtain the one-page PDF with the questions on it. However the extra of the small print you may perceive, the extra you’ll notice how ridiculous the diagram is.

Inquiries to Ask concerning the Prong Collar Diagram and Claims

l. Which of the 4 major pressure situations involving a prong collar does this diagram illustrate?There are at the least 4 potentialities. My explanations of them embrace some technical particulars, however you may undoubtedly get the gist of it with no sturdy math background.

Pressure Situation A. The stress of the prongs themselves on the canine’s neck with no leash connected. The prongs are creating stress inward whereas the canine’s physique is pushing outward in a state of static equilibrium. The stress exerted by the prongs of the tightly fitted collar (as per the becoming directions) is at all times ignored when folks declare prong collars “shield the trachea.” Regardless of the orientation of the collar—whether or not the chains and attachment space are in the back of the canine’s neck or the precise facet of the neck, a few of these prongs are within the entrance of the canine’s throat, urgent inward.

The formulation for that is ΣF = Σ(ma) = m1a1 + m2a2 +m3a3 + • • • + mnan = 0.

In plain English, that implies that the sum of all of the totally different forces involves zero. That’s as a result of the collar is stationary. It doesn’t imply there aren’t any forces. It means they stability one another. Think about a decent belt. It may exert stress in your stomach with out being connected to anything. It will get uncomfortable quick. Now think about it with prongs on the interior floor. There may be a lot much less floor space on prongs than on a belt (or flat collar), so the stress is concentrated. It doubtless causes ache or at the least discomfort. On a prong collar, the inward stress will probably be distributed across the neck and be roughly equal for all of the prongs. However that’s when there isn’t a exterior stress on it. Keep in mind—we haven’t connected a leash to it, but.

A prong collar not connected to a leash remains to be exerting loads of concentrated stress on a canine’s neck.

Pressure Situation B. The steady-state pressure when a leash is connected and it’s taut between the canine and handler (i.e., the canine is pulling). The pressure of the leash pulling backward balances with the pressure of the canine’s physique tissues and different bodily components pushing roughly ahead. The collar tightens due to the motion of the chain by the holes. However even after it’s tight, the stress exerted by the totally different prongs won’t all be the identical. They may rely upon the route the canine is pulling and the orientation of the collar.

Consider the belt once more. If you’re carrying a decent belt and somebody grabs part of it and pulls you towards them, the belt now not has equal stress throughout your waist. In the event that they pull on the precise facet of your belt and also you resist, there will probably be elevated stress on the left facet of your belt. Likewise, in the event that they pull on the again, there will probably be elevated stress on the entrance. The prong promoters argue that the prongs, due to their angles, someway magically direct the stress away from sure areas. Even when that had been true in the best way they argue it (it’s not), decreased stress in a single space means elevated stress in one other. Pressure doesn’t simply go **poof** into skinny air. It has to go someplace. So relying on the orientation of the collar on the canine’s neck and the route of the pressure, there isn’t a space of the neck that’s magically protected against stress from the prongs 100% of the time.

I perceive why folks purchase the concept that the prong collar “protects” the canine’s neck, although that’s an extremely misleading factor that prong trainers say. Think about a canine carrying a flat collar pulling on leash for all they’re value—pulling and gasping. Not nice for his or her neck and throat. If one used a prong collar as an alternative, the canine **would possibly** pull much less. You would possibly see much less pulling and gasping. That’s why folks use them. Pulling much less decreases the kind of pressure described on this situation (however not essentially the opposite three). However to then name that “defending” the canine’s neck is doublespeak at its best. There are a lot better methods to guard a canine’s neck than to poke issues into it in the event that they pull. And keep in mind, loads of canines do pull when carrying prong collars. Mine did, the few instances a few years in the past that I used one.

OK, again to the mathematics. The forces are vectors, with each magnitude and route, but when the canine and handler are shifting as a unit, the sum of the forces is roughly 0. Let me emphasize that that is an approximation. The canine and the handler will at all times make minute adjustments in route, which create acceleration. The acceleration creates a sum of forces that’s nonzero. However for an approximation, we will assume the pulling is regular and in the identical route, and the sum of the forces = 0.

The formulation is identical, however the numbers in it will likely be totally different: ΣF = Σ(ma) = m1a1 + m2a2 + m3a3 + • • • + mnan ≈ 0.

The prong is tighter and exerting extra stress into the canine’s neck asymmetrically when the leash is making use of pressure

Pressure Situation C. The dynamic pressure of a correction (jerk on the leash) when the leash is connected to the “reside ring” of the prong collar. The reside ring is the one that enables the collar to tighten when there’s pressure transmitted by the leash. With this sort of correction, the pressure is instantaneous and dynamic and the sum of the forces does not going equal zero; it would equal mass instances acceleration. The tightening of the chain a part of the collar directs a few of the pressure to shut and tighten the remainder of the collar through a pulley, then the remainder of the non-symmetrical pressure can transfer the canine off stability. The formulation is ΣF = Σ(ma) = m1a1 + m2a2 + m3a3 + • • • + mnan = ma.

A jerk of the leash, when it’s connected to reside ring, causes an instantaneous, dynamic tightening of the collar

Pressure Situation D. The dynamic pressure of a correction when the leash is connected to the “useless ring.” The useless ring holds the collar at a continuing tightness. With this sort of correction, the pressure can also be instantaneous and dynamic and does not going equal zero. Once more, it would equal mass instances acceleration. There isn’t any pulley motion and fewer or no tightening on this case as a result of the configuration of the chain is mounted. A forceful correction of this sort could have forces that differ from (C) above, and could also be extra prone to pull the canine off stability. However the formulation can also be ΣF = Σ(ma) = m1a1 + m2a2 + m3a3 + • • • + mnan = ma.

A jerk of the leash connected to the useless ring (each rings) causes an instantaneous, dynamic jerk on the canine’s neck and will pull the canine off stability

Even in the event you don’t care to observe all that, know that there are totally different forces concerned with prong collars, and a few can go on on the identical time.

Of the forces above, A is a static pressure, B could be approximated as static, and C and D are dynamic forces. Static and dynamic forces are computed otherwise. And keep in mind that B, C, and D at all times add to the baseline pressure of A. In case you ask which pressure is being mentioned or represented in a drawing, prong fans normally received’t reply this, as a result of doing so reveals that their one drawing is simply a tiny a part of the large image (moreover being mistaken). They aren’t presenting the true mathematical image in any respect.

2. In the event that they inform you which of the 4 pressure situations the drawing illustrates, ask them to put up diagrams of the opposite three pressure situations. Ask them to debate how these forces mix and work together, and whether or not there is likely to be much more situations. Posting one diagram when there are a number of forces that work otherwise is unethical.

3. Ask them what orientation of the collar on the canine’s neck their diagram represents. Is the leash attachment space on the precise facet of the canine’s neck, as directed by many paid trainers who use prongs, or on the again of the neck, as many lay folks use it?

Leash attachment portion of the prong collar on proper facet of canine’s neck as directed by some trainers

Leash attachment portion of prong collar on the again of canine’s neck, as generally utilized by lay folks

This query will even present that they aren’t presenting an correct image. They won’t wish to reply it.

If you wish to see real-life images of the right-side attachment, seek for “ Match a Prong Collar.” Ed Frawley has a put up on the Leerburg web site. (I received’t hyperlink it right here, nevertheless it’s simple to seek out.) He states that one ought to place the attachment part of the prong collar on the proper facet of the canine’s neck, not the again of the neck. The images of the Doberman and the Malinois on that web page present the precise facet attachment and also will provide you with an thought of how tightly the collars are mounted (see part A above).

In the event that they do reply the query concerning the orientation of the collar, ask them to offer a pressure evaluation that applies to the opposite orientation. All the weather will rotate by 90 levels, and the leash angles will in all probability change. Ask them how these two orientations have an effect on any claims concerning the stress of the prongs going to zero at sure elements of the canine’s neck. It may’t be the identical half in each instances (if that declare had been even true to start with).

4. On any diagram, ask whether or not it represents a statics downside or a dynamics downside. Why did they not make the excellence? (One other immediate fail in our highschool mechanics class.) Most appear to be drawn as statics issues, however in addition they appear to characterize the forces of a correction, which is a dynamics downside. Do you see how it’s to the prong collar defender’s profit to go away that half imprecise?

5. If the drawing is a two-dimensional rendering, ask them what margin of error this approximation introduces, since leashes connected to collars create forces in three dimensions. Leash stress is never precisely coplanar (on the identical aircraft) because the collar orientation, which is the belief behind utilizing a two-dimensional drawing. The next images present the route of the leash pressure (black leash) and its relationship to the aircraft of the collar (yellow line).

Determine 1. Pressure of the leash is roughly coplanar with the collar. On an actual canine, the orientation of the collar can be nearer to vertical since it’s normally positioned shut behind the canine’s ears, however that doesn’t work on my stuffed canine.

Determine 2. Pressure of the leash isn’t coplanar with the collar

Determine 3. Pressure of the leash isn’t coplanar with the collar

If a diagram is two-dimensional, this assumes that the pressure of the leash is coplanar with the collar. That is not often the case in actual life.

It’s defensible to make use of a two-dimensional approximation of the issue, however provided that the creator discloses the approximation and features a dialogue of the methods this might skew outcomes. When the pressure isn’t coplanar with the collar, as an illustration, the higher and decrease prongs within the pairs don’t exert pressure equally. Within the picture straight above, the place the leash is taut and being held larger than the aircraft of the collar, the decrease prongs of the entrance pairs will exert extra pressure into the canine’s neck than the higher ones.

Once more, this may be a permissible simplification, however provided that the diagram creator acknowledged it and mentioned the results it had on the accuracy.

Different Issues with the Diagram

The diagram I’m discussing has another apparent errors. Once more, I cannot hyperlink to it, however these are common rules you may apply sooner or later in the event you see such diagrams.

The diagram has a two-dimensional downside drawn onto a three-dimensional perspective rendering of the collar. This creates errors within the angles. To precisely draw the angles they’re making an attempt to characterize, you want a view trying straight down on the collar. The picture on the left instantly under approaches that. Discover how the higher prong of every pair nearly obscures the decrease. I shot that photograph nearly straight down. Now, have a look at the higher and decrease prongs within the picture on the precise. Drawing angles onto a picture like that one and claiming that they’re legitimate can be an immediate failure in any mechanics course.

To characterize an object akin to this sort of collar precisely, a high view and facet view needs to be offered. A 3-dimensional rendering might be included to point out readers higher visualize the article. This isn’t the place you draw your angles, although.

In one other horrible error, the creator of the drawing drew the angles on elements of prongs that weren’t linked to one another. They used the highest prong for one part of every angle drawn, however then used the underside hyperlink on the collar, the half that doesn’t connect with the highest prong, for reference for the opposite a part of the angle. The primary picture under reveals the part that’s working as a unit and needs to be the premise of any angles computed.

These elements of the prong collar are a part of one useful unit

The second picture reveals how elements of the collar that aren’t straight linked had been used for computing angles.

These elements of the prong collar should not straight linked to one another

This can be a delicate level to observe, however it’s an egregious error.

A closing downside is that the drawing doesn’t account for the change in route of the pressure ensuing from the pulley impact of the chain that tightens on the attachment space of the collar throughout a correction. A pulley adjustments the route of a pressure. That is an particularly attention-grabbing omission as a result of if the creator had seen it, they may’ve used it to help their argument (which might nonetheless be inaccurate, although). That they missed this reveals that we could also be coping with extra ignorance than deception. However the finish impact remains to be the identical: they’re utilizing fallacious math to help a biased and incorrect conclusion.

When pressure is utilized to the reside ring, that pressure adjustments route because the chain pulls by components of the collar that act as pulleys

Bonus Fallacious Argument

This argument could not accompany any specific diagram. However it is not uncommon, and so demonstrably mistaken.

If somebody states that the prong items are performing as levers, ask for particulars about this. Levers are machines that amplify (enhance) pressure. Ask what class of lever it’s: 1, 2, or 3? (That one, at the least, is a straightforward query—if there’s a lever operate occurring right here in any respect.) Ask for an approximation of the mechanical benefit of the levers (ratio of load and energy). How a lot do the levers enhance the stress from the prongs on the canine’s neck? Rising pressure is the operate of a lever. So prong customers who declare that the prong items have a lever operate are taking pictures themselves within the foot. Levers enhance pressure.

A real lever has a load that’s regular (at a proper angle) to the lever itself. Consider a seesaw (a category 1 lever). We put masses (youngsters) on high of the seesaw; we don’t apply a pressure horizontally and push it from finish to finish. If we did, it wouldn’t be functioning as a lever. Ask for a diagram exhibiting a element of a prong performing as a lever and the forces utilized by it, together with the ratio of effort to pressure. Ask how a lot the lever is rising the pressure on the canine’s neck. As a result of that’s what levers do: enhance pressure.

Succinct Printable Doc with the Questions

I do know that is awfully lengthy. So here’s a one-page doc that has the important thing inquiries to ask while you encounter a prong collar diagram that purports to point out useful results.

Inquiries to Ask About Prong Collar Claims


It by no means appears to go properly when defenders of prong collars attempt to attraction to science. It could be humorous if it weren’t tragic that individuals could make stuff up, take shortcuts, refuse to outline their phrases, and received’t disclose approximations—and persuade many individuals that they’re producing good science merely by drawing some arrows.

To not point out that they persuade many individuals, who of their hearts could suspect in any other case, that they’re doing factor for his or her canine once they use a prong collar. Individuals do determined issues when their canine has a conduct downside they don’t know how one can repair. I definitely did.

Some could ask why I didn’t present my very own diagram of the forces. I believe I’ve made it fairly clear that it will take multiple diagram. The interplay of forces on a prong collar isn’t a easy downside. It must be addressed with the extra refined mathematical modeling instruments we’ve got now, such because the finite factor technique.

Take-home message: One drawing can’t characterize all of the pressure situations on a prong collar. It’s an inexpensive deception. Trainers who use ache or discomfort to coach or handle canines have to personal it. They should cease making up tales about defending the canine’s throat when as an alternative they’re painfully concentrating pressure into tiny areas.

Copyright 2021 Eileen Anderson

P.S. I’m maintaining feedback closed for now. I’ve been engaged on this on and off for months and am uninterested in the entire thing.

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