How to Use a Top Paw Chrome Pinch Training Collar

By Jane Tyne

The Top Paw chrome pinch training collar is a popular collar for controlling leash pulling among dogs of all sizes. The collar has a formidable appearance because of the pairs of metal prongs that point in towards the dog's neck. Used correctly, it is actually a humane training tool. Unfortunately, many people do not understand how to use the collar and risk injury to their dogs as a result. This style of training collar must be fitted correctly and used correctly, for safety as well as good training results. A pinch collar is intended for use only during a training session, and never for all day use.

This chain is far too loose and low on the dog's neck.

curious dog image by Aleksander from Fotolia.com

Measure your dog's neck snugly, up near the back of the ears. Pinch collars are sometimes sold in inches, such as 22 inches or up to 22 inches. Other times they are simply sold in small, medium, large and extra-large sizes, which still correspond to a maximum length in inches (read the collar package). The collar you choose should be closest to the maximum length stated on the package. You can remove or add links as needed to get a custom fit. The collar should fit high on the dog's neck, snug enough that the collar doesn't slide down the neck, but loose enough that it doesn't dig into the dog's skin when there is no pulling.

Unlock one link and place the collar around the dog's neck, close to the ears. Put a prong from one link into its corresponding hole and then squeeze the prong links together until the matching prong falls into place. Refer to the pictures at Leerburg.com in the references below.

Attach the leash to both rings on the pinch collar if this is the first time you are using the Top Paw chrome pinch training collar. This is called the dead-ring, and it limits somewhat the pressure that is applied to the dog's neck during a correction. The dead-ring leash connection is the safest and should be used unless your dog does not respond to it. If you need the greater pressure of the live-ring, connect the leash to just one ring.

Use a second slip collar that also fits snugly, above the pinch collar, and attach the leash to both collars at once. Ed Frawley, of Leerburg Kennels, calls this second collar a "dominant dog collar". It is a rope or nylon "choke" collar that fits close to the neck and should always be used along with the pinch collar because pinch collars can sometimes pop off just at the moment you need them the most. This second collar is a must to avoid tragedy, such as your dog attacking another dog or running in front of a car.

Keep the leash loose at all times except when actually giving a correction. If the leash is not loose, the dog will learn to pull harder and harder, resulting in injury to both you and the dog. Walk with a loose leash and at the instant your dog moves a bit ahead, pop the leash to apply pressure immediately and then release. If the dog does not slow down, apply another correction rather than just keeping the leash constantly tight.

Remove the collar by pinching together a prong link and unhooking it.