I just want to add, I do not do walks = all business. They are supposed to be fun!! I will do portions business only, but the reward for that is to go sniff and wander around, as long as they are not pulling.
I think this is something that for many causes some issues.....its like taking a kid through a toy store and expecting them to totally ignore everything on the shelves. While it is not acceptable for them to run around like loons screaming and lunging for toys, it should be ok for them to check things out and even play with some of them:) A dog learns a lot more than just loose leash walking (or formal heel which I would not use for an entire recreational walk). They learn how to interact with the neighborhood, with people, the sounds and smells, and sights are all information to them.
And no, prongs are not horrible and cruel, but they are a punishment. And often dogs that are a bit reactive or over excited actually turn leash aggressive from them. Everytime they see another dog they get a correction for pulling, they often associate the correction with the other dog and start thinking other dogs are bad. They are a training tool, and if used correctly, should be weaned off rather quickly. And honestly, a prong is not going to stop a dog from running out into the street or getting in a dog fight, training does. I used to use prongs on all my dogs so I do have a lot of experience with them and will never use one again.