Choke Chains: Debunking the Myth of Stopping Your Dog from Pulling on the Leash

Are you tired of your dog pulling on the leash during walks? You’re not alone. Many dog owners struggle with this common issue and are eager to find a solution. But should choke chains be your go-to answer? Let’s explore why these devices won’t effectively stop your dog from pulling and discover alternative options for a more pleasant walking experience.

choke collar check chain

Understanding the Mechanism of Choke Chains

A choke chain, also known as a choke collar, is a loop made of various materials, such as chain or rope, that forms a collar when slipped through itself. This collar is placed high on the dog’s neck, behind the ears. When the dog pulls, the chain or loop tightens, causing discomfort or even choking for the dog.

The Misnomers: Correction Chains and Check Chains

It’s essential to note that these devices were not created specifically for walking dogs. They are commonly referred to as correction or check chains by dog trainers who use them for brief corrections during training sessions. However, using choke chains to stop dogs from pulling during walks is not recommended and can cause harm.

Variations of Choke Collars

One variation, called the prong collar, features metal prongs that apply pressure to the sensitive part of the dog’s neck without causing choking. Another alternative is the half-check collar, also known as a combi or Martingale collar, which only closes to the extent of a standard flat collar. When correctly sized, these collars can be safer options for dogs with narrow heads.

Further reading:  Is It Illegal to Walk a Dog Without a Leash?

Unveiling the Ineffectiveness of Choke Collars

Contrary to popular belief, choke chains were never designed to stop dogs from pulling on the leash. Using them for this purpose is not only ineffective but can potentially harm your dog. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (A.P.D.T) warns against the use of choke chains, highlighting the following potential issues:

  • Damage to dogs
  • Pain inflicted upon dogs
  • Behavioral problems caused by these devices

APDT Choke Chain Leaflet

The A.P.D.T further explains the medical conditions linked to choke chain usage, including injured ocular (eye) blood vessels, tracheal and esophageal damage, severe neck sprains, fainting, transient foreleg paralysis, laryngeal nerve paralysis, and hind leg ataxia.

Embracing Alternatives to Choke Chains

To address the underlying reasons for your dog’s pulling behavior, consider positive training techniques or investing in non-pulling equipment, such as a non-pull harness or halter. These options prioritize your dog’s comfort and well-being while still providing you with control during walks.

A highly recommended alternative is a front and back D-ring dog harness. By hindering forward movement, this harness reduces pulling and allows you to enjoy walks without causing harm to your dog. The Red Dingo Padded Dog Harness, when paired with a Double-Ended Multipurpose Dog Lead, offers excellent control and comfort.

Considerations Before Purchasing a Choke/Check Chain

Before resorting to a choke or check chain, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I truly understand the intended use of this device?
  2. Am I confident in my ability to properly fit and use this device?
  3. Am I willing to risk causing fear, pain, or injury to my dog?
Further reading:  Leash Training: Mastering the Art of Walking Your Older Dog

If you answer “no” to any of these questions, it’s best to steer clear of choke chains. Refrain from purchasing one and, if you already own one, discard it responsibly.

Expert Guidance and Safe Usage

In rare cases where you have received advice and detailed instruction from a professional dog trainer, and you fully comprehend how to safely use these devices, you might consider a nylon slip lead. This type of lead can function as both a slip collar and a halter-type head collar, depending on how it is looped around your dog. However, it is crucial to always prioritize your dog’s well-being, ensuring controlled, quick, and gentle usage.

Karen's Kollars

Remember, the key lies in understanding your dog’s behavior and using training tools that promote positive reinforcement rather than causing harm or discomfort. By opting for alternatives to choke chains, you can foster a healthy and enjoyable walking routine for both you and your beloved canine companion.

By Jenny Prevel