I am amazed at the controversy that seems to surround the Choker, or Check Chain.
If used correctly Choker Chains are a fantastic resource for quickly teaching basic commands to your Dog. Any training aid can be construed as cruel if it is used inappropriately. I have lost count of the number of people I have seen walking their Dogs in public places with long leads and their Dogs pulling them all over the place. As far as I am concerned I would much rather have my Dog close by my side than dictating to me where we will walk and possibly causing an accident by lack of control. So why not use Dog Choker Chains?
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Choker Chains Help Quickly Bring Your Dog To Heel
I know that this is all about the training regardless of what lead/leash is used. A properly trained Dog should not be pulling regardless of what lead is used. In a perfect world we would all have Dogs that walked to heel with a slack lead that almost never needs to be reigned in. This can and will happen after sufficient training and for me the choker chain is the quickest way to get results. It also ensures that while training progresses you have total control over your Dog on a short and secure lead.
Choker Chain Training
How To Use A Choker Chain Correctly
A choker chain works on the principle of a quick snap and release to reinforce your commands. There is never a prolonged tightening of the Chain around the Dogs neck. The force is much more evenly distributed than a regular Chain, where all the force is applied to only one part of your Dogs collar. As far as I am concerned an even pressure is much more preferable than all the force being on part of a traditional collar, with the added possibility that your Dog can slip the Collar completely and run amok in built up/dangerous areas! A Dog Choker chain is much safer and gives you much more control as well.
Choker Chain Training must be done correctly. A quick snap of the Choker is what is required to “grab” your Dogs attention and nothing more. There is NEVER a prolonged tightening of the Chain.
Your Dog will quickly learn to walk to heel and will stop pulling on the lead very quickly. The sensation is uncomfortable for them as the Choker tightens so they will create slack and thereby come to heel. If they don’t create slack themselves you quickly “snap” the Choker and create the slack. Choker Chain Training is useless if you always allow your Dog to create tension on the lead. As with all training aids it is important that you know how to use the tool effectively.
Choker Chain Training Tips
- Never leave the Choker Chain on your Dog when unattended or for any other time apart from Dog walking. If it becomes tangled or caught in anything it could easily strangle your Dog.
- A quick “snap” and call to heel is all that is required. The Choker is NOT to be used with prolonged tension.
- Never use a Choker Chain on a puppy. You must wait until your Dog is properly developed and is of sufficient size to use it effectively.
- Ensure your Dog is a suitable size/breed for Choker Chain training.
- You should check with a Dog Trainer to ensure you understand the proper use of this very effective training aid.
If you are having problems with your Dog not learning to heel and behaving inappropriately on the lead then a choker chain , if used correctly may well be the answer to quickly getting your Dog to heel on walks.
How To Put On A Dog Choker Chain
Putting the Choker Chain on your Dog is very straightforward. It really doesn’t take much practice at all. It is simply a matter of slipping the loop over your Dogs head and then holding on to the leather handle. Very simple and once you can slip the Dogs Choker Chain on quickly it becomes second nature. Just be careful when you put the Choker Chain on your Dog that you don’t accidently let it get between your Dogs teeth. It is actually surprisingly easy to do. Make the choker chain for Dogs in to as large a loop as you can and it will then be easy to slip over your Dogs head. You are then set to use a Choker Chain to quickly teach your Dog to heel.
Ensure you know how to use a Choker Chain correctly. All training aids may do more harm than good if you do not use in the correct manner.
May the Doggie Force be with you all.
Great writeup as always!! It’s good to get the other side of the story, as I have definitely heard a lot of talk about these things in the past, and you’re exactly right when you say anything can do more harm than good if not used correctly
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How about an Easy Walk Harness — much easier on the trachea and no need to snap the choke chain.
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Laurieluck, of course each to their own.
What I am saying is that a normal collar and lead is much worse on the Trachea than a Choker. I have never found a Choker to be bad on the throat as long as it is used correctly.
great article! we recently got a choker for our dog because he pulls so badly with a normal collar. it is helping tremendously and he doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort after walking. he is becoming a really good walker now. i LOVE the collar.
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Thanks for your comment. They work really well don’t they? I am just so surprised people believe they are cruel. Used properly they are very effective.
Hope to see you commenting here again.
We started using a choke collar on Timber in the last month or so. I don’t think we’re using it right though … he still pull really hard and ends up taking up all the slack. We’ll quick snap and turn the other way but he just runs forward. *sigh* We have some special training scheduled with one of our daycare ladies (who is also a trainer) next week. I so badly want to be able to walk him with Trooper and not have to take each one separately.
I definitely do NOT think they are cruel. What is cruel is letting a dog go crazy, get away, and get hit by a car or get lost.
We tried two different gentle leaders and they did NOT work for this boy. We rescued him from an abusive situation and he did not know what a leash even was! He threw himself on the ground our first walk out.
He’s come a long way. 🙂
I am sorry it is not working out for you. Hopefully it will in time. I hope the training next week helps.
I think as with lots of Dog training repetition is the key. I also find that as short a lead as possible helps immensely. This stops the Dog putting much weight in to the “forward lunge”!
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people who put a choke chain on their dog do not have the slightest idea how to apply it correctly. Many have the wrong size on the dog where the chain has too much lead and a quick snap is impossible.
Pinch collars are also very effective tools despite their Machiavellian appearance.
Of course the most humane training is clicker training — also referred to as positive reinforcement training. While the choke chain and pinch collar are both forms of pt, they are not the established method of pt. Positive reinforcement training involves a clear mark for desired behavior and ignoring undesired behavior as the instinct of the animal is to do those things that get it what it wants — food, attention, play.
I could not train my birds using a collar of any kind, but using Clicker training or Positive Reinforcement training, I have birds that allow me to trim nails, do tricks and are excellent companions despite the fact that each and every one of them being rescues mostly due to biting issues.
Yes, choker chains and pinch collars are good tools but only in the right hands. When in the wrong hands or in the hands of people who have no idea how to properly use them, they are abusive.
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Many thanks for your very well written and constructive opinion.
We each have our own opinions on many matters and a very well presented argument such as yours is food for thought for us all.
I look forward to many more constructive comments from you in the future.
Hey those are all good points. Anyone who is against the use of choke collars either doesn’t know how to use them or they have just never had a dog that pulls really bad. For dogs that pull extra hard, a pinch collar or prong collar will do the trick. I’ve never tried one of those anti-pull harnesses, but Gentle Leaders and Haltis work well. The problem is they only prevent puling, they don’t teach the dog anything.
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Here’s my post on pinch collars:
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Lindsay, great points. For heavy Dogs they work fantastically well. They LEARN not to pull, which is what it is all about.