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Many of us think of the choke collar as an inevitable part of the dog training arsenal.
Purchasing a choke collar may seem as natural as buying food bowls or a leash. Choke collars have a long history of use and have long been considered a standard element to successful dog training.
However, times do change and things we once thought eternal are sometimes proven obsolete. That is the case with the choke collar. It is time to abandon the use of choke collars and to seek out alternatives.
Choke collars can be used effectively when they are operated in the correct manner. Unfortunately, most people tend not to use the device correctly. Even those who attempt to get the best possible use from a choke collar often misuse it accidentally. Considering the presence of workable alternatives, there is no reason to cling to a device that may not be correctly utilized.
For instance, proper use of a choke collar requires proper placement of the collar. Choke collars are premised on the notion that the owner/trainer will be able to, with a quick flick of the wrist, tighten the collar around the dog’s neck as a disincentive for unappreciated behavior.
Likewise, a quick movement on the part of the owner/trainer can then be used to loose the tightened collar once corrected behavior is underway. In order for the collar to work in this manner, it must be placed with the moveable portion of the collar atop the neck of the dog. Otherwise an owner/trainer will be able to quickly enforce a choke but will be unable to release it as quickly.
Observe the next several dogs you see wearing choke collars.
You will undoubtedly notice the number of these collars that have either been incorrectly placed on the dogs neck or, as is often the case, have slipped and readjusted to put the moveable portion in the dangerous spot of being under the dog’s neck.
Training a dog in this manner does not allow for the quick release of choke necessary and risks both the dog’s health and unnecessary cruelty. Instead of mere redirection and training, an improperly used choke chain can become something just short of a torture device.
Considering the ease with which a choke collar can slip out of position—particularly when used with the unruly dogs who need training interventions the most - it does not seem as if there is a valid rationale for maintaining the collar’s use. There is simply too much risk associated with the collars.
Of course, choke collars should be promptly removed after a training walk or session. However, for a variety of reasons they are often left on when a dog is unsupervised. This can occur out of sheer ignorance of proper training techniques, by simple oversight, or when a dog breaks a leash or otherwise escapes his owner/trainer.
When worn out and about, choke collars are very dangerous. The open ring to which a leash may be attached can get caught on any number of items. Dogs, will instinctively attempt to back away when confronted with such a situation. As they struggle, the collar tightens, furthering their sense of danger that instinctively leads to even more efforts at withdrawal. This snowballing affect poses a serious danger for any dog that finds his choke collar snagged.
Some advocates of choke collars may not find these arguments compelling in their personal circumstances. They may feel as though they understand and comply with the proper use guidelines for a choke collar. Again, a choke collar can be an effective tool when used appropriately, so it is understandable that some would continue to argue for its use. However, choke collars inevitably have some risk associated with them, even in the most skilled hands.
Meanwhile, there are options that have been demonstrated as, if not more, effective for dog training that avoid those risks. Head halters and similar devices are able to get the same results without the attendant risks of the choke collar.
Considering the presence of a safer choice and the risks associated with the choke collar, it would seems as though it is time to do away with the venerable device. Despite its long history in the world of dog training, today the choke collar should be considered a thing of the past.
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