Choke - to stop the breath of by squeezing or obstructing the windpipe; strangle; stifle.
Collar - anything worn or placed around the neck.
What happens when you put these two words together?
The other day I was driving through my neighborhood when I passed by a guy walking his dog; or rather a guy choking his dog on their walk. The dog was a young black Labrador and was pulling like his life depended on it. The man was oblivious to what was happening to his dog's neck; as are most people who throw a choke collar on their dog.
I remember years ago when my training box contained many different types and sizes of choke collars in it. But you won't find one anywhere in my home, car or anywhere else that I might keep collars and leashes.
Choke collars choke. A dog's neck is not the place for one.
I understand that perhaps they are needed when capturing stray dogs so that they don't slip a collar and get away; but that should really be the extent of their use.
Choke collars use to be just what people used. No one much thought about what was actually happening with them. Many people who still use them don't consider what they are doing to their dog by using one. A choke collar has no "stop choking" mechanism; as long as the collar has tension on it, it's choking. Even if you don't yank on a choke collar; they continue to choke with tension.
I often see people with a choke collar and an extension leash on their dog. Two of the worst things put together to create a constant choking hazard. People don't think about what a choke collar does. They throw it on thinking that "this is what you put on dogs." Then they blindly attach the collar to a constant tension leash.
The man walking down the street while choking his dog for the duration of their walk saw no issue. This is the problem, people don't think. Not thinking can have a very dangerous outcome. But we humans tend to go through a great deal of our lives not thinking about much of anything that we do.
Hold up, wait a minute, stop and think for a second.
Choke collars should not even exist anymore. I think we are much smarter now and should leave them in the history books with many other things that we have evolved beyond. Seeing a choke collar on a dog makes me cringe as I see it as a dangerous thing. They can do a great deal of damage. Think before you put your dogs collar on. If you have a dog that pulls; a choke collar is one of the worst things that you can put on them. The more they pull the more it tightens.
If you are an old conventional choke collar trainer; meaning that you yank on your dog when they are not complying, maybe have a look at your training method. Does choking your dog seem like a good idea?
There are so many options for collars. If you are worried about your dog slipping their collar, get a martingale style that prevents this. The wider the collar the better; although I much prefer a harness over any collar for walking.
Not only can choke collars literally choke your dog; they can do so much damage to the neck muscles, spine, tendons, trachea and esophagus. A dog's neck is actually very delicate; some more than others of course. We should not be putting a chain, nylon rope or fancy braided choke collar on our dog's necks. Just because it is there does not mean we should throw a noose around it.
This blog is about choke collars. I often write about other types of collars and harnesses; this one is specifically about the choke collar.