Many people have a choke chain dilemma when it comes to their dog. In fact, it is commonly disputed in the pet training world, as well as amongst dog owners. In general there are two sides to this argument. Those that are for and those that are against the use of choke chains. We’ll outline the two arguments below to help you figure out what you should use for your dog.
The Pro Choke Chain Argument
If you are considering using a choke chain, you likely have a dog that pulls hard on a standard leash. There are many dog owners who face extreme frustration everyday when taking their dog for a walk simply because they pull too hard. These owners can’t be faulted for trying to find a solution.
Before you purchase a choke chain it is important to research types and brands. Find a reputable brand so that you know the choke chain is quality and won’t have adverse effects on your dog.
You also want to understand how the choke chain works and how to appropriately apply pressure. Choke chains are also often referred to as prong collars. These metal-based collars tighten as the dog pulls and the prongs are extended. They are meant to apply a touch of discomfort, not to harm. The prongs are rounded off so that they don’t puncture the dog’s throat. Here’s a video of a professional dog trainer who uses the choke/prong collar.
For some dog owners, the choke collar has immensely helped their dog become manageable on walks. The discomfort the collar creates when the dog pulls often leads the dog to understand that they need to stand an appropriate distance from their owner in order to not feel that discomfort. The type of reinforcement is considered “negative reinforcement” because the dog is essentially “punished” for a wrong type of action. When the action is corrected the negative reinforcement is removed.
The Against Choke Chain Argument
Now that we’ve explained the reasons people use the choke chain, let’s go into what the other half thinks. Essentially, some trainers and owners are against the negative reinforcement aspect. The belief is that positive reinforcement is more memorable for a dog and just a better way to treat your dog.
One thing that they will note is that there are alternative types of collars that aim to prevent pulling. These various harnesses and head collars are all aimed at preventing your dog from pulling on walks while refraining for any type of negative reinforcement.
Advocates against the choke chain will also argue that it is not a humane way to treat your pet. Unfortunately, this is for you to decide. Most professional trainers have not had any issues with actual harm from a quality choke chain but purchasing an off-brand or poor quality choke chain would not be recommended. In addition advocates against the choke chain argue that the prongs cause too much discomfort to your dog.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, the prong collar is a form of negative reinforcement. Many dog trainers believe in positive reinforcement only. There are tricks and tips to train your dog to walk politely on a leash using positive reinforcement such as treats.
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