A choke chain should not be treated like a regular collar. It’s a corrective tool, used to help fix behavior problems in some dogs. When you use a choke chain to correct a dog’s behavior, you should only use short pulls—not long or violent jerks.
To use a choke chain, you’ll need to attach one end of the chain to a leash. Next, pull the chain through the loop at the other end, creating a “p” shape. You can then loop the chain around your dog’s neck, making sure that the chain still looks like a “p” when you face the dog.
Putting a choke chain on a dog incorrectly (i.e. backward) or failing to use the chain correctly can lead to serious injury for your pet. So, if you’re going to use this type of collar, be careful to attach it properly and not overuse it.
How Choke Chains Work
Choke chains are like traditional collars but are designed for dogs in need of slight behavioral adjustments. They work by taking the dog’s attention off whatever is causing them to act out. Choke chains surprise the dog by tightening around its neck and causing minor discomfort, whereas traditional collars can just give the dog something to strain against.
The goal when using a choke chain is to get your dog to stop unwanted behavior and get them behaving calmly again.
This is why it’s important to use choke chains properly to get the most benefit as well as avoiding injury. If used improperly, the choke chain won’t serve to correct the dog’s behavior. It’ll just hurt the dog.
Why & When to Use a Choke Chain
Choke chains should only be used in certain circumstances to correct a dog’s behavior. If you aren’t using a choke collar for the right reasons, you won’t get the desired results.
Some reasons to use a choke chain are:
- Your dog gets over-excited while walking and tries to pull you or stray
- Your pet gets overly-interested in other animals or people when on walks
- The dog has a habit of straining against its leash
- Your dog pulls too hard on its leash and could cause you physical injury
Using a choke collar for the wrong reasons can keep you from actually fixing a dogs behavior. It can also lead to overuse or confuse your dog if it doesn’t know how you want it to behave.
How NOT to Use a Choke Chain
If you’re going to use a choke chain for your dog, it’s extremely important to use it properly. Using the chain incorrectly can cause serious injury to your pet. At the very least, using a choker wrong will prevent you from actually correcting the dog’s behavior, so you won’t get any benefits, no matter how often you try to correct the unwanted behavior.
Things not to do if you’re going to use a choke chain include:
- Don’t jerk the leash violently, as this can injury your dog’s neck or back
- Don’t issue prolonged corrections by pulling on the leash for sustained periods. This can choke or even strangle your dog.
- Don’t correct behavior that doesn’t need correction. This can confuse your dog and they won’t know how you want them to act.
- Don’t use a chain that’s the wrong size for the dog. When the chain is slack, there should be several inches of choke chain outside the loop, adding to the leash’s length.
- Don’t use a choker if it’s on the dog or the leash incorrectly. The chain may get caught when you pull on it, and you could accidentally choke your dog.
When Not to Use a Choke Chain
Not everyone needs to use a choke chain, nor does every dog. If you’re going to use a choker, it’s important not to use it incorrectly and also important not to OVERUSE it. If you use a choke chain when it’s not necessary, you could end up discouraging behavior from your dog that you actually want to encourage. You could also end up hurting your dog.
Some times when you should rethinking using a choker include:
- If your dog doesn’t need it, you can probably just use a normal leash. Choke chains should only be used if you regularly need to correct your dog’s behavior.
- If your dog only gets excited when defending you or itself. Dog’s will become naturally defensive if they feel threatened, and sometimes this behavior is warranted. If you live in a rough area or want your dog to be able to defend itself, and the dog acts fine when it doesn’t feel threatened, you may not need a choke chain.
- If you aren’t sure how to use your choke chain properly, you should probably skip it. Otherwise, you could end up seriously hurting your dog.
- If young kids regularly walk your dog, you may not want to make a choke chain your dog’s default restraint. Kids could misuse or overuse the chain and hurt or confuse the dog.
If your dog regularly acts out or has behavioral problems that need to be corrected, a choke chain may be just what you need. If you decide to try one, be careful that you attach it to the leash correctly and that you don’t pull the chain too hard or too often. That way, you can quickly train your dog out of bad behavior without hurting it.
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