shopping basket
recently viewed

Choke Chains: Why they won’t stop your dog pulling on the lead

61 CommentsThursday, 11 July 2013  | 

choke collar check chainQuite often people ask how they can stop their dog pulling on the lead. They often go on to explain that they have tried everything, including choke chains. Oh no surprise Why are these things so readily available and so commonly suggested to anyone with a dog that pulls?

A choke chain or choke collar is a continuous loop (not necessarily always chain, they can be rope or similar) that slips through itself to form a collar at one end (think noose). It is placed high up on a sensitive area of the dog’s neck, behind the ears. When the dog pulls he literally gets choked by the chain or loop around his neck. Choke chains/collars can also be called slip chains/collars, check chains/collars or correction chains/collars.

Why the different names?

Dog trainers often refer to them as correction or check chains/collars. Some trainers use them for brief ‘corrections’ during training. They were not invented for walking your dog and shouldn’t be used for this purpose, even if you agree with the use of the device during other aspects of dog training. If you do walk your dog on one then you are almost guaranteed to choke them, hence why so many people now refer to them as choke chains/collars.

I wish I knew why they are so often recommended to someone who says their dog pulls on the lead. They were not invented for that purpose and should not be used for that purpose.

Variations of the choke collar

prong collarThe prong collar is similar to the above but its closure is limited and there are metal prongs turned into the dog’s neck. The idea is to apply pressure to the sensitive part of the dog’s neck rather than to cause the animal to choke.

Half check collars (also known as combi or Martingale collars) are supposed to only close to the extent that a standard flat collar would close around the dog’s neck. As long as the correct size is purchased so that the two sides of the collar (the rings) meet with a 2 finger gap like a normal collar, these are relatively safe when used correctly and are sometimes used by owners of dogs with narrow heads.

So, back to check chains - what are they used for?

As mentioned above, they have been used for many years by dog trainers who believe in using quick ‘corrections’ during training sessions.  But as also mentioned, worryingly they are often purchased and used by the public to walk their dog.

Will it stop my dog pulling on the lead?

No. They really weren’t invented for that purpose at all.

Are they harmful to dogs?

Yes. Being choked or strangled is not going to be good for anyone, including dogs. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (A.P.D.T) produced a leaflet called Let’s Teach Them, Not Choke Them.

APDT Choke Chain LeafletThe leaflet explains that choke chains:

  • Damage dogs
  • Cause pain
  • Can cause behavioural problems
It further explains that choke chains have been directly linked to the following medical conditions:
  • Injured ocular (eye) blood vessels
  • Tracheal and oesophageal damage
  • Severely sprained necks
  • Fainting
  • Transient foreleg paralysis
  • Laryngeal nerve paralysis
  • Hind leg ataxia
What are the alternatives?

You need to deal with the reasons why the dog is pulling and try some positive training techniques. There is no need to hurt your dog in the name of training. Join a dog forum and ask for training tips, get a good book on the subject or hire a reputable dog trainer who uses modern, positive dog training techniques. For more information on this please see the end of this article Shock Collars: Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?

You could also try a head collar such as a Halti, Canny Collar or Gentle Leader that has been specially designed to stop dog’s pulling on the lead.

So what should my dog wear for walks?

I would never walk my dogs with their lead attached to any kind of dog collar. Even a standard dog collar can cause injury to your dog’s neck if you attach a lead to it for walks, especially if your dog is a puller. A dog harness is the only thing I ever attach my dogs leads to. Harnesses are more secure, comfortable for your dog and will even increase the level of control you have over your dog. Look for a dog harness that is adjustable (for a good fit), secure, well made, comfortable and suits your dog’s particular needs.

That is not to say your dog should not wear a collar. They must wear their ID tag – it is the law. For more information please see Dog Identification and the UK Law. So get a nice comfortable dog collar but personally I only use it for attaching the identity tag. My dog’s leads are always attached to their harnesses.

Before you buy a choke/check chain

Ask yourself:
  1. Do I understand what this device should be used for?
  2. Do I know how to fit and use this device correctly?
  3. Do I want to risk causing my dog fear, pain or injury?
If you answer ‘no’ to even one of those questions then please step away from the choke chains, check collars, slip leads or whatever else you may hear them called. Don’t buy one and if you already have one – bin it.

By Jenny Prevel

© D for Dog
This article belongs strictly to D for Dog and we do not authorise the copying of all or any part of it.

The Canny Collar


Donald Zitman
Monday, 12 January 2015  |  13:30

I have used check chains for years on the many dogs I have owned and disagree totally with the above .I see a dog with a harness on and it always seems to be pulling.If you cannot stop a dog from pulling take it to a class and find out how

D for Dog
Monday, 12 January 2015  |  14:50

Thank you for your comment but I am not sure if you are understanding the point of the article. As mentioned, if a dog pulls on the lead then training is needed... not a choke chain. To quote "You need to deal with the reasons why the dog is pulling and try some positive training techniques. There is no need to hurt your dog in the name of training."

David Henry
Sunday, 1 February 2015  |  21:07

think everyone should watch the dog whisper on, you tube , you can learn quit a lot on there, good luck.

Friday, 15 July 2016  |  12:58

I would suggest that you actually not watch the dog whisperer. Dr. Ian Dunbar is a good place to start. Milan may be effective but his style is not translatable to the common person and can actually be dangerous.

Monday, 2 November 2015  |  15:56

"There is no need to hurt your dog in the name of training"

And there is no need for a check chain to hurt. It is the sound that the dogs respond to, not pain. If you are hurting your dog with a check chain then you are doing it wrong.

"To quote "You need to deal with the reasons why the dog is pulling and try some positive training techniques"

The only reason your dog is pulling is because you let him. Stop letting him pull.

It really is that simple. It takes 10 minutes to stop even the worst puller to stop.

Who is in charge? You or the dog? If the dog is pulling then it isn't you.

Paul Sluman
Tuesday, 17 November 2015  |  15:31

Interesting article but your comment it takes 10 minutes to stop a dog pulling. We have a 13 month old German Shepherd who was never on a lead. We have had hI'm for 6 months and tried various methods with no success. Any tips would be most helpful

Friday, 6 May 2016  |  10:54

Hi. I am disabled and have 2 dogs under a year. My problem that I still have is the male dog pulling, like you have.
I have been teaching him the command 'heal' inside the house with no lead to start. I use hand signal to heal, command and a treat that I hold behind my back... It's going well and always start with sit and wait etc so he knows there is a sequence of commands and is confident.
I am going to do lead training in the house also.
We have done this with a very energetic dog before and in the end we realised he just hated being on a lead and we needed to get him to relax . He never really liked them and outside was obedient without one.
Some dogs are like that but we got him to relax with the lead by using inside.
It's just a thought. It might work for you.
Good luck and keep at it.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018  |  21:53

hi, l read a comment online dated 2015 that you had a German shepherd and could not get him to stop pulling on the lead, can l ask if you ever got a method that worked as l currantly have a 10 month old and l am pulling my hair out trying to train him.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016  |  20:20

I have a beautiful Manchester terrier, he has been loved from a pup. He was socialised with children and other dogs and is great . However while on walks on a lead he is very aggressive towards other dogs and pulls continually. We have tried training with different trainers using click and treat techniques which achieved nothing.
We took him for one lesson using a check chain with a trainer who trains emergency services and police dogs and over night he is a changed dog. He enjoys his walks, so do I , he is more confident because he knows his place in the pack. He sits when crossing roads and has not barked at a single dog.
The collar is loose around his neck apart from the odd very light check if he starts to pull etc. It's more the sound of the chain links rather than any pressure.
I also with what someone else said about dogs on harnesses always seem to be pulling, they feel the tension in the lead when on a harness and I'm sure they pick up on the tension making the pulling worse and making them react to things around them in a negative way. There is no tension in the lead the vast majority of my walks with my dog.
He's defiantly happier and less stressed.

Monday, 18 December 2017  |  13:53

Hi Simon, your comments have given me hope. I have a 2 y.o. rescue dog with fear aggression issues. Have tried behaviorist and research with very little results. My dog is normally on a harness but as it was so hot yesterday I thought I’d just take him out for 15 mins with his collar, not the harness. He saw a dog across the road and in a nanosecond slip his collar and charged the other dog. It was awful. I had a choker chain from previous dog and put it on him when we arrived home. He was transformed into a super obedient dog. He must have had one with previous owner. Can’t wait to take him out tomorrow. Your comments made me feel I was finally on the right track. Thank you.

Denise Kezourec
Sunday, 3 May 2015  |  12:26

i agree with Donald.
I also have used check chains for years, and I believe that they are a very useful training aid if used properly.
I have never found a dog harness a training aid, and again agree with Donald, dogs still pull in a harness.
Training classes should always be reccomended, good for dog and owner.

Sarah Leigh
Sunday, 10 May 2015  |  13:34

Totally agree with Donald. When used correctly, the check chain remains loose round the dogs neck, only tightening up when the dog pulls. Harnesses are awful things which teach laziness in both dog and owner as the dog still pulls their only use is for dogs who manage to slip collars easily.

D for Dog
Saturday, 3 September 2016  |  9:27

Time and time again the negative comments here talk about the choke chain being fine if used correctly. I ask again, do you think Joe Pubic are using them correctly?

Monday, 19 September 2016  |  14:53

There are clearly 2 schools of thought on this topic. I personally support the use of choke chains, but I respect your choice to use a harness. Is that negative??

I would say preaching to other dog owners about how they should walk there dogs is negative...

D for Dog
Monday, 19 September 2016  |  16:26

A different use of the word 'negative'. To be clearer, I should have worded it as 'pro choke chain comments'. Funny how you call the article 'preaching'. It is information. Again, I notice my question is not being answered by the pro choke chainers. Do you think Joe Pubic are using these devices correctly?

Tuesday, 20 September 2016  |  15:29

I am Joe Public

D for Dog
Tuesday, 20 September 2016  |  15:49

Yes, the masses Sid, not just you.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018  |  21:05

I dont beleive Joe Public is using choke chainers correctly. BUT there is no other collar that should be used for dogs. I’ve been reading and reading articles and replies. NOBODY seems to understand how to own your dog. Which is the scariest part. I’ve trained military dogs, police dogs and search and rescue dogs. Choke chainers all the time, and these are the most well trained dogs. Why you may ask, because a true dog owner knows that their dog can at any given moment lose the plot and run and attack another dog and good forbid a child. When (not if) that happens the choke chain will choke the dog until they let go of their bite or pass out. And that my dear dog lovers is the SOLE purpose of a choke chain. To protect other dogs and the general public. I know a lot of people here will argue this and will never admit that their lovely little life partner would ever do that. After seeing a German Shepard rip a King Charles spaniel in Ulf you’ll think again. A harness which has been discussed should be used in 2 circumstances only, if your dog is training and performing a search mission or swimming. Wake up and own your dogs, be their masters... the ALFA dog of the pack or you are not be a friend of dogs but torturing them.

Thursday, 10 November 2016  |  15:47

The positive trainers seem to be really horrid people! If you give an opinion that they don't like they all seem to go bonkers! We listen to you half cocked ideas about using harnesses to get a dog to stop pulling!! Let me ask you what we're harnesses invented for???? For the animal to be able to comfortabley pull heavy items!!! Harnesses even good fitted ones can cause chafing, also in the breeds that have a big chest cavity, can cause restriction in their chests opening when exercising, give me a collar! Choke chain any day

D for Dog
Thursday, 10 November 2016  |  16:02

Interesting Liz. The only aggressive and ugly comments are from the... what do you call yourself... negative trainers. And, by the way, not once do I mention using a standard harness to stop your dog pulling. Please don't misquote things.

Anna Jones
Friday, 9 December 2016  |  10:49

Sorry D for Dog, but I don't agree with you either that check/choke chains should not be used, even for training purposes. You don't actually give any specific alternatives or training advice and harnesses are not the answer I'm afraid. As dog owners people must be resonspible when walking their dogs in public, but if their dog lunges unexpectedly, for example, when wearing a harness there is no control of the dog's head area, at child height in most cases, so creating a dangerous situation with lack ofcontrol. I love dogs and have many and would always use a chain to train and control them, and would never see its use as cruel to my dog as it will be safe from being a danger to the public,and ensure that she can continue to enjoy walks with me in public. The alternative could mean that if more dogs are proved to be a problem or danger to the public, you could find that there is a backlash against dogs and their owners, and who knows what could happen then! Responsible control is paramount and we should all be responsible for ourselves as well as pets. Too many people these days blame others instead of themselves.

D for Dog
Friday, 9 December 2016  |  11:02

The article is about Joe Public buying these devices online or at the pet shop, mistakenly thinking they can put it on the dog and it will stop the dog pulling. This is more likely to cause behavioural issues in the dog, not less. The implication that the public is safer for the use of these devices is a big statement. Yes I totally agree that "responsible control is paramount" and that is why allowing the general public to buy these devices under the misguided impression that it will automatically cure a dog who pulls is irresponsible.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018  |  0:50

I agree. I have a socialized bulldog but on walks she is extremely aggressive, she has actually slipped away when my son was walking her and bit another dog. We spent way too much on training, and I will try the choke chain sadly as a last result.

Sunday, 5 February 2017  |  2:38

So you want peoples opinions but if your not happy with the response you become passive aggressive with your comments?

I was reading this artical for people's opinions there are always 2 sides to a coin. However thr owner of this link seems to
Think they are right and how dare anyone think otherwise

Very biased page and not so helpful

D for Dog
Sunday, 5 February 2017  |  10:54

I'm happy with all the responses, thanks. It's great to discuss these things. I have listened and responded with thought. Yes, there are two sides to every coin and in the comments we have talked at length about the views of the informed. However, this article was not written from that view point. This article is about the fact that not only are these devices readily available to everyone on just about every high street, they also have this perceived label of being able to magically stop dog's from pulling on their leads. That is what the article is about.

Sunday, 26 March 2017  |  16:46

Huh. Well if choke collars are so good and harnesses "lazy"... how come my dog would pull so hard on a regular collar to the point of choking herself, no matter how hard I trained her, but the second I switched her to a harness she stopped pulling instantly. Literally the second we stepped out the door, no more pulling. I don't think it's true that dogs always feel the tension of the leash on the harness - if anything she seems to feel it less, so is more inclined to keep close by on her own accord.

(I wish I had tried a harness earlier, but internet people had me convinced that a sled dog would only pull worse on a harness. haha)

I've seen someone using a prong collar out and about. It was making their dog misbehave even more. I felt bad for the poor thing.

Monday, 2 November 2015  |  15:49

Correct. A harness is designed for pulling. it's literal meaning is "a set of straps and fittings by which a horse or other draft animal is fastened to a cart, plow, etc., and is controlled by its driver."

If your dog is well trained then there is nothing wrong with a check chain.

D for Dog
Saturday, 3 September 2016  |  9:26

"If your dog is well trained then there is nothing wrong with a check chain." Do you think the general public go to the pet shop to buy a choke chain if their dog is already well trained and walking to heel? No. The public perception is that choke chains will stop their dog pulling on the lead. They have a dog who pulls and they buy these devices with no idea at all how to use them properly, they put it around their dog's neck and they let the dog pull until it is choked by the device.

Tracy Whiteman
Tuesday, 3 October 2017  |  9:12

I do agree with you. I have spent £100s of pounds on various harnesses, front leaders, tried the halti head collar which personally I think is cruel, I'm now on my 3rd behaviourist after Barkbusters (don't do it) a so called behaviourist and yesterday the 3rd and final one before I gave in. My boy has never pulled on the lead however goes into meltdown when a dog approaches, he's a rescue so I'm unsure if he's ever been attacked but he red mists and I can't calm it, tried treats, tried clicker training, pet correction spray, gentle correction technique (stay quet and make like a tree till he calms down) One session yesterday with the latest man and he was calmly walking through sheep, chickens, horses and walking head on into 2 strange dogs. The choke chain if used correctly is more of a noise distraction and to quickly pull them off balance, it introduced quick discomfort but not pain, when he walked calmly it hung loosely round his neck. I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself but now i can't find them anywhere, I tried a half choke last night but it was constant pressure around his neck so no real difference when I tried to correct, we quickly got into an incident in the park and I ended up in tears feeling useless and going home. I will buy a choke chain and I will use it correctly as it should be and I won't be made to feel guilty about it especially if I end up with the dog I know he can be.. I witnessed it.

Noel Peterson
Monday, 15 June 2015  |  2:50

At our training we do NOT allow harnesses or halters, all dogs must be on a check chain of suitable size for them. Owners are then taught how to utilse the check chain prior to actually joining in classes. I've used check chains now for many, many years and not had a problem even when walking my dogs in public. Not at all sure I agree with the article except for the relevant training comment because that's what it is all about, training.

D for Dog
Tuesday, 5 July 2016  |  12:49

Unfortunately most of Joe Public who are buying these devices at the local pet shop are probably not going to training classes with their dog and do not know how to use this piece of equipment sensibly or properly.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016  |  13:45

You keep making assumptions about Joe Public? Show me actual proof before assuming anything. Choke chains works perfectly fine.

D for Dog
Sunday, 5 February 2017  |  11:02

I'm willing to stand corrected Mike, but so far the pro-choke chain comments are not really being very helpful in actually answering the question that is being discussed. I'm listening, I promise. I have a dog who pulls on the lead. I have heard that a choke chain solves this so I go to the pet shop and buy one. I put it on my dog and off we go on our walk. Is that job done? I am genuinely interested.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015  |  22:51

Exactly! Check collars are used in training to teach the dog not to pull. Harnesses are used for pulling, like tracking and sledding. Once the dog is trained you don't need to use the check collar anymore.

Paul Green
Monday, 27 July 2015  |  18:36

I too have always used 'check chains'. It is not the device that is the problem, it is the person using it! My dogs all walk to heal, never an issue once trained. The chain hangs loose, totally comfortable and relaxed. You train them to know when they are walking ahead. A chain provides them a signal. They can feel / hear the noise of the chain clicking and know they are ahead, long, long before it tightens. Two fingers on the lead, gently holding. Never, ever more that the slightest force with two fingers. Happy comfortable dog with loose chain.

If you have to tug, you haven't worked on the training correctly. They should be signalling devices, not correction devices!

D for Dog
Saturday, 3 September 2016  |  9:29

Agreed. If everyone who purchased one of these devices used them in this way, there would be no issue. But unfortunately they don't.

Jon Jones
Saturday, 3 September 2016  |  3:04

No such thing as a check collar. You are talking rubbish.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016  |  23:49

Very good article.

My previous dog wore a semi-choke or something similar. I decided to buy him a harness when he was 8 years old and he stopped pulling only with that. I didn't know about dog training back then, so I didn't change anything else. I guess he was uncomfortable with the collar and that's why he pulled, to get away from me.

I used a harness for the first time on my other dog when she was 6 years old. She never pulls and has a perfect loose-leash walking. It's like walking her off-leash.

I've taught my puppy to wear a harness from the very beginning and he knows how to walk loose-leash since he was 3 months old, he doesn't pull.

I only use a leash because it is required by law. If we're on the forest or countryside my dogs go naked. They have a solid recall and they only leave my side when I tell them they can go 'explore'.

I use positive and humane training methods only. Our walking equipment is a harness and a 2 meter leash. I don't use any physical tools to teach them, I only need myself (voice, signals and rewards) and the dogs. Any situation can become a training session and I don't need anything else other than myself and the dogs. Rewards vary depending on the situation, it can be toys, the start of a game (tug, fetch, chase), a stick, a rock, getting my attention, food, performing a trick they love, etc.

People always compliment on how well-behaved my dogs are, and ask me how I've done it.

Saturday, 2 July 2016  |  16:13

So why do the police use them to train there dogs to walk properly. If the dog is checked properly with I, not choked it seems to work.

D for Dog
Tuesday, 5 July 2016  |  12:47

Hopefully the police are instructed how to use them sensibly and properly as a training aid. I am discussing here the fact that they are available and used by Joe Public as a way to stop their dog pulling on the lead, which is unlikely to work and likely to injure the dog.

Jon Jones
Friday, 2 September 2016  |  22:47

Sorry but this whole article is wrong in almost every single way. And I say this as Police dog handler and trainer of 17 years. Lets break it down...

1) - "Choke Chains: Why they won’t stop your dog pulling on the lead"

For a start you don't actually say anywhere in the article why you think they won't. And they are not called choke chains - if they choke then you are using them wrong.

2) - "It is placed high up on a sensitive area of the dog’s neck, behind the ears"

Total claptrap. A correctly positioned check chain hangs loosely around the base of the neck/shoulders.

3) - "If you do walk your dog on one then you are almost guaranteed to choke them, hence why so many people now refer to them as choke chains/collars."

Again pure BS. With a correctly positioned check chain and a dog walking at heel it is impossible to choke the dog. IMPOSSIBLE. The chain is free moving and hangs loose, way below the neck.

4) - "hence why so many people now refer to them as choke chains/collars"

No professional dog handler or trainer would ever refer to them as "choke chains". They don't choke.

5) - "they have been used for many years by dog trainers who believe in using quick ‘corrections’ during training sessions [...] Will it stop my dog pulling on the lead? No. They really weren’t invented for that purpose at all.

Yes. They can be used for quick corrections - for problems such as pulling.

6) - "Are they harmful to dogs?"

No. Not when used correctly. Not harmful in the slightest. One could even argue that they are safer than any other type of restraint. Head Collar? Don't be ridiculous - not only are damn right uncomfortable for the dog they can they cause sores and infection.

From the page you sell your head collars from - "As soon as the pulling stops, the pressure is released." That is exactly what a check chain does. Only without making the dog uncomfortable. I don't care what the AAPT says. They are an uncredited private organisation, and they are wrong.

7) - "So what should my dog wear for walks? A dog harness is the only thing I ever attach my dogs leads to."

You know what dog harnesses are for? For pulling. To put on Huskies to pull sled's. That is all they should ever be used for. Would you like to walk about in bondage gear? And imagine the mess if you unclip the lead to let your dog run free in the countryside and he runs into a barbed wire fence or runs though brambles and gets thorns caught under his harness. Not nice.

8) - "Hopefully the police are instructed how to use them sensibly and properly as a training aid. I am discussing here the fact that they are available and used by Joe Public as a way to stop their dog pulling on the lead, which is unlikely to work and likely to injure the dog."

All UK police forces do use them, and not just as training aids - they use them all the time. The reason being they do not choke the dog, can be very quickly removed in an emergency - unlike a harness. They are perfectly safe - even for day to day walking.

Just about the only thing you got correct is.....

Before you buy a choke/check chain

Ask yourself:

Do I understand what this device should be used for?
Do I know how to fit and use this device correctly?
D̶o̶ ̶I̶ ̶w̶a̶n̶t̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶r̶i̶s̶k̶ ̶c̶a̶u̶s̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶d̶o̶g̶ ̶f̶e̶a̶r̶,̶ ̶p̶a̶i̶n̶ ̶o̶r̶ ̶i̶n̶j̶u̶r̶y̶?̶ You won't. If you fit and use the check chain correctly.

D for Dog
Saturday, 3 September 2016  |  9:19

While I appreciate your comments, you are seeing this from a professional dog handlers point of view. Please bear in mind that this article is written from the perspective of the general public, who can buy these devices at most pet shops with no training at all. In your reply you mention on numerous occasions that these devices are fine if you fit and use them correctly. Don't you see, that is my main point. And by the way, they are quite often referred to as choke chains and the reason why is clear. You say that with a correctly positioned 'check' collar and the dog walking to heel, it is impossible to choke the dog. I am sorry but you are not seeing this at all from the perspective of the average dog owner, freely allowed to buy and use these devices. Do you think they get one and then go to training school to learn how to use it properly? No. Do you think they know how to use and position it correctly? No. Do you think their dogs are walking to heel when they wear it? No. Please take a step back from your professional training and your knowledge of the correct use of these devices and see it from another perspective. So you agree with all the points in my summary apart from the last point. Interesting. I think you completely agree with me. Just look at what you have written. "You won't. If you fit and use the check chain correctly." Exactly!

Saturday, 1 April 2017  |  15:00

Then perhaps the article, rather than demonizing a tool, should simply stress the importance of handler/owner knowledge when dealing with their dogs.
By directly calling one tool, you have made the issue about the tool rather than the lack of knowledge. When called on it you blame stupid 'joe public' (or joe pubic in some cases), because you know it has nothing to do with the tool but rather well intentioned folks who want to be able to enjoy their dogs but lack training to that end.
Stop demonizing the tool.

D for Dog
Saturday, 1 April 2017  |  15:25

Firstly, Joe Public aren't stupid. This is an article stressing that this 'tool' should not be readily available to anyone who wants to purchase one under the worrying misconception that it will magically stop your dog pulling on the lead.

Mz Goldi
Sunday, 4 September 2016  |  14:09

Thanks for this article. I was not sure if I want to use a check or choke collar on my pup. She is always pulling unless we are running. I am part of the general public who doesn't know much about "proper" use of these things. I was under the impression that it goes around the dogs neck in place of a regular collar. I'm glad I read all the comments as well. Most of the people who disagree with this article are professional trainers or experienced handlers and have more knowledge of the proper use of these devices. I would have hurt my puppy if I had listened to all those advising a check chain or choke collar. The article clearly states that if you don't use this properly it will damage your dog it also clearly expresses that professional training is needed in the case one would want to use these devices. You pros should not be so harsh just because YOU know better. Average people who get pets don't. Some don't have time patience or resources and shouldn't even have a dog in the 1st place. We will be taking a 6 week training class this week. I will be asking plenty of questions. This article was very helpful. Both from the publisher and the comments. You all helped me realise this is not the answer for my particular case because I'm not informed enough on the use or how to put on these things. Thnks for sharing. My pup unkowingly thanks you all too. 😁

D for Dog
Sunday, 4 September 2016  |  14:13

It made my day to read this. I am so glad you found it useful... the article and the comments :-) You can't beat a good discussion about these things. It's all about information, isn't it. You have one lucky little pup there. Woofs to you both.

Sunday, 16 October 2016  |  22:33

Yet another example of the fashionable 'pink and fluffy new age training brigade.

D for Dog
Monday, 17 October 2016  |  8:52

As opposed to the dated 'fear based' barbaric training brigade. There is nothing 'pink and fluffy' about refusing to cause your dog pain, injury and fear.

Saturday, 29 October 2016  |  20:30

Choke Chain
If you show the drawing at the top of the page with the bottom ring under the chain and not on top as is currently shown, the weight of the ring pulls the choke loose for the loose position as it should be around the dogs neck. The check works when only the chain is tensed by the owner not the dog.

Anonymous Reader
Saturday, 11 February 2017  |  20:07

looking at all the comments that disagree with the article is just surprising, the way i think would best describe my understanding of the article might be this, when taking care of a pet, be it dog, cat, bird, or such, think of it as becoming a parent, you want what is best for your "child" but don't want to accidently harm them by not understanding the purpose of such things, or to say it for short, if you don't know the best way to handle something, get the advice of a vet, "child" being a figure of speech, by of which i simply mean "pet" or dog in this case, that said, i found this by googling what a "choke collar" is, out of curiosity after hearing such word mentioned

Charlie Read
Saturday, 18 February 2017  |  17:15

I think it's good info for average people I tried a choke chain I got off the internet when I was younger my dog was my first dog and I didn't know what I was doing the chain got stuck on his neck and we had to use bolt cutters to get it off and after that he would freak out at anything around his neck :'( I wish someone had told me they were dangerous

Wednesday, 19 April 2017  |  10:24

Thanks for the information.
After reading above, I changed my mind in buying a choke chain for my two new dogs. Already have two other dogs.

Christopher W Tiller
Sunday, 30 April 2017  |  16:42

Really, all this has convinced me of is that every dog is an individual and that there is no "one size fits all" approach.

My dog was aggressive and pulled on walks all the time. I used a harness but that didn't quite get the necessary results.

I hired a trainer that gave me a prong collar, and after he corrected himself three times that was that. Zero aggression, zero pulling on walks. I am now able to address the underlying reasons behind his aggression, (he's a total scaredy-cat), and behind his pulling. (Lack of self-control).

In my case I needed a tool for the job, and in this case the tool was a prong collar. For others it's a choke collar. For others harnesses work great. It all depends on how your dog is and how they respond to different situations.

Thursday, 18 May 2017  |  5:39

I have found the Halti to be perfect for walking a dog that wants to pull, it gives total control without harming the dog!

Monday, 22 May 2017  |  20:43

For those of you who swear by choke chains and insist they don't cause any harm, how about this. Next time you put one on your dog, put one on yourself and attach it to the other end of the leash. Then give your dog all the "corrections" you want. Then come back and tell me how harmless it was. Idiots.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018  |  21:33

DW. There is one item of sense that can be gleaned from your comment. New dog owners need to learn to be dog owners. The rest is facile to say the least.

Sunday, 16 July 2017  |  10:31

I have GSD and have always used a check chain. my wife uses a head collar on her border collie which pull on the lead

Saturday, 29 July 2017  |  17:22

I cannot believe this discussion still going - wow. EVERY dog is individual, EVERY human (loosely used) is individual and every ******* meeting of the two chemistries is individual. Dd, get off the defensive. YOU are not right about every dog and the do's and don't's, and neither are the rest of us. Some people just don't get animals never mind understand what may cause them suffering. There is so much between the pink and fluffy and the barbaric. I have 2 young rescues, one has now sussed that walking with me is nice, the other - words fail me. I know nothing of their history, but they are unlike any other dogs (and that's a good few) that I have ever had. I love 'em.

Friday, 24 November 2017  |  21:16

My dog at the pub today had a paddy about having to wait whilst I had a drink and kept trying to slip his flat collar to run off into the (busy) road. I follow positive training methods but I will be getting a chain (choke) collar as I cant risk him slipping his (buckled tight) flat collar and causing a car accident. I never thought I would be in this position and dont want to be for any future dogs but if you have a dog who will try to slip a collar and chew through a normal lead what can you do?? I hate myself for it but I have a duty of care both to myself and others

Saturday, 10 March 2018  |  17:37

What a load of rubbish i am an animal lover and would never intentially harm an animal including my dog. I was a proffessional dog handler in the prison service for ten years. We and all the services use chek chains as its the quickest way to stop a dog pulling. If used correctly the mere sound of the chain clicking the links tightening without chocking the dog is enough to get them to walk to heel. There is no mediucal or statistical evidence for any of the scarmongering about side effects of using them.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018  |  21:27

"Choke chain" what an emotive and incorrect term.
Any dog should be treated gently to bring out the desire to please the alpha member of the pack - the owner. The click training chain is a tool I have used for many years to train dogs. When people have not learnt to use this tool properly cruelty can come in very quickly. However, when a click chain is put on correctly so that the chain hangs loose round the dog's neck, especially when the animal is learning to walk to heel, If the dog ventures forward, a small movement will cause the chain to pull up the loose loop and a distinct click is heard by the dog as well as a GENTLE tightening, immediately released as gravity takes over. The dog learns this as a signal, not a punishment and responds by dropping back into position. Walking to heel is the basic skill a dog must learn immediately after house training, 'sit' and 'down' commands because we do not want to be pulled off balance by an ill-trained dog and possible into a passing vehicle.. If the dog is medium or large size, it is easy for the trainer to reach down to fondle the animals ear or give a stroke of the head and it is this type of contact to which the dog responds, small dogs take more effort because we have to bend down to praise them in this way; the click is just a reminder which is demonstrated to the dog long before the 'heel' training begins in earnest.. It takes patience love and time for a dog to learn this skill. Treats, in my opinion should never be given as a reward for getting it right, enthusiastic praise, hugs and lots of stroking all teach the dogs that (s)he is a valued member of the pack, (s)he is secure in her place and happy. Use a click chain as a punishment and you will lose the love of your dog, it may obey, but out of fear with all the psychological problems that that situation brings. But don't condemn a useful tool because people cannot be bothered to learn how to use it.

D for Dog