Thursday, September 1, 2011

Choke Leashes

Mom and I were out walking today in the park and I saw a dog with a leash I had never seen before.  It was all one piece - no collar.  And every time the dog ran a bit ahead, his dad pulled on the leash.  This made it tighter around the throat of the dog and of course, he would stop.  Mom said these are choke leashes.  She said some people use them for training.

When we got home, mom said she wondered if these were safe for dogs.  She was still pretty upset by the thought of tightening a leash around the throat.  So she did some research and this is what she found.

Most people use choke leashes because it allows them to control their dogs with a tug of the leash.  They are often used to control big, strong dogs like Ginger.  They are also used to control more "aggressive" dog breeds like Maggie, a Doberman that belongs to our friend, Chris.  When tugged, they put pressure on the dog's throat.  This will make the dog stop whatever unwanted behavior it is doing.  (I would think so.  Squeeze my throat and I will stop what I'm doing too!)  Mom said most trainers say they are safe if used correctly, but can be harmful in not used correctly.  She said they can actually damage the trachea of the dog.  And there is a lot of potential for abuse since you can use them to basically choke a dog. 

I have never had a choke leash or a choke collar.  Neither have Ginger, Oscar, or Austin.  We all learned to walk on a leash using Easy Walk harnesses.  Well, all of us except Ginger.  Mom had to use a pinch collar on her.  It looked awful with those big metal prongs, but Mom said that it only pinched the back of Ginger's neck when she tried to lunge or pull and wouldn't actually hurt her.  Mom said Ginger was a big dog and could hurt someone if she didn't learn to obey.  And since she had been abused before Mom and Dad found her and brought her home, she sometimes got scared or mad and didn't want to behave.  Mom said if she didn't learn she would probably be put to sleep and we were her last chance.  Fortunately, she did learn and now she is just a big baby.  Even the cats like her!

Anyway, Mom said that choke leashes are not something she would recommend since there are other alternatives available.  I am glad.  I wouldn't want to learn something by being choked if I forgot.  Try the Easy Walk harness or if your dog is big and scared like Ginger was, use the pinch collar.  These are both better ideas than a choke leash or a choke collar. 

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