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Old 11-14-2012, 06:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default choke chains

Choke chains are out of favor. I didn't use one with my whippet (no need at all) and I didn't use one with Bonnie (use a semichoke martingale), but before them I used them on all my dogs in the past.

Bonnie is all of 36 pounds. Jazz is 5.5 months and an exuberant, STRONG, healthy boy. He is around 42 pounds and still growing. He isn't that much heavier than Bonnie yet, but Holy Moly the dog can pull me around if he wants to. I swear he has Arnold Schwartzeneggar shoulders. LOL Sometimes he is like a bull with his head down and I can almost see steam coming out his nostrils. I have been using a semichoke martingale on him, but he honestly doesn't care if he gets pulled around by it. What a moose!

On a good note: He does listen. I actually get much better control when I put a little parachute choke collar on him (like the show ones). Would you think I am wicked if I use a regular choke chain? He is in an obedience class and I have trained many dogs, but I have never trained a large, strong dog without a choke chain before. Can it be done?
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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PS I walk three dogs at a time when my husband isn't available to take a couple. I want it to be peaceful. I can walk him one on one without trouble because I am able to correct him easily, but with three dogs his shenanigans are a little trying.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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We were told we might want to consider a prong collar - somehow, a choke chain is less acceptable than a pinching pronged chain???

What we did use was an ez walk harness and the sort of walk that takes half an hour and gets you 100 feet because you stop every time there is tension on the leash....

If you ask 100 people, you'll get 100 opinions - you have to do what works for you and your dogs.

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Old 11-14-2012, 07:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I use a prong with Leroy. He's REALLY strong when he wants to be, and gets excited easily. He always chokes himself on all other collars till he throws up, but never on the prong. I know there's different opinions on this type of collar. I have been going back and forth between his rolled leather collar and the prong, trying to wean him off of it. The prong works but it does tangle hair. I've used a slip lead which would be similar to a choke chain - it didn't do anything.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The thing I don't like about the choke chains is that dogs don't seem effected by them and would rather damage their trachea's than walk correctly. When I walk my two together I use prong collars, they're great on their own, but together it's a choke fest. I had a professional trainer show me how to use them correctly, my dogs don't choke, I enjoy my walk, and they enjoy their walk.

No, I don't appreciate anyone's criticism, this works for us and your negative opinion will only boost your own ego and be ignored by me.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Since he is for show, I am not sure you might not like a prong or chain possibly messing up his fur? What about those quick release choke style leads made out of rope or fabric with the wider bands? I'm not really sure, I am not necessarily against martingale or choke chains but in my experience with them if my dogs wanted to pull they would rather gag themselves then stop pulling.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I also use pinch collars when I alone walk my two dogs. Together they are about 125 pounds. If they both want to chase the same squirrel they will drag me down the street. If they want to go in different directions then I don't have much choice other than to let go of at least one of them. I also use a pinch collar sometimes in obedience class for heeling on leash.

I actually think a pinch collar is more humane than an unlimited slip collar (choke chain). If used properly a dog very quickly learns through self corrections that are really quite mild. Put the pinch collar over your own arm with a light weight shirt on. Give a little quick tug. This is what your dog feels. I read it like "that's annoying, what should I do to make it stop?" If you are in a hurry and put an unlimited slip collar on backwards your dog can be really hurt by it because you pull over and over and it just gets tighter and tighter. I also have seen many dogs that will just keep pulling against a choke chain, but have never had either dog pull against a pinch collar.

The bottom line is that I think there are many tools that we can use in training. The key points are to understand how and why they work and to use them properly. Aversives should be used sparingly and have to be very well timed so the dog understands why the correction they are experiencing is being given. With any kind of collar, just jerking on it and dragging the dog around by it is unfair.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I really am against choke chains...as others have stated there is no limit to how tight they can be pulled. A prong collar, IMHO, is the better choice. That being said, I would be hesitant to use one on a developing puppy. Also poodles have slim, easily damaged necks. I have used a prong collar on my Sammie before but she has a thick, heavily muscled neck like a pit bull...it certainly didn't harm her any! Also, any kind of chain or linked metal is going to seriously break coat...lots of it. Have you tried either being a tree or turning around and going in the opposite direction? I use those methods and they work pretty well. My kids hate walking in the opposite direction we were going before, I guess to them it seems like we aren't continuing the fun walk.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks! Lots of great ideas. The martingale semichoke messes his hair up, too. I thought a regular metal chain might not, perhaps one of the diamond link ones. Usually, a choke chain is snapped and released quickly. They don't choke and there is a right and wrong way to put them on. I knew they were out of favor when I went to buy one and the petco said they didn't carry them anymore. They have all these gentle leader things, which seem worse than a properly used choke collar. I don't think a prong collar is a good idea for him because of the hair issue, but don't have anything against them. I may show him only UKC and his hair isn't as big a deal there.

I appreciate the thoughts and ideas!

mom24, turning quickly really does help, but when you have three dogs it's not possible or you are jerking the good dogs, too. I think the answer is walk him by himself until reliable and then add the other dogs later.

Wish us luck!
I need to get him trained.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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When I first started training, choke chains were still THE tool to use, and I was no exception. I had a "fur saver" one for my poodle; it had large, oblong links.

I no longer use choke chains. Now I walk the dogs on martingales or with their Julius K-9 harnesses. In your situation, I'd use a prong rather than a choke for all the reasons mentioned. The head halter can be a very effective option as well; I used one for a while with Sugar when he was younger to work on distractions and on not pulling.

The main thing I did to combat the pulling, though, was that I walked Sugarfoot by himself and *religiously* did the "be a tree" method, as well as praise and treats when he happened to be at my side in heel position. When I felt pressure on the leash, I stopped. Dead stop, said nothing. Leash slackened, I walked. It made for many very weird, awkward, and long walks when he was younger, but it put a great foundation on him. Now Sugar is still young and exuberant and will sometimes pull, but I need stop only briefly to remind him to get back with me.

Good luck!

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