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Friday, September 22, 2006



It has been some time since I've put up a decent post. There's no real excuse except that I have been incredibly busy. Anyway here's something I found that further emphasises why choke chains and prong collars etc are bad for your dog!

Extracted from PETA Animal Times


Dogs are usually smart and affectionate. But most of them have one problem: They just can't get anywhere fast enough. Their walks always turn into a tug-of-war between their walker's arm socket and their neck. An old-fashioned dog trainer would say to teach them not to lunge by walking them on a "choke" chain collar and yanking it abruptly whenever they start to pull.

Cleo in a Harness

Sherry Fries, an accredited animal chiropractor, adamantly disagrees. "Anybody who still employs the jerk method for training their dogs ... should have the same thing done to him or her," she says. What happens? "Whiplash of the most severe kind. It can also set the stage for disc disease, neuropathy, or disease to the spinal cord and nervous system.

According to British veterinarian Robin Walker, the "yank and stomp" method was popularized by the well-known animal trainer Barbara Woodhouse, whose books from the '60s and '70s are still sold in book stores.

"Barbara had arrived with her choke chains and nasty things were happening to dogs' necks," he says. "Since then I have seen a stream of screaming dogs arriving at my surgery with dislocated neck bones and damaged voice boxes."

Sherry Fries explains why: "When a dog is jerked by a collar, his head is stationary, and sometimes the body whips around. So now we're talking about maybe 50 to 60-plus pounds on the stalk of the neck being thrown around, and the dogs can't tell us, 'Hey, that really hurts!'"

The garroting effect of a choke chain can cause bruising and damage to the skin and tissues in the neck, resulting in the formation of scar tissue. Scar tissue has no feeling, thus, subsequent jerks will require greater force to achieve an effect.

Not only can the jerk method of training cause physical injury, it cancause psychological problems as well. Kevin Behan, author of Natural Dog Training warns: "...with a choke collar, the dog has an instinctive reflex at his disposal to deal with the sensation of something tightening around his neck. He may misinterpret the correction on the choke collar as a stranglehold and unnecessarily become rebellious or afraid."

Australian veterinarian Dr. Robert K. Wansbrough has even printed a factsheet on the hazards associated with choke collars. In it he warns that chokers can cause dogs to become fearful of hands, resentful, and aggressive.

While choke chains and their ugly counterpart, the "prong collar" (sometimes recommended by trainers when the war of wills caused by a choke chain escalates), come in for the most criticism, regular buckle collars aren't necessarily the answer.

Chiropractor Sherry Fries dislikes all collars. "I implore people to use harnesses as opposed to any collar," she says. Like a choke collar, a buckle collar puts pressure on a pulling dog's neck. The absolute safest option for walking a dog is probably a standard nylon-web harness. However, if your dog is a determined lunger, he or she may need an intermediate tool for training.

Injuries caused by choke collars:

Dislocation and/or fracture of the vertebrae
Intervertebral disc protusion
Partial or complete paralysis of the fore and or hind limbs dueto spinal cord injuries
Damage to the vagus nerve thus affecting function of majororgans such as the heart, lungs, liver, bladder, spleen,kidneys,etc.
Crushing of the trachea with partial or complete asphyxiation
Crushing of and sometimes fracture of the bones in the larynx
Brusing of the esophagus
Sharp increases in pressure in the head which can cause brain oreye damage and sometimes prolapse of the eye

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