Choke, Does Not Choke

Pet dogs can sometimes lead to an embarrassing and painful situation. Imagine walking your hefty Labrador, usually most docile and friendly dog. They have a powerful nose and love to sniff. While on a walk, he is as usual playful and sniffing all the way. You have the end of the leash tightly held in your left hand and he is walking by you left like a gentleman. You are busy trying to figure out the person coming towards from a distance. The morning mist makes vision slightly blurred. As you are trying to concentrate on that person, your dog finds something more interesting. His nose sniffing he makes a lunge all of a sudden. It all happened in a flash and before you gather your wits, you find yourself lying prostrate of the ground, with lots of dust in your eyes and face. Your right wrist hurts, you find it badly bruised. And lo, even the knees are bruised and you feel blood trickling out of your nose.

It is a painful and panicky situation for you. The approaching person, not an acquaintance comes and helps you get up. Fortunately, the dog has not run away, he is rather busy sniffing the ground, as if nothing happened. You had walked quite a distance from home in your fitness spree. Now the only course left is to retrace your steps back home, limping and wiping the trickling blood from your nose in agony and pain.

This was just an imagination but believe me it can happen with any one. Dog is not a human being. He is an animal guided by instincts. The smell is one of the powerful senses he has and he uses it for everything-right from hunting a prey to identify the person on the other side of the closed the door. In his life walking in the open and making sudden lunges at an imaginary prey or some attractive smell is quite normal.

Although it is best to start training your dog from the day one you bring him home to obey your commands and earn rewards. But there are owners who feel that a dog is best in his natural self and let him be. It is just like not teaching your child the alphabets and the language. I do not subscribe to this theory. I feel a dog is a better member of the human society if he is properly educated.

Well choices vary, but on one point all the owners will agree that they don’t want to be pulled down by their dog during the walks. To avoid that one needs a small chain depending upon the breed or size of your dog, a choke chain. It can be 16 to 22 inches long or even more if need be. Large breeds that can pull you flat, like a Labrador retriever, German Shepherd Dog, Doberman, Great Dane etc. must NEVER be walked without a choke collar around his neck attached to a leash, the other end being in your hand. The advantage of this collar is that it tightens the moment your dog changes track, lunges or pulls. And it loosens again, the moment he sets himself right.

Many people feel that it is cruelty to use such a device. But believe me that the neck muscles of any dog are extremely powerful. Ever watched two dogs fighting? They lunge at each other’s necks and the way they try to grab it and jerk it shows that the neck muscles are really strong. The professionals use a choke collar to control breeds of all sizes. But novices should never take chances with large breeds.

A choke collar can be made of a thin link, stainless steel chain with a ring at each end (image-I above); or it can be an extended leash with a ring at one end (see image-II below).

In either type it has to be put on the neck of the dog in such a way that the ring attached to the leash is always on the right side of the dog and while walking dog should always be on the left of the owner. In this position the collar will tighten around the neck of the dog if he pulls. Thus it remains a safe bet for walking a dog and he cannot pull you down all of a sudden.

There are however, extra powerful dogs, like a Great Dane. Because of its huge size he can, if not trained properly show his strength despite a choke collar. Some handlers at such times pull the necklace of the collar forward around his windpipe and hold it tight. This point is referred by the professionals as choker point (image-III below).

They hold the dog by keeping the collar tightly around-this does the choke the dog a bit. But it is better than having broken wrists! Personally, I do not favor the last situation. It is better to train such dog to not to pull under any circumstance.

So what are you waiting for? It is time to get a choke collar from a pet store and learn how to use and enjoy the walks with your pet!

Image-I How to use a Choke Chain
Image-II Choke collar could be extention of the leash
Image-III Choker point.

More By  :  V. K. Joshi (Bijji)

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