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Choke Chain Kills Dog

Choke Chain Kills Dog

This is how the Humane Society of the United States describes a choke collar:

“As the name implies, this collar is made of metal links and is designed to control your dog by tightening around your dog’s neck. It is supposed to sit high up on the dog’s neck just behind her ears. Unlike the martingale collar, there is no way to control how much the choke chain tightens, so it’s possible to choke or strangle your dog. It can also cause other problems too, such as injuries to the trachea and esophagus, injuries to blood vessels in the eyes, neck sprains, nerve damage, fainting, transient paralysis, and even death.”

I’ve written many posts about dog training. (Refer to “Is Dog Training an Animal Welfare Issue?” for a detailed description of the differences between positive reinforcement vs. dominance based training.) Choke collars are never found on a dog trained with positive reinforcement and frequently found on dogs who are trained in the antiquated dominance-based style of dog training.

In the short term, choke collars can work to get a dog to stop his undesired behavior. Long term, they can kill. Unfortunately, Del and Carolyn Bryant found this out the hard way.

According to the NY Times, the Bryants left their two dogs, Peanut and Sweetie, at one of the Biscuits and Bath franchises in New York. But only one dog was returned to them alive.

While Biscuits and Bath’s tag line is “You’ll wish you were your dog” and their website describes their transportation system as “Safe & Sound - Door To Door,” neither of those statements could be further from the truth.

The NY Times article stated, “All the dogs there are in double choke collars, a security precaution, the company says on its web site, intended to give their owners ‘peace of mind.’ Ms. Bryant said she did not know about it and called it ‘terrible, barbaric.’

“Sweetie and Peanut were being brought back to TriBeCa from the Biscuits and Bath place on West 13th Street, where they had spent the night. The dogs were leashed by ‘slip collars,’ also known as choke collars, which tighten when the dog pulls. Then their leashes were hooked onto the walls of the van. Other dogs were picked up. Some of the other dogs were anxious and active in the back, and managed to get tangled with the patient, according to a report from Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists. When the driver turned around, he saw the patient hanging by his choke collar.”

Peanut died on October 12. At this writing on October 21, the Biscuits and Bath website still describes their transportation system as “two slip collars placed on each dog plus durable, double layer, double stitch nylon leashes clipped into a screw-lock carabiner on a waist belt.” So far, my calls to inquire about changes they will be making haven’t been returned. It astounds me that they aren’t using crates to safely transport animals.

I am mourning the loss of a dog I never met. What will it take for pet professionals to educate themselves before they put one more dog at risk for their life?

To tell Biscuits and Bath to stop using choke chains, sign this Care2 petition.

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.

306 comments

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4:50AM PDT on Jun 20, 2014

signed, thanks for sharing :)

12:08AM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

Alan, exactly! They are a "tool", an extension of a handler's arm/hand/voice. I also have horses and sometimes use a crop or wear spurs when I ride. Both are merely "tools". I used to think spurs were cruel and abusive, and in the wrong "hands" (feet), indeed they can be! The smooth ones can be more cruel than the big ones with sharp points (rowels) on them. A skilled rider uses them merely to touch very lightly on the horse's side (barrel) to signal him/her to move away from that leg. They are NOT meant to JAB, or to put constant pressure on the horse. A crop or whip is not meant to punish but to apply a light tap to again, signal the horse to move that side, shoulder or hip away from it. That is how 2-tracking, sidepassing, shoulder-ins, shoulder-outs and the other finer movements of "high school" dressage are taught. A choke collar is a training "tool", never meant to punish or restrain.

4:12AM PDT on Apr 5, 2014

Disgusting, but when used in competent hands it can be an effective tool...

4:00AM PDT on Apr 5, 2014

Well, Amanda, thank you but you probably aren't "my type", ROFLMAO! What I was trying to explain, and again, this is a very old discussion but one worth keeping current, since we all have dogs or know of those who have them, no one "training device" works for every dog, or is appropriate for even the same dogs in the same breed. My current dog is a Golden Retriever who is only 7 months old, but he's already almost 70 lbs. He learns very quickly, walks calmly on a LOOSE leash and his collar is an appropriately fitted 1/2" nylon web with his rabies, I.D. and micro-chip tags. However, when he goes outside to play with my daughter's 3 Siberian Huskies, he becomes DEAF. I usually do get him to "come" after I've called him several times, but he's so intent on playing, he tends to "tune me out". She keeps two of her dogs on runners (on my property) when they're outside and not being kept under physical control and the 3rd is my youngest grandson's, and he stays in my grandson's room most of the time. However if he is outside for exercise and my dog is out, they become obsessed with taking off to explore & twice have gotten out of sight within a minute or two. If alone, my grandson's dog comes home after a few minutes. My dog never goes off the property unless his dog is out and LOOSE. It's those situations that I have to address. My thought was possibly the "E-collar" that my GSD used, but then if he's more than 200' away, it's not effective. I bought a cheap whist

8:55AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

Happy Friday, friend.

8:54AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

Oh, Diane....I believe I love you

9:33PM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

"Coincidentally one of my neighbors showed me the other day what a choke collar was like; there were longish pieces of metal that dig into the dogs neck when pulled on by the leash, which the walker pulls on"...........Bonnie S., you're referring to a PRONG collar, not a "choke chain", so since you don't even know the difference, you are obviously someone who shouldn't use either one. NEITHER should be "pulled on" by the "walker" (handler). Both are meant to be kept loose until a command is given and if the dog doesn't obey after the 2nd "verbal command", then a swift straight upward "jerk and release" is given. Pulling accomplishes NOTHING but resistance and pain to the dog. Try this on yourself.............take your index finger of your right hand and press into your left upper arm. You eventually feel nothing. Then take the index finger of your right hand and JAB into the same spot. You feel that, would be my guess. Same with the dog and such collars. A constant pressure/pull accomplishes NOTHING.

3:33AM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

Still scrolling down.............I've seen several comments saying that a "choke collar/chain" should never be used on a SMALL dog, only a BIG one. People..........a small dog can still be trained with the use of an appropriately sized choke chain ............they DO come in various sizes.........thickness' and lengths! A small dog such as a Jack Russell or Fox Terrier is enormously strong for it's size! Pound for pound, a JR is probably stronger than a Rottweiler. I've been in Petco with my Golden, who is walking at my side, calmly, with a LOOSE "bungee cord" for a leash (because I forgot his leash at home), and then have another customer walk past me, being DRAGGED by an 15-lb. out of control JR. Again, a link collar such as a "choke chain" or "prong" is to be used only for training, NEVER to tie out or be attached to a solid, stationary object.

8:01AM PDT on Apr 1, 2014

Diane,

Much thanks to you.

Most Sincerely,
Amanda

4:11AM PDT on Apr 1, 2014

So, on the subject of "training" with a choke chain PROPERLY, Amanda L. said, "A responsible dog owner knows never to leave a choke or pinch collar on a dog when not in training. If you place a choke collar on a dog at any time, it should look like the letter "P" when placing over the head. This will ensure that the choke will not stay engaged. There is nothing wrong with a pinch or choke collar when being used humanely as a training tool. A quick snap and release of the leash and done. It does not hurt them, they just don't care for it therefore, choose not to do the things which got them their "reminder". EXACTLY! When I got my GSD, she was already an adult and came with no prior training. She charged the front door when someone knocked, she counter-surfed, etc. Using a prong with her in the house and simulating these scenarios with a friend helped break her of those habits, but it wouldn't have worked with her chasing my horses or the neighbor riding his bike.

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