Dependant on who you are, dog training and ownership is either general knowledge, gut instinct and natural or a science. To me it is both; having a sound understanding of the science behind dog ethology, ecology and learning is vital but is nothing without a natural understanding, empathy and experience. And vice verca, a competent history in canine handling means little without the science.
Where possible, I try to keep an open mind into views surrounding canine welfare and training but when facts from leading veterinarians, trainers and behaviourists support my own understanding of dogs, this can prove difficult.
Choke chains to me should play no part in our modern day relationship with dogs for many reasons:
- they have been directly linked to the following medical conditions: injured ocular blood vessels, Tracheal and oesopageal damage, severely sprained necks, cases of fainting, Trabsient foreleg paralysis, Laryngeal nerve paralysis, Hind leg ataxia
- It is often argued that if used correctly they cause no harm. This is because the dogs fears the noise the collar makes. Should we not avoid any punitive training?
- The use of them often cause behavioural problems (next blog)
Choke chains (I include half checks in this title) can be disguised in many different ways to look more subtle, but effectively do the same job (slip leads, made of tuggy material, pretty colours etc).
Owners often say they use them as they are 'easy', 'work' or 'stops the dog getting out'. To me, after seeing the facts and figures surrounding this apparatus i would ethically never be able to use one. On top of this, as a trainer, i would be gutted to know i needed a punitive piece of apparatus to train my dog to complete a behaviour.
However this is my opinion, it does not mean it is right or wrong. How we take peoples opinion is up to us. Some take it to heart and get defensive. Some listen, way up the surrounding thoughts and act in accordance.