Choke collars, also known as choke chains or chain collars, are steeped in controversy.
These aversive collars are used for training purposes. As a training device, these collars are crude but effective, working in the same way as to shock collars, by using pain to reduce unwanted behaviors.
The problem is that many pet owners consider the inhumane and out of the question.
We’re not here to persuade you to use any training tool you are uncomfortable with, and only you can decide your stance when it comes to aversives like choke chain collars.
A choke chain style collar is typically used for the following applications:
- Sharply correcting unwanted behaviors like lunging or barking at other dogs
- Ensuring your dog’s head stays up and to attention when he’s walking by your side
- Preventing your dog from breaking from the heel position
- To stop your pooch from dragging you all over the neighborhood
Learning how to use a choke collar the right way won’t take endless training sessions, and you should soon find yourself using the control loop as an effective training leash.
See our related article on the Best Dog Chain Collars. Find out which one fits your dog best for faster training.
In This Article:
- What Is The Proper Way To Use A Choke Collar?
- How To Place A Prong Collar On Dog?
- How To Attach A Leash To Prong Collar
- How To Attach A Leash To Slip Collars
- How To Attach A Leash To Martingale Collars
- Is it Better to use a Harness or Collar?
- How to use a Choke Collar for Training
- What to do When Your Dog Collar Keeps Loosening
What Is The Proper Way To Use A Choke Collar?
Before you start training your dog with one of these collars, you’ll need to attach it the right way.
You’ll start with a length of chain with two rings at the end. Given that neither of these rings can pass through the other, how can you make the choke collar into the loop you need for your training methods?
Luckily, it couldn’t be easier.
- Pinch a short length of the chain together.
- Pull the part of the chain you doubled up so it goes all the way through the terminal ring.
- Push the pinched part of the chain through either ring.
- Pop the loop over your dog’s head, leaving the free end – you’ll attach this to your dog’s leash – on top of his neck.
Where should you attach a leash to a choke chain-style collar, though?
Well, you need to use the outer ring so it fits quite loosely. Remember: a choke chain does not work like a regular collar. It’s a corrective training tool that can be useful for some dogs.
Always use a short pull and never a long jerk when you’re walking your dog using a choke chain. Failing to adhere to this can injure your dog.
Here’s what not to do when you’re using a choke chain collar on Rover:
- Never violently jerk on the leash. This can easily injure your dog’s back or neck.
- Resist the temptation to correct behavior that doesn’t warrant correcting. You need to maintain consistency when you’re training your furball so he knows exactly where he stands.
- Never use a choke collar on your dog unless both the collar and the leash are correctly attached.
- Don’t use a choke chain that’s incorrectly sized for your dog. With the chain slack, you need several inches of choke chain poking outside the loop.
- Never use one of these chains to administer prolonged corrections. This can choke your dog, and it could even strangle him or cause tracheal damage.
Now, a choke chain collar isn’t the only type of aversive, so how about prong collars?
How To Place A Prong Collar On Dog?
A prong collar is not designed for all-day use, but rather to be put on and removed after training sessions.
Always ensure you remove enough links from your prong collar to get a snug and comfortable fit. If the collar hangs down your dog’s neck, the collar won’t work as intended.
A properly positioned prong collar will sit flush under your dog’s jawline, tight behind his ears.
See our article on How Should You Place A Prong Collar on Your Dog for detailed instructions with video.
How To Attach A Leash To Prong Collar
While a prong collar might look intimidating, these are simply chain-based aversive collars featuring prongs rather than a simple chain arrangement.
These prongs point inward, and when the collar is not under any tension, they will rest flush against your pup’s fur.
Each time you make a correction with one of these collars, though, the collar tightens and the prongs press into your dog’s neck.
Attaching a leash to a prong collar is straightforward. You usually have a choice of two rings, and you should attach the dog’s leash to the outer ring, just like with a choke chain collar.
The core purpose of these training collars is to tighten and loosen as tension is applied and released. If you attach your dog’s leash to the inner ring, you’ll find you can’t get the same snapping motion when you try to correct Rover.
Instead, you’ll end up generating a continuous tugging motion which is not only inhumane but also does nothing to teach your dog not to pull.
How To Attach A Leash To Slip Collars
Slip collars work similarly to prong collars, but they lack the pronged component. This type of training collar can work well if your dog is not prone to pulling too much on the leash. Slip collars can also make a smart choice for puppies or more delicate doggies.
Again, make sure you attach your dog’s leash only to the outer ring on a slip collar. This allows for a smooth and rolling feel when you’re out for walkies.
How To Attach A Leash To Martingale Collars
A martingale collar is made from a variety of materials. Unlike the simple chain loop of a choke collar, you’ll often get an abrasion-resistant ribbon material, as well as the links and loops you need for attaching your dog’s leash.
Martingale collars have two inner rings and one outer ring. As with the other aversive collars we review, use the outer ring for leash attachment. If you don’t get a tightening feeling when you tug on your martingale collar’s leash, it’s fitted to the wrong ring.
See our related article where we break down the Top 10 Martingale Dog Collars with full rankings and reviews.
Is it Better to use a Harness or Collar?
Deciding whether to use a collar or a harness on your dog is largely personal. To help you determine whether it’s better to use a harness or a collar, consider the following key benefits of dog harnesses:
- You’ll have more control over your dog, even if his leash manner are not fully honed.
- Very small breeds can pick up injuries from tugging or pulling on the leash. With a harness, pressure is more evenly distributed, with less strain on his back and neck.
- Harnesses make it easier to walk stronger, larger dogs without straining your arms.
- They work effectively for training puppies that don’t yet know how to walk on a leash.
- Harnesses offer teacup breeds some added support when they’re getting up.
- The design of a harness should discourage your dog from pulling. He won’t make any progress if he pulls when wearing a harness – unlike with a leash – and this should be enough to stop him in his tracks.
- A harness is a neat solution if your dog is an escape artist prone to slipping his leash.
See our related article where we break down The 18 Best Dog Harnessess with full rankings and reviews.
How to use a Choke Collar for Training
Even if you agree with using them in principle, choke chains only have limited applications. Using one of these collars outside of the intended circumstances won’t deliver results.
The most common reasons for using a choke chain include:
- Stopping your dog paying too much interest to animals or people when you’re out for walkies.
- Preventing your dog from getting overexcited.
- Stopping your dog from straining on the leash.
- Safeguarding you against a dog that pulls too hard on the leash.
Always make certain the collar is correctly positioned on your dog – see above.
Shower your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement when he’s wearing the collar, and also when he behaves well.
Ensure you desensitize your dog to the collar by getting him accustomed to wearing it indoors.
When required, correct your dog by quickly popping the leash. You may choose to issue a simultaneous verbal correction.
Next, get your dog’s attention back on you and praise him for doing well.
What to do When Your Dog Collar Keeps Loosening
To mitigate this, always err on the sight of caution when you’re tightening your dog’s collar. You should find you can fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s fur if the collar is correctly fitted. Any more than this and the collar is liable to come loose and possibly even work its way off.
If you’re still concerned about this issue, consider using a slip leash when you’re out walking for an extra layer of security.