VETERINARY ARTICLE ON DAMAGE CAUSED BY USING CHECK/CHOKE CHAINS
It is vitally important that you train your dog when it is young to obey commands and not to be a general nuisance for other people, and for this reason a dog training collar is often used for such purposes. However, it is possible to injure a dog by using training collars ineffectively or overzealously. They are never to be used as a means of punishment or violent reaction to a dog's mistake. Unfortunately, that is precisely the type of use they often get. Possible Injuries to Dogs Choke chains are perhaps most responsible for unnecessary dog injuries. Choke chains work on very large dogs with thick necks that won't be easily damaged and should only be used when you need to get quick control of the animal. That being said, excessive choke chain use can lead to long term injuries for your dog. They include: tracheal and/or oesophageal damage, sprained necks, foreleg paralysis, laryngeal nerve paralysis and hind leg ataxia.
Tracheal and Oesophageal Damage
By punishing behaviour with a choke chain, not only are you not leaving your dog with positive reinforcement, you could permanently damage their trachea and/or oesophagus. Consistent yanking on a choke chain as a means of training does little else than make them afraid.
Spraining the muscles of the dog's neck is another lasting impression made by choke chains. Too many well-meaning dog owners think they are training their dog when in reality they are inflicting severe psychological damage to them.
Persistent use of the choke chain can also can lasting damage to the forelegs of the animal. Transient foreleg paralysis, as it is known, is caused by damage to the nerves that run to the forelegs.
Laryngeal Nerve Paralysis
Another type of paralysis that can be inflicted upon dogs by the use of choke chains is to their laryngeal nerve. Paralysis to this nerve can affect the dog's voice for life. By "training" your dog with violence, not only are you simply teaching them to fear certain reactions and not really training, but you could possibly be injuring them for life.
Hind Leg Ataxia
Hind leg ataxia in canines shows symptoms such as imbalance, wobbliness, buckling leg joints, tripping, falling and even collapsing. This too can be caused by the use of choke chains, and it is another reason to never use them on your dog.
If choke chains do not work and can cause permanent damage to your dog, what does work? Dog training is by far the best way to have a well mannered, happy best friend. You have to train them psychologically, not physically.
Article below gives full explanations as to why Check/Choke chains should NEVER be used
ARTICLE by PADDY DRISCOLL ON USE OF CHECK/CHOKE CHAINS
Reprinted with kind permission of Paddy Driscoll
**Click on READ MORE to see whole article**
Check chains are still used dog training despite the advent of more positive training methods. There isn't a lot of evidence that they cause damage to dogs, but there is some.
Vets will tell you they encounter disc and neck problems which they believe to be a result of dogs being corrected on check chains. Respected veterinary behaviourist Robin Walker wrote a strong letter to the Veterinary Record (Veterinary Record March 19th 1994 p312) in which he makes clear his professional opinion that check chains are damaging and dangerous. "In 30 years of practice (including 22 years as veterinary adviser to a police dog section)" he says " I have seen numerous severely sprained necks, cases of fainting, transient foreleg paresis, and hind leg ataxia after robust use of the check chain." He has more to say about the use of punishment, period, in training. "It fails disastrously when it creates anxious casualties or violently defiant rebels." (op cit)
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