rottweiler wearing a choke collar outdoors

Getting a new dog is an exciting time. Adding a dog to your family can be a rewarding experience, but in order for the experience to be rewarding, you’ll need to train your dog to ensure good behavior. Whether you’re adding a puppy or an adult dog that was never leash trained, you’ll want to start that ASAP.

This brings us to the question: Are choke collars bad for dogs? We can answer this question with a resounding yes. Not only are choke collars bad for dogs, but they can also cause serious injuries. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why choke collars are bad for dogs and what you can use instead to ensure your dog’s safety.

Are Dog Choke Collars Cruel?

Choke collars are designed to inflict pain and discomfort to a disobedient dog, and we’d say that’s pretty cruel. They are primarily used when training a dog to walk on a leash and not pull. While training your dog not to pull on a leash is important, other methods can be used that are more humane and, more importantly, do not cause pain and discomfort for your dog.

There are plenty of safer training collars that assist you in training your dog to walk on a leash. Humane training collars will fit your pup snugly but not too tight by any means. When the dog pulls, the collar tightens slightly, but not enough to cause damage or pain—it’s just enough to let the dog know it’s doing something wrong or displeasing.

Using positive reinforcement will prove much more effective in training your dog rather than using a choke collar. In using positive reinforcement, your dog will be more apt to obey, and the use of a choke collar could lead to aggression down the line. Dogs have emotions just like we do, and inflicting pain while training will only make the dog nervous and less likely to obey.

dog wearing a choke collar with leash
Image courtesy of Pixabay

What Damage Can Choke Collars Cause?

Contrary to what some dog owners may believe, choke collars can cause serious emotional and physical damage to your dog. Here is a list of possible injuries that could occur by using a choke collar.

  • Fainting
  • Skin irritation
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Crushed trachea
  • Asphyxiation
  • Paralysis
  • Crushed or fractured bones in the larynx
  • Bruising of the esophagus
  • Brain damage
  • Broken bones in the neck

As you can see, using a choke collar is not worth the risk, especially when there are other ways to safely train your dog that is effective, safe, and will not result in any potential injuries.

What Are Alternatives to Choke Collars?

If your dog has a bad habit of pulling while on a leash, harnesses are an excellent way to deter this behavior. Harnesses do not go around the neck at all. Instead, they fit around your dog’s body.

Harnesses are much more comfortable for your dog, and you can control your dog better than with a collar. Dogs can sometimes slip out of a collar if it’s not properly fitted, and dog owners may make the collar too tight without meaning to. A rule of thumb is to ensure you can slip two fingers in between the collar and the neck of your dog for the utmost comfort and safety.

Final Thoughts

Even though some people may disagree, choke collars are considered a cruel way to train your dog. Use a harness or a training collar that does not choke to avoid injury. Positive reinforcement is key to successful training and behaviors, and never yell or be aggressive with your dog, as negative reinforcement will give you a less-than-desirable outcome. Dogs are family and shouldn’t be choked when they do something wrong. Instead, focus on other methods of training to teach them how you want them to behave.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock