Many dog trainers extol the use of the choke when helping animals learn good behavior. Others see the choke chain as unspeakably cruel, with too great a potential for injury especially when people aren’t trained on how to use them with their dogs. Dogs can have injuries from choke chains that include collapse of the trachea, but there are also injuries caused to dogs that are trained with flat leather or nylon collars. Injuries with choke chains appear more often.
There is a middle ground that suggests that a dog that is trained properly with a choke chain is not likely to suffer injury. People who advocate the use of these chains are quick to point out that choke chains are not a substitute for the basic collar. They should only be worn during training and a flat nylon collar is better when training does not take place.
The most important part of using a choke chain correctly is to make sure that when you slap the leash to correct the dog, you are doing so in a light manner. It’s strongly recommended that you get training in how to do this properly with a good dog trainer or animal behaviorist. If the leash snap to correct is done properly, the chain will loosen immediately thereafter, and this is unlikely to hurt a dog. Some prefer the pinch collar, which causes a small amount of pressure around the neck during the snap and then automatically loosens.
Some dogs may not be suited to choke chain training, even when someone who is trained does it correctly. Many smaller dogs are more prone to injury of the neck. A lot of the smaller terrier breeds can have trouble with collapsing windpipes and training may be safer and more effective with a haltie that fits over the nose, or a halter. There are certainly ways to train a dog without the use of choke chains, and you can consult animal trainers and behaviorist in your area to find someone who emphasizes other methods.
The most important thing to remember if you do decide to use a choke chain is that you need training to use it properly. Also, you need to make sure the choke chain is only in use during training sessions. If you’re not going to be home for several hours, be sure the chain is removed so as not to endanger your pet.