I decided to write this post after hearing a story from a fellow trainer and friend. I have told similar stories in the past, to clients, but this one is a little closer to home.
In the process of training a dog there are many different TOOLS a trainer holds in the "Bag of tricks". Correction Collars ( choke chains) happen to be one of those tools. I have used them for years on certain dogs, and I use them now as part of my training process. Not everyone uses them and not every owner agrees with them, however they can be invaluable in the grand scheme and big picture of TRAINING certain animals. With that being said, I want to preface they are a TOOL. They are not a collar!!! They do not and should not take the place of a flat buckle collar. I have seen people use them as such. They do not and should not have tags attached to them, and they are used ONLY when the dog is in TRAINING MODE, or under the supervision of the owner. When TRAINING has finished, they are to be removed, and put in a safe place till the next TRAINING session. Below is a story that happened to a client of a training partner of mine.
I received a phone call last week from a friend who asked me who to call to remove a dead dog of someones property. I asked her what had happened and she relayed to me that the owners of three dogs had been in an accident that resulted in the death of one of the three dogs at the home. Apparently, the owner had left town for the weekend and left her three Labrador Retrievers in the care of a family member. While the caregiver had left for the day, the dogs were outside, as they had always been, until the caregiver was to come back. In the small time she was gone the dogs had managed to get tangled in the chokers that had been left on them. The puppy (7months) was playing with the sister ( 6yrs old) and got his mouth caught in her chain. The puppy then panicked and twisted and fought to free himself and in the process strangled the 6 yr old dog to suffocation. The puppy received cuts and bruises to his JAW, TEETH, MOUTH, GUMS, NOSE, EYES, NECK, AND FACE. He was in critical condition due to the swelling around his neck that made it difficult for him to breath. He has recovered, however, the 6 yr old was lost in the process.
I hate when I hear stories of preventable accidents, but this is why as a trainer, I always tell you to remove your choker. I have clients who battle me on this with excuses as to why they don't remove them. I don't care what excuse you give me, I will NEVER tell you it is okay to leave on TRAINING equipment if you are not around.