Are Dog Chokers Illegal? (Solved & Explained!)

Dog choke collars are not illegal in the United States. Some trainers say they are the best way to train a stubborn dog, especially larger breeds. Other organizations, such as PETA , insist are they are inhumane and warn they are dangerous.  

In this article, find out how to properly use a choke collar, the potential dangers, if they are effective, where you can get one, and hear what vets and animal organizations say about using them. If you think your dog may need a training collar, you’ll want to get answers to the most commons questions about them to help you choose the right one!

How do choke collars work?

The choke collar is looped around the neck and a leash is attached, so when you pull back on the leash it chokes the dog, but once the leash has been slacked, the collar immediately loosens from around the neck. The collar is designed to apply pressure to the airway, making it difficult to breath, which will usually stop the negative behavior.

Will a choke collar stop my dog from pulling on a leash?

A choke collar can help you gain more control when using a leash because the dog will quickly find that pulling away is met with discomfort and a struggle to breath, and he will stop. Yet, many dog behaviorists believe that it is only a sudden reaction to the pain of the collar, and the dog hasn’t learned to stop the unwanted behavior.

Are choke collars effective?

They can be effective on larger dogs or those with aggressive tendencies, according to the pros at the Canine Journal, however, it is debated as to whether they learn to stop the negative behaviors in whole, or if the choke collar must always be used to get the same result. Trainers find them particularly useful on dogs that pull away or do not listen to verbal commands, especially if running away could endanger the dog.

Where can I buy a choke collar?

Many local pet stores and online retailers, such as Amazon, have basic chain-style choke collars that are easy to use. PETCO offers a highly rated, engraved choke collar, while other vendors have 18K gold plated ones, and elaborate designs and styles available.

Can I make my own choke collar?

It is not recommended that you make your own choke collar, especially without a sewing machine, and a very good idea of how choke collars work. A looped, rope-type choke collar greatly increases the chances of causing injury to your dog.

What is the right way to use a choke collar?

According to the experts at Pet Clever, the correct way to use a choke collar is to make a “P” shape and place it around the dog’s neck below the ears, leaving 3-5 inches of space between the neck and collar. If it is on correctly, the leash will tighten the collar when it is pulled, but the collar should immediately loosen when the leash is slacked.

How are choke collars dangerous?

PETA lists the potential dangers of choke collars can be temporary like whiplash, and bruising of the esophagus, or very serious and permanent like fracturing the bones of the larynx, and even breaking the dog’s neck. You must ensure it is properly used to avoid serious injury to your pet.

Do vets recommend using choke collars?

Many vets would not recommend using a choke collar and due to the potential dangers associated with them, the risks outweigh the benefits. Dr. Spano, a veterinarian at Behavior Vets, believes that choke collars are cruel and do not successfully teach a dog anything by eliciting pain that causes more damage than help.

Is it cruel to use a choke collar?

The Humane Society insists that collars which rely on  physical pain to avert behaviors are not humane and can lead to aggressive animals, and physical and emotional suffering. If you are worried that a choke collar is cruel, you may want to consider positive reinforcement options to train your dog out of unwanted behaviors.

Can a puppy use a choke collar?

Choke collars are not intended to be used on puppies, small dog breeds, or long-haired dogs. Using a choke collar on a small pet could lead to serious injury or death because the neck is not big enough to endure the choking of the collar, and if used on a long-haired breed, the collar could get tangled in the fur, leading to consequential mishaps.

What is the difference between a prong and a choke collar?

A prong collar, also called a pinch collar, pinches the neck area, and usually has prongs or metal spikes on it, which can be very effective in training.  A prong collar punctures the neck when the leash is tightened, instead of pressing the airway to choke, yet many trainers suggest trying a choke collar first.

Are prong collars safer?

Prong collars are safer because they do not have the major injuries associated with them that choke collars do, but they may chafe or cause bruising on the skin, leading to pain and infections. The safest option is to get one from a manufacturer, such as PATPET, that offer these collar types with smoothed prongs to ensure your dog will not be punctured.

Is there another collar similar to choke and prong collars?

The Martingale Collar works a lot like a choke collar, except it fits looser around the dog’s neck and when pulled, distributes pressure evenly to the neck, rather than the trachea only. This is a great choice for dogs that tend to run or pull away from the leash, because no matter how hard they try, they cannot get their head out of the collar and runaway.

What are the best training collars for dogs?

The best training collar is the one your dog responds to the best, used properly to get the results you want, safely. Some of the most effective training collars are slip lead collars, prong collars, chain collars, and electronic training collars, though Dr. Sheridan Lathe, a longtime veterinarian, says shock collars can be dangerous, too.