Dog on the Couch

2016-06-09 06:00

Hi Susan, I have heard that you are against the use of choke chains. If they are used correctly, they merely pinch the dogs behind the ears, which is how a mother dog would correct her puppies. They are sold freely at vet shops and other places. If they were so bad this would not be the case?

Dog Owner

I wonder if you have seen a mother discipline her puppies. If you were to video record such a reprimand, even one that might appear harsh to an untrained eye and play it back in slow motion, you would see clearly what actually happens.

In reality, the mother’s teeth do not touch the pup. She bares them while gnashing alternately from side to side at lightning speed and greatest accuracy. The jaws do not close. The mother is fully aware of the damage she might inflict if she lost control. The puppy sees the frightening teeth flashing but there is no closure of the jaw.

Sometimes the mother will grab the loose folds of skin on the back of the neck with her precisely controlled mouth. She will never do this on the tight skin at the back of the neck.

The action of the choke chain is entirely different. By jerking a choke chain, you deliver a pinch to the delicate and vulnerable larynx which controls swallowing and vocalisation. The upper vertebrae at the base of the neck can also be seriously injured by jerking a choke chain. This could inflict certain degrees of paralysis. A choke chain does not replicate the treatment that a sound, healthy mother dog uses on her puppies.

Susan Henderson, accredited animal behaviourist – info@dogbox trainingschool.co.za

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