Proper Use of A Slip Collar (Choke Chain)

Slip collars, often called choke chains, are a useful tool to use when training your dog; if they are used properly. They are not intended to choke your dog and you don’t want to use them if your dog is a strong puller. They are used to give correction while training. The collar, when used for correction, puts pressure on the brachial nerve giving the dog a quick zing, kind of like when you hit your funny bone.

When purchasing a slip collar, you will want to choose one that, when on your dogs neck, leaves around 2 inches free. Measure around your dog’s neck then add 2 inches.

There is only one right way to put a slip collar on. To put it on, stand in front of your dog and hold up the collar. You want it to be in the shape of a “P.” The leash is attached to the ring on the collar that does not have the chain through it. If you have it on properly, from the leash, the collar should run over the top of the dog’s neck and then around to the other ring. When you pull on the leash, the collar should tighten, then loosen when you release the tension.

Incorrect Collar

Incorrect Collar

Correct Collar

Correct Collar

If you put the collar on wrong, the links will come through the ring from under the dog’s neck and the collar will not loosen when you release tension.

Slip collars should ONLY be worn during training. Never, EVER, tie your dog up outside with a choke collar on.

When training, you will want to give a sharp snap of the collar to give correction, then quickly release it. You don’t want to choke him, but bring him back to focus. Pulling too hard could result in injury or even frighten the dog.

Training should be an enjoyable experience for both of you. If you are concerned with properly training your dog, consider the services of a professional trainer.


2 thoughts on “Proper Use of A Slip Collar (Choke Chain)

  1. LeoH says:

    What about something like a half-choke collar? My mother used to own several dogs which she had on choke chains, and I must say that I felt really sorry for them (because they were usually strong pullers and she didn’t have lots of patience – not the temperament for pets).

    So something that does the same job in a “nicer” way seems to be the answer.

    • Lissa says:

      In the case of a strong puller, you will probably want to use one of those or a Halti Harness which makes pulling impossible. When the dog pulls it turns them around the other direction, giving you more control and not allowing the dog to choke himself. They also have another version, which is a head collar that gives you the same control.

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