Choke chains and prong collars are tools of compulsion training, dependent on your willingness to force your dog to comply with your commands. At Peaceable Paws we use positive reinforcement training, meaning that we consistently reward the behaviors that we want from our dogs, and manage or ignore (when possible) the behaviors that we don’t want. Because all living things repeat behaviors that are rewarding to them, by using positive reinforcement we can get our dogs to voluntarily give us the behaviors we want, rather than forcing them. We don’t risk damaging our relationships with our canine pals through the use of force and punishment, and we don’t risk the physical harm that can occur with the use of punishment-based tools. Just last summer, for example, a puppy in North Carolina was killed by a trainer who was using a choke chain.
Training is not just about getting our dogs to respond to a list of commands. Training is about relationship – our way of being with our dogs. Choke chains and prong collars rely on pain to force compliance. I don’t have to hurt my dogs to train them, so why would I use tools that, by definition, cause pain?