I stopped using a collar and use a soft harness only the choking sound stopped. In the five years since I made the change, it never returned..
I also am uncomfortable using a lead attached to a collar. I know that Maltese are sturdy strong animals, but I feel much more comfortable with a harness. I've learned that Poodles have collapsable tracheas. Has anyone heard of the Maltese breed having delicate tracheas? My dog is not a show dog, but a pet. If she is obedient with a harness versus a collar, I feel more comfortable. I hope that this is relevant to your post. I wasn't clear what was happening to your dog on the collar. Was it choking from the collar?
When I took my dog to the Houston Specialty Clinic to have them assess my dog for asthma, the first thing he told me was that the Maltese had problems with collapsable tracheas. He checked that first, and then went on to the test for asthma.
We have had Maltese for over 20 years and I cant think of one
who hasnt made that coughing sound at some time in their life,
especially when they are excited. I have been told by numerous
vets during that time, that it is because they have a soft
pallet and the sound is like they are trying to clear their
throats. I was told years ago to startle them by either a good
pat, like when playing, or clapping my hands, and make them
swollow, or gulp and it stops. It has always worked, and none
has ever had asthma or a collapsed trachia, although Im sure
those conditions can occure. Ask your vet next time and see
what he/she thinks.
In the 9 years we have owned Prince he has always done that when he gets excited or playful. The vet said it had something to do with allergies and the increased playfulness. He also gave us the advice to rub their throat gently to make him swallow.