Archived Message
Choke Chains

by Rebecca

Hi everyone, I registered my 8-month old pup for obedience classes last week. The instructor wants us to use choke chains. All the other dogs in the classes are bigger breeds. I was wondering if it is allright to use choke chains on small breeds like Maltese. Is it a humane way of training a 4 pound maltese puppy??....and when you tug on the choke chain to give a correction, does it hurt the puppy's coat or hair ? Just want to know what some of your experiences are with respect to obedience classes. Thank you.


There is no reason to use a choke collar on a little maltese puppy. When I took my maltese to class, the instructor said these little dogs are so delicate that just alittle tug is all they need with a regular collar. Please read #138 on the archives Jay has set up on this web site. I had a terrible experience with a choke collar and my previous dog. Good luck, your puppy will do just fine with lots of love and tenderless! (and afew treats to bribe her)

I think I would check out of that class and into another. A choke chain on a tiny Maltese is not only ludicrous, it possibly is dangerous. These are small, delicate creatures in terms of physique. When I took Lucy to puppy school, she used a regular collar, as did all the other pups, large or small. He was not a big fan of choke collars for any reason. Get your money back and get out of there. Check with your local Humane Society--they often have classes, at least in my neck of the woods, and they are inexpensive.
-cathy brown

When I took mine to school, the instructor said the same thing. I explained that Maltese were prone to trachia problems, and I would rather not use one. The instructor said she was sorry, and didn't know. Choke chains are for large dogs that are hard to control. I think anyone can handle 5 pounds. My vet said that it is really best to use a halter type collar in school. My two little Maltese were the top in the class, over all those choke chained dogs, and they really loved it.
-Marsha A.

Rebecca, In response to your question about choke chains. I have worked a Maltese from puppy class thru advanced and on to agility. In a puppy class it really is not appropriate to use a choke collar. I suggest you look for another instructor asap. I have found that most instructors are used to working with large breeds mostly. I have however used a choke chain in advanced class and found that if your Maltese is in coat of any lenght they are relatively useless as the coat tends to pull through the loop of the chain and the chain doesn't drop properly. Kindness, encouragement, and treats work great. Cherie
-Cherie Eno

I use a choke collar for Lulu when I walk her. Through puppy kindergarten I didn't and when I walked her I didn't. When I used to walk her with a regular collar she would just take off, wouldn't pay attention, would pull and pull, gag, choke and make awful sounds. A trainer said eventually their little necks just get so tough that they will pull and pull, it won't bother them but they won't learn. For novice training and now for walking her I use one. She walks so much better and pays attention. Now I'm not tough, I don't pull or yank hard, I realize she is small and delicate. But it's worked for us and soon I can stop using it.

Maybe I have extraordinary Maltese, but, I have never had a problem with training my 2. They are so obedient(even during walks),that it's almost boring !!!! For instance, I was walking them one day and Travis saw a cat,he started to chase after it(he hates cats,no offense)and his leash broke, all I could think of to do was yell "Travis stay",and like a miracle, he sat right down and was incredible. However, one of my Harlee Dee's puppies HAD to go to obedience school. I'm extremely lucky and there are a few owners of dogs,in my neighborhood, that I would like to use a choke collar on.
-Karen Kalamaras

To stop Herald from pulling while I walked him, which is really one of my pet peeves, I used a regular collar and EVERY time he pulled on the leash I would stop in my tracks and wait for him to look back. Then I would start walking again. I really thought I was going to go crazy before he caught on but about two or three weeks of this really worked. I'm a firm believer in training the puppy right so the grown dog will not be a problem. It took us a half hour to walk to the bus stop and back when he was first learning. And I'll be the first to admit it is very, very difficult to be patient that long.

I'm using a choke chain on my 8-month-old Maltese "Willie".. with no problems. He's in obedience school.. and the instructor(s) made sure the collar was the appropriate size. "Willie" will soon be graduating.. he's learned to respond well to voice and hand commands.. and the need for "jerking" his chain has greatly diminished. In a nutshell.. it worked for me (and Willie). Good luck!
-David Boushy

The word 'choke' collar sounds so scary. Most of the time I hear it referred to as a 'correction' collar. IF used effectively, it shouldn't hurt the animal. It is only making a noise which distracts the animal into doing what you want it to. I don't use a correction collar. I use a harness. I feel better about it because I know I can't harm the dog. You really have to know the proper technique when you use a correction collar so that the dog isn't harmed. I don't think the correction collar is harmful in itself, but the people who use it inappropriately.

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