Choke Chains are not ID holders!

Setting aside for a moment that I think the only good use for a choke chain is to hang up ribbons or hanging basket flowers, I want to talk about a terrifying trend I’m seeing. I suppose it’s something I’ve seen before but the last two doggie events I went to I saw tons of dogs with this and it really irks me.

PLEASE, do not ever put dangling ID tags on the “live” ring on a choke collar. IF you do, please don’t ever leave the collar on your dog while he is playing at a park or unattended, even for a moment.

Listen, ALL collars that have dangling tags have the potential to be dangerous but choke chains with tags on the live ring are a completely different cup of tea.

The ‘live’ ring on a choke chain is the ring that allows the collar to be tightened indefinitely. It is the ring that would be attached to the leash when in use. In the cartoon to the left, the ‘live’ ring with tags on is dangling down on the dog running around.

What makes this so incredibly dangerous is that the dog has a giant anchor on it’s collar that can easily start dangling and get caught on something (they can get caught even when the tags aren’t dangling at all). Once the tags get caught, the dogs often go into panic mode and pull back and spin, twist, twirl. When the dog does this, the collar will tighten indefinitely and it won’t be long until the dog asphyxiates. I don’t even like tags on the ‘live’ ring of a martingale collar but these at least give the dogs a chance since they don’t choke indefinitely but I’d still never leave them on while unattended.

There are so many dangers present when ID tags are on the live ring of a choke collar and if anything goes wrong while no one is around to help, the end is often tragic. It’s well documented that tags can easily get caught on things like heat vents, recliner levers, rocking chairs, crates (while in or out of it), fencing, bars on a railing, a playmate’s collar, etc. The last thing you want to come home to is your favorite pet strangled because his tags got caught on something in the home. Choke chains (particularly poorly fitted ones) have the ability to dangle quite extensively and the more it dangles, the easier it is to get caught on something.

What concerns me is that I’ve seen photos with dogs that belong to trainers wearing tags on the live ring while the dog is playing with other dogs, napping in a crate, or playing in fenced yard. Look, this is incredibly unsafe. Regardless of who you see doing it, it’s not worth the life of your pet. Having the “it won’t happen to me” perspective is really not ideal because the reality is, it can happen to anyone and in this situation, your dog could pay the ultimate price.

If you haven’t been convinced of the benefits of using force free training methods and still use choke chains, please do not put tags on the live ring of a choke collar and especially do not leave the tags on the live ring unattended. Have Fido wear a normal flat collar with the tags on that collar while playing or being active. For my dogs, I prefer them be without any collar while left unattended but if you do not feel comfortable having a naked dog in the house when you leave, I would highly, HIGHLY suggest using “CollarTags” by Boomerang Tags. CollarTags do not dangle at all and do not have the same risk of being caught on objects. If you are going to leave a collar/tags on your dog while unattended, these are far safer options than any style of dangling ID tags.

Please, if a friend or family member is using a choke chain to attach tags to, please let them know how this is potentially dangerous for Fido. Too many dogs die of this totally preventable situation every year.

  1. I tell people this all the time, the dog parks are rife with choke chains and prongs with ID dangling (or not). NOt meant to be worn as everyday collars and impossible to CUT if you need to free your dog…these collars should be banned from dog parks.

    • I agree completely. These collars are for training and training only, not for playtime at the dog park.

  2. I just wish I could find any tags to keep on my dogs- right now their only identification if they were to get lost is their microchips. But one of my dogs has a metal allergy, making it hard to find any way of identifying them without her coming in contact with metal.

  3. Obviously I hate choke collars period, but it’s not always for me to judge what someone else does. However, I do get angry when I see a collar like this on a dog who is either off-leash or just hanging around. Choke collars, if they are going to be used, should only ever be on while the dog is being actively trained. They are not, in my opinion, to be used as a normal, every day collar for the dog. Do people who use prong collars keep them on their dogs 24/7 as well?

    I really hope not.

  4. Thank you for this post!

    Additionally, yesterday I saw somebody put a prong on their dog (by slipping it over the dog’s head), that had been wandering around the library park, and then tie the leash to a bush while they…..well, I don’t know what they did, but they didn’t come into the library. And I was working so I couldn’t just go out. But all I could think was WHY???

  5. Wow, I wasn’t aware of this before! It’s a good thing those tags on our guy’s martingale haven’t caught on anything with all the times he’s been off-leash with it on. Time to move Clyde’s tags to a different ring…

  6. I’m pretty sure choke chains should just come permanently attached to leashes. At least then people would take them off… right???
    Aside from that, another tag-safety issue.. I won’t have a tag on a split ring on the ring I hook my leash to. It’s too easy to be in a hurry and hook the leash to the split ring instead of the welded ring. One good pull, and the dog is loose. This has happened to me several times. All my dogs’ ID tags go on non-leash rings on the collars or harnesses.

  7. This makes perfect sense. I would have liked the article a little better if it also posted a solution.

    I must admit i chuckled a little when I read the part about leaving tags on a dog when they are alone. Um, that would be the most important time for a dog to have tags on. They aren’t with us, risk getting loose and tags are how they are found.

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