Written by Michelle Kretzer
If we saw someone choking, shocking, or
dragging a dog, we would intervene, right? But chances are, we have—and we didn't.
It can be intimidating to tell another dog
guardian that he or she is being cruel, but people who rely on choke, prong, or
shock collars to control their dogs need to know about the harm that they're
inflicting. Dogs who are made to wear these collars experience a fear of pain
that often results in psychological stress, anxiety, and displaced aggression.
And the potential physical injuries are just as serious.
and prong collars can cause dogs to suffer from spinal cord injuries, including intervertebral
disc protrusion or paralysis as well as nerve damage, a crushed trachea or
larynx, and bruising and damage to the esophagus and the skin and tissue in the
Depending on the size of the dog, how hard the dog pulls, and how forcefully the person holding the leash yanks, prong collars can cause serious injuries.iStockphoto.com/cringuette
collars can cause burns, cardiac fibrillation, and changes in heart and respiratory rates,
as well as behavior problems.
"Gentle Leader" or
"Halti" head halters aren't ideal, either, because they wrap around
the dog's muzzle, which most dogs find uncomfortable—it reminds them of the
feeling that they get when another dog bites down on their muzzle in a warning
gesture. And when the dog tries to pull, the halter pulls the dog's head
downward and to the side, which could potentially cause a neck injury if the
dog is pulling hard or moving quickly. A better "no-pull" alternative
is the Sense-ation harness, which has a ring located at the dog's chest, not the neck, for attaching the
leash, allowing you to redirect your dog back toward you when he or she pulls
or lunges without causing pain.
mamamusings|cc by 2.0
We each have a responsibility to explain
as diplomatically as possible to dog owners that positive, reward-based training methods are kinder and more effective than painful choke or shock collars and that having
dogs wear harnesses while out walking is much easier on their necks than using
any kind of collar.
Dogs are safest and most comfortable wearing a nylon harness when outside.© PETA
We can use ourselves and our dogs as
examples. I show people my dog's harness and I explain to them that I trained
my dog by giving her praise and treats when she walked calmly on the leash and
withheld them when she did the opposite, and she soon figured out that good
behavior has its rewards. I also planted my feet and refused to move forward as
long as she was pulling, and that sent a very clear message that she understood
in record time. Now when I walk her, she does really well, and I'm so proud of
No dog deserves to be choked,
shocked, and dragged. Let's make sure dogs are treated better than that.
Written by Jeff Mackey
While it's important for our dogs and cats to wear collars (although
never choke or prong collars) and proper identification when they go outdoors, just putting a collar on and
assuming that it'll be fine for the animal's entire life is a recipe for disaster.
As animals grow or gain weight, a too-tight collar can result in severe neck wounds, as the following cases illustrate:
A PETA fieldworker spent the day on Saturday
waiting for this feral dog—with a deeply embedded collar—to appear after being
alerted to her condition by an out-of-town visitor to the area. It was the
deepest collar-related wound that the fieldworker had ever seen.
Remember: If you can't comfortably slip two fingers between
the collar and the animal's neck, the collar is too tight. To learn more about how
to care for companion animals properly, check this out.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
It never hurts to
brush up on answers to questions about animal issues—even seasoned protesters can
get a stumper from passersby now and then. See if you know the answers to the
following five questions that often pop up in discussions about animal rights:
What's wrong with eggs and dairy products
from "free-range" animals? There
are no standards for what "free-range"
means, so animals on such farms may still spend most of their time in filthy,
crowded sheds. Cruel practices such as searing off hens' beaks with a hot blade
and relegating male calves to veal crates occur, and when the animals stop producing enough eggs
or milk, they are sent to the same slaughterhouses as factory-farmed animals.
If we don't test on animals, what
other methods are available? Computer
simulations, cell cultures, human cadavers, and clinical trials are just some
of the many options researchers can use instead of animal testing to obtain more accurate and
davedehtre|cc by 2.0
What's wrong with wearing wool? In Australia—where most of the
world's merino wool comes from—sheep have been bred to have excessively wrinkled skin in order to
produce more wool. The wrinkles collect moisture, which attracts flies, so many
farmers resort to "mulesing," a gruesome and cruel procedure in which
huge chunks of skin and flesh are cut from lambs' backsides in a crude attempt
to prevent flystrike.
Should we put endangered animals
in zoos? Endangered
animals bred in zoos
are rarely released into the wild. Instead, they will spend their lives "warehoused"
in cramped enclosures that cannot come close to replicating their natural
habitats. As a result, many develop stereotypic behaviors such as pacing, rocking
from side to side, and self-mutilation. The only humane and effective way to combat
extinction is to protect animals' habitats.
What's wrong with using a choke
or prong collar on my dog? As
their names imply, choke
and prong collars inflict discomfort and pain, and they can severely injure dogs' necks and
throats. Far safer and more humane options are no-pull harnesses and halters
like the Easy Walk,
Halti, or even a standard figure-H harness. For cruelty-free dog-training tips, check
out celebrity dog trainer Tamar
Geller's video series for PETA.
Have another animal
rights question that you've always wondered about? Visit PETA's Frequently Asked Questions
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.