Prong Collar vs. Choke Chain

pinch prong collar albuquerque

pinch prong collar albuquerqueEvery dog needs a collar and a dog tag. Their dog tag should have their ID, license, and rabies vaccination tag. Your microchip will also have this information but unless you have a microchip reader you will not be able to easily access that information. If you dog is not microchipped bring them by the clinic during our shot clinic and get their microchip implanted. It is easy and inexpensive, and is also required by Bernalillo County.  Different collars have different purposes. Some are for holding their tags, flea control, or training purposes. Collars like choke and prong (or pincher) collars are known as aversive collars are used for difficult dogs or for training purposes. They rely on causing a level of discomfort that ranges from mild discomfort to more sever which can even lead to your dog exhibiting aggressive behavior. It is important to know what your collar does and how best to use them when using an aversive collar.

Choke chain

The choke chain is a training collar that most people are familiar with. It is designed to control by tightening around your dogs neck. There is no way to control how much a choke chain can tighten, so it is possible to choke or strangle your dog with this kind of collar. It is also easy to cause injuries to the trachea, esophagus, the blood vessels around the eyes, neck sprains, nerve damage, fainting, and temporary paralysis. Though this is a collar that many people know, this is not recommended unless used under the guide of an experienced trainer. These collars should never be left on your dog when they are not on the leash. If the collar were to get caught on something, you dog could strangle itself.

If you use the choke chain too strongly and cause serious pain to your dog, your dog may react aggressively towards you and try to bit or attack you to get away from the pain caused by the collar.


Prong or pinch collar

This collar is like a chain but has prongs facing inward towards the dog’s neck and the chain is on a martingale. The martingale controls how much tightening the collar can do, which reduces the chance for accidental injuries. The prongs, though they look scary, have blunted points and if fitted properly do not dig into the dogs skin. When you pull on the control chain, the collar tightens and pinches your dogs neck skin.  Proper fitting of the collar is very important. It should be fitted right behind your dogs ears and be tight enough to not shift to where they can pinch the trachea.


This collar is good for dog’s that are pulling on you when they walk, refuse to heel, have shown aggression when going on walks or are not responsive to positive reinforcement training methods.

If you are using an aversive collar it is best to consult a trainer. No collar will permanently fix a dog’s bad behavior. This needs to be done with good training. Using an aversive collar should be done in combination with good training.

Stop Your Dog From Being Aggressive – Part 2

albuquerque aggressive dog

albuquerque aggressive dogPart 2: Desensitization

There are many reasons dog’s behave aggressively from frustration to fear or territoriality. No one likes to think that their dog is aggressive but it is a very common problem. One of the most common causes of aggression is a lack of proper socialization when they are a puppy. When a puppy is not properly socialized they will run away and try to hide behind their mother. If an adult dog is fearful, and they cannot run away, they become aggressive. This is the classic fight or flight response.  There are many things you can do to help stop your dogs aggression. Keep in mind that behavioral training takes time and consistency, so be patient.

If you are unsure how to cope with your dog’s aggression, please reach out to your Albuquerque veterinarian at Vetco and we can help discuss options.

The purpose of desensitization is to expose your dog to what he fears but in a way that is that is safe and less intense. This helps your dog to become less anxious as he is exposed to his fears. Your presence in the face of their trigger helps show them that they are safe and will help them to safely confront their trigger.

Steps to Desensitization:

  1. Make sure your environment is safe. Make sure that they cannot run away and get out of the area. Do not make them feel trapped either, so do not crate them or put them in a confined space. Your dog needs to be able to back away but not run away.
  2. Make sure your dog is in the proper equipment. Put on a harness or a good leash that you trust and with which you are able to control your dog. Put on a muzzle if they have a history of biting. The proper equipment will help keep you and your dog safe.
  3. Start by introducing your dog to their trigger (aka. whatever sparks their aggression) from a distance.
  4. Once your dog starts displaying anxiety through backing away, growling, aggressive posturing, stop and stay there. Do not punish them for being aggressive, but use a soothing voice and pet them to help calm them down.
  5. Once they calm down, keep them in a calm state for 30 seconds and then give them a treat.
  6. After the treat, remove them from the trigger and praise them again.
  7. Do the same thing every day but move a little closer each time.

Do not have the trigger approach them. Do not have the trigger make sudden moves or do anything that seems aggressive. When your dog is at the point of being within contact range, allow your dog to sniff the trigger on their own. Once they are comfortable with that you can work on the trigger moving and walking up to them.

Your dog may never be ok with having contact with the trigger and that is ok. The goal is to get them to be within a closer range of the trigger without showing aggression and without experiencing a lot of anxiety. This takes time and consistency. Be patient and your dog will get there in time.

States with the Fattest Pets: Is New Mexico #1?

Dog obesity

You might think that if a person is overweight that their pet would be overweight too. But a new study shows that you would be wrong. Some of the states with the highest rate of obesity in people had the lowest rate of obesity in pets.

The state that tops the list for fat dogs and cats was Minnesota where 41% of dogs and 46% of cats were rated as obese. Though New Mexico didn’t make the top 5 for fattest animals, we did make number 6 for dogs and number 10 for cats.

The study showed that 1 in 3 animals tended to be overweight. This is likely because most people do not know what a healthy weight looks like. When you vet looks at your pet, they want to be able to see their waist line, that part of their belly where it is supposed to curve upward and feel their ribs. If you can see their ribs they are too thin, if you can’t easily feel their ribs, they are too fat.

Dog obesity

One interesting correlation was that states with higher percentages of overweight animals also had a higher rate of pets with intestinal parasites. Since intestinal parasites are easily avoided and treated, it suggests that people are not doing active preventative care on their animals, like getting their annual exam.


It is a good idea to talk to your Albuquerque vet about how to know if your pet is too fat or too thin, and also what and how much food to feed them. A lot of the cheaper pet foods use fat building filler. It makes your pet feel full but gives them little to no nutrition. By feeding them healthier food you can get them in better health. Look for higher quality brands like Taste of the Wild dog food or try making your own. We have a lot of homemade dog food recipes on our site that are easier to make than you might think, and could save you money on dog food too.

If your pet needs to lose weight the answer is the same for them as it is for us, diet and exercise. Make sure your pet is getting the proper amount of exercise per day. I know this can be more difficult with indoor cats, but you can get lots of fun games for them. Ever try using a laser pointer with your cat. They will run all over the house trying to get that red dot. Even playing with your pet for 10 minutes a day can make a big difference in their health and weight.

The other benefit to helping your fat pet slim down, it will save you money. You will save money on food because you are feeding them less and on health care. A pet with a good weight will live longer and stay healthier.