I continue this month with the topic of collaring and identifying our pets. Choke collars are to be used exclusively for leashing your pet, and should always be used when your pet is leashed. Leave a leather or cloth collar with the ID tags on your dog at all times. The collar shouldn’t be too tight; an appropriately placed collar will be too loose for securely attaching a lead. For this reason, a choke chain is used with a leash.

You do not have control over your dog if you have a leash hooked to a collar that can slip over his head if he pulls away from you. One day, I had to pull my three pups out of the jaws of a pair of mastiffs as they charged me suddenly. Without a chain to cinch down, I would have had no control – and probably no more pups.

Some very large breeds such as the Rottweiler or Irish Wolfhound may require something called a German Choke Collar. This collar has prongs that pinch into the muscles of the neck if the dog pulls against you, thereby affording the leash holder a little more control over the strong beast.

Another great idea is a microchip ID. This involves imbedding a microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) just under the skin between the shoulder blades. This chip is coded with a unique number that identifies your pet and links it with your name and information. Most pounds and human societies and many veterinarians have scanners that read these chips. I consider it a good back-up to the old-fashioned collar and tag style.