Choke chains/ correction chains highly recommended !
Initially many people think that these are harsh and will often choose to just use a dog harness or dog collar, but they are a tool used universally throughout the world in dog training centres and for good reason.
Some dogs have very delicate throats and these chains are not a good idea on them however on the vast majority of dogs they are fine
Cesar Milan usually uses a cheap nylon rope in a loop to walk dogs, because he has them under such control. For the regular mortal much more is required.
The concept of the correction chain is that it is strong and it allows the dog to make a choice. If a dog starts a walk with you pulling very hard, the chain tightens around their neck and is very uncomfortable even cutting off their air in extreme cases.
The theory is that you make the dog walk close by your left leg. You hold the chain high on their neck so it is not suffocating them and so they can’t pull you in a particular direction. If they are walking level wtih you, they are not leading you and are not being an alpha dog.
The idea is to get your dog settled before the walk, then on the walk use quick little tug movements of the lead back to you. This tightens the chain a little bit, may jerk their head slightly towards you, but mostly it is the surprise of the jerk movement and the sound of the clinking tightening links of the chain that condition the dog to understanding if it keeps doing its action, it will cut its own air off. It is giving your dog the choice to do the right thing within your parameters of discipline.
Dogs with very strong necks and very stubborn attitudes may need a stronger correction.
The point is that you are not trying to physically harm your dog, but cohoerse it into action, for its own safety and for your benefit of control in any situation.
Some people give up too early on this method and soon regret it, and often regret it for the life of the dog. You dont need to go for hour long walks at the start with this method, and indeed it if is a puppy you probably only want to go for fifteen minutes at a time. The worst thing that many people do, and are often advised to do by dog shops is to buy a more expensive dog walking harness. These harnesses are fine for old dogs or very well behaved dogs (that have often learnt to walk properly using the correction chain), but for unruly dogs they just encourage pulling, and make your experience of the walk such that you are less likely to want to walk the dog.
Many times I wanted to give up on the correction chain but realised anything softer would make my dog easier to pull me around – the opposite goal of the exercise.
Be aware that this training walk is to give you bonding and to control your dog, to encourage it to listen to you, to eventually walk your dog so the leash is slack between you and a dog walking close to yuou at your pace.
One day, often a few years down the track, you might find that you can graduate to either a regular collar or a great half way option between a correction chain and a collar – called a martingale collar. These are a hybrid that are part regular collar and a few links of correction chain. Thus they are softer on the dogs neck (if they momentarily forget their manners) and it still has the links of the chain to tighten around their neck and so they can hear the clinks forewarning them of what is about to happen.
Remember though, a correction chain that is too long or a loose collar will make it very easy for your dog to back out of the loop and have instant freedom. Make sure you get professional advice on the length of the correction chain and that your dog collar is always two fingers loose.
Always seek the largest (widest) link for a particularly length correction chain, it will provide the most comfort for your dog even when fully tightened.
Ideally get professional guidance on how to use correction chains so your dog obeys your commands with the least amount of discomfort to them and you.