Harness the Love Campaign Offers Free Harnesses

Published on January 31, 2024

As we celebrate love in February, Denver Animal Shelter (DAS) wants Denver dog owners to “Harness the Love” for their pets and turn in their pinch, choke chain or shock collars in exchange for fear-free harnesses or Martingale collars that produce better results for you and your pup.  

Starting on Feb. 3, DAS is offering free harnesses or Martingale collars for anyone who trades in a pinch, choke, or shock dog collar. Our shelter team will expertly fit your dog on site with the new harness or collar. Pinch collars contain metal spikes on the inside that poke into and “pinch” a dog’s neck when he pulls on a leash. While a choke collar is a metal chain with two metal loops on each end. Both collars are designed to continually tighten around a dog’s neck when the owner pulls on the leash or a dog pulls ahead, causing discomfort, pain, possible injury or choking.

Shock collars or e-collars deliver an electric shock or sometimes a vibration or sound when receiving a signal from a remote transmitter. Critics say they are inhumane and can cause new, more serious behavior issues such as aggression. Dogs can also become desensitized to them so stronger levels of shock strength are required.

Harnesses and Martingale collars provide more control over an animal without choking them. A harness wraps around a dog’s torso, reducing tension on the neck when a dog pulls on a leash. While a Martingale collar fits loosely on a dog's neck and tightens only a limited amount when a dog pulls. 

 There are multiple other reasons not to use these punishment-based collars:

  • Inhibits Learning

     Painful or fear-induced training techniques increase distress in the dog which lowers the animal’s ability to learn. When teaching a dog, they should be as receptive to learning as possible. Learning should be fun for dogs and humans alike.

  • Increased Fear and Aggression

    Being in pain when walking creates fear, distress and anxiety and those negative feelings can trigger negatively motivated behaviors in dogs with high levels of arousal, including aggression. An uncomfortable and irritated dog can create an angry canine and a lousy playmate.

  • Unplanned Associations

    As well as being painful and distressing, pain-inducing techniques don't teach positive dog behavior. They're likely to cause confusion. Because our dogs are constantly making associations throughout their experiences, the pain a dog feels might have them relate it to something else completely. For example, if every time a dog enthusiastically pulls towards another dog to say hi, but this is continually paired with the discomfort of the prong “correction,” he may begin to associate the sight of other dogs with discomfort. As dogs are social, pack animals, this can be very risky to your dogs’ emotional and social health.

  • Injuries
    A dog’s neck, unlike a human’s is quite delicate and more vulnerable to tension. The thyroid gland in a dog is in the front of the neck just below the larynx. The repeated pressure of choke and prong collars can cause severe inflammation of the skin and muscle, and in extreme cases cause cervical spine injuries. These collars can make a dog cough and even cause the windpipe to collapse. Initial small skin lesions hidden by the fur can be overlooked and develop infections.

Denver residents can trade in your pinch, choke or shock collar any time during the shelter’s operating hours while the harnesses and collars last. Please note, if your pup is aggressive, just bring in your dog’s collar and we’ll exchange it.