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Any collar, used incorrectly, can be damaging. With that out of the way ....

Are choke collars "bad"?  No.  Are they antiquated and based on outdated methodologies?  Yes.  Are they more often than not used improperly?  Yes.  Have they been shown to cause tracheal damage with proper, regular use?  Yes.

Do I recommend them? Not at all - but I don't recommend coercion-based training, so there would be no need for them regardless.

If you are going to train by coercion, then a prong collar is safer than a choke chain.

Any other collar - martingale, leather or nylon buckle/snap collar, even a Gentle Leader or Halti - is not meant to be used coercively (in other words, no leash corrections with these collars).  

I should note that my show dogs are shown on slip collars (same design as chokers, but lighter chain, serpentine, or nylon), because that's the proper equipment for that activity - but they are not used as correction collars.  For walking, my dogs have martingales.  They also only wear collars that are attached to a leash; never collars in the house, yard, or crate.
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