Picking out the perfect collar for your pup
Picking out the right collar for your dog should be a fun experience. But walking into a pet shop or looking online can be overwhelming. Whether you want them to look stylish or looking for a collar for a special reason, they should be comfortable for your dog.
Basic collars that your dog can wear everyday are usually made from leather (be careful when bathing your dog for it will bleed) or nylon webbing. Less common materials can include polyester, hemp, metal, or “oilcloth” (vinyl woven with cotton).
When fitting these to your dog, you should take the measurement around their neck first. Most collars will show common measurements that the specific collar will fit. Make sure to have at least 2 fingers worth of a gap between the collar and dog’s neck. This is so your dog can be comfortable while wearing it. (Just imagine having a tight necklace around your neck!) With this type of collar you can put their identification tags (with name and number), rabies tag, and microchip tag on so they can get back home faster if they run away. (I put all three on Chloe’s collar so if she ran away, people would know she was microchipped also.)
Martingale collars are sometimes called “greyhound collars” because they’re designed for dogs whose heads are more narrow than their necks. They’re very popular among owners of greyhounds, whippets, Salukis, and other slim-headed breeds. These types of collars are usually wide to protect their necks when attached to a leash. (They can do damage to their necks if they don’t have an appropriate collar on.)
Hunting collars are for dogs that hunt. These kinds of collars usually has a built in identification tag. These are very nice as they don’t have their tags jingling around and getting caught in brush (which could scare what they are hunting away). Most of these are very durable and washable.
Training collars have special ways of training like learning to walk on a leash, stop barking, and getting the dog’s attention when they are not leashed or contained. These types of collars should only be used for training.
Pinch Prong collar is a metal collar with “prongs” that pinches the dog’s skin when pulled on. Lots of people use these to help with walking while on a leash. (I highly recommend teaching the “Follow Me” command before resorting to this collar.) Fitting this collar is more difficult. Here is a video that demonstrates how to put a pinch prong collar on and use safely.
Choke Collar Chain is a loop of metal (sometimes rope is braided in) that goes around the dog’s neck for training. These should never be left on if not training. The dog may choke itself to death if snagged on something and your not there to save them. Here is a great video about how to properly use a choke chain.
Head Harness/Gentle Leader is not quite a collar, some models come with a fastener that links to a regular dog collar, but is a great tool when training a dog. Think of it like a horse’s bitless bridle that controls their head in the direction you want them to focus on and turn. (I personally love this training tool.) It’s an easier way to tell the dog what you are expecting of them with a short sharp tug. These are not a muzzle. Dogs can still open their mouth and play with toys.
Electric Shock Collar is a collar that has 2 prongs that sit at the dog’s upper throat under their chin. It comes with a remote control that is equipped with a sound (to warn the dog that if they don’t do what’s told, there will be a shock next) and settings for how strong the shock will be. If you train with this type of collar, DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND UNDERSTAND HOW TO USE. This kind of collar can cause burning if used at a too high frequency and can lead the dog to become fearful.
These are all great tools when used correctly. Training should be a bonding experience for both you and your dog.
“Remember to always have fun with your dog when you are training!”