Choosing a dog collar may seem like a simple task. There’s way more to it, though, than one-click shopping at Amazon. The goal of using a dog collar is a combination of training and identification. With a proper collar, your dog will walk beside you without pulling (from ahead or behind!). Although some collars offer more control during training, it’s ideal to work toward the good old flat collar. The rest of the collars on the market are used to control bad behaviors that should be corrected with proper training over time. To help you when you’re shopping for your next dog collar, we provide a breakdown of the intended purposes, advantages and disadvantages of 8 different types.
A flat dog collar is one of the safest and easiest choices. If you choose a quick release model, typically made of nylon, they can slip and become loose on your dog. Buckled versions, the ones that have been around forever, tend to offer the best performance when sized correctly – they don’t slip. They’re also readily available in both nylon and leather.
A rolled collar is often made from strips of leather rolled to form a tube. The shape can be painful for the dog because of the direct, concentrated area of pressure. Rolled dog collars are best for long-haired dogs.
A head collar slips around the dog’s nose and ears. Like a horse bridle, head collars offer more control during dog training, especially if your dog pulls a lot on the leash.
Slip Collar or Choke Collar
The original collar used in dog training, slip collars can be made from nylon or chain. These are not good to use if your dog is difficult to handle because they choke the dog.
Front-Clip Dog Harness
A front-clip harness attaches the leash at your dog’s chest. Front-clips are ideal for general everyday use, such as walking well-trained dogs.
Back-Clip Dog Harness
A back-clip harness attaches on your dog’s back (many modern harnesses have both front & back) – again good for everyday use.
A martingale collar marries the idea of a flat buckle collar with a slip collar. It limits how tight the collar can slip, so it doesn’t harm the dog when he pulls. Adjustability is critical since the goal is for the collar to be loose enough to be comfortable, tight enough to prevent the dog from slipping out, and properly limited to not choke the dog.
Prong or Pinch Collar
Prong or pinch collars are perhaps the most controversial type of dog collar. When the dog pulls on the leash, they feel a bit of pain – the idea behind it is to curb pulling. Some proponents claim that they work well in training, while others argue that they’re abusive. We won’t even elaborate on their evil cousin, the shock collar.
How to Choose a Dog Collar
Most likely, you will use a few different types of dog collar over time. Some offer advantages during training but become more of a hassle later. It’s worth trying different models to see what works best for you and your pet. For sizing, if it’s feasible to take your dog to the pet store, you’ll have a better chance to find the proper size (ideally, you should be have a two-finger gap). Remember that the overarching goals are to maintain control while preserving comfort. Be sure to include identification on your dog’s collar in case she gets lost. And then it’s time to go outside and share some quality time together with your dog!
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