Dog collars - Tips on Choosing a Dog Collar

Dog collars are very important pieces of equipment. All dogs need one (complete with a name tag). But what kind should I get my dog? There are so many different kinds available.

Go to any pet store and you'll see buckle, choke, leather, nylon, halti, buckle, slip, quick release, electric, citronella...

Well, you get the idea - the possibilities are almost endless.

So, to help you choose the perfect kind of collar for your own dog, let's take a more in depth look into dog collars.

Buckle Collars

Many people prefer this type of collar simply because of the buckle clasp - they feel it is a stronger kind of collar. This particular kind of collar needs to be fitted carefully to fit the dogs neck because there are only about 4 inches of leeway either way. As such you will have to buy several of these as the dog grows since there is no room for expansion. Oftentimes these collars are available in either leather or nylon.


Adjustable Nylon Collars

These are one of the most popular types of dog collars. They are a really good idea for growing puppies (and full grown dogs too). These collars can "grow with your dog" because most are fully adjustable and come in a wide range of designs, colors and sizes. They are also machine washable. It is important that you be sure that your dogs collar will not slide over their ears but that you can also slip two fingers under the collar.

Martingale Collars

Made from nylon or leather with chain link, this can be used as a regular non-pinching collar or can be used as a training collar. Martingale collars are especially good for dogs who have heads smaller than their necks - like Italian Greyhounds for example. It is also important to point out that this type of collar should NEVER EVER be left on an unattended dog, due to its potential to choke the dog.

Choke Collar/Slip Collars

These types of dog collars are traditionally made out of metal chain links. They also have a metal ring at each end. When purchasing this type of collar you must know your dog's neck measurements (or take him with you) when you purchase the collar. It is also important to point out that this type of dog collar should NEVER EVER be left on an unattended dog, due to its potential to choke the dog.

Choke chains are designed to allow you to give your dog a correction by a quick snap with the leash during training. This will cause a fast tightening of the collar on you dogs neck. It is extremely important that this kind of collar is properly fitted on your dog's neck because it can choke the dog or not release properly if not put on correctly.

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Additionally, there is another type of choke collar called a Prong Choke collar . It is also made up of metal chain links with blunt metal prongs. These kinds of dog collars are designed to pinch the dogs neck if he pulls on the leash. I would not recommend using this type of collar with any dog unless it is used with the assistance of a dog trainer.

Electric Collar/Bark Collar

Electric dog collars are battery powered and generally used for bark control.

Head Collars

These kinds of collars are very popular. A "Halti" is often referred to as the Gentle Leader. A halti head collar is very similar to a horse's harness and works on the same general principle. It is meant to stop a dog from pulling when walking on a leash. Let me tell you now that most dogs will take longer to get used the halti collar than to a most regular training collars but if given time and proper training that halti collars can work really well.

Citronella Collar

These kinds of collars work in the same way basic way as an electric bark collar does, but they spray Citronella in front of the dog each time it barks. This product is humane and can be very effective for the dog who is a continuous barker, not receiving the exercise it needs as well as the attention it desires.

Dog Harnesses

This is not a regular collar but instead is worn on the dog's body, strapped around the ribcage and chest of the dog. Oftentimes harnesses are made out of nylon or leather. Harnesses are excellent choices if your dog has neck problems.

Keep in mind that commercial dog harnesses found at pet stores are not suitable for pulling items such as a sled or wagon. If you want to use your dog in any kind of pulling activity you will then need a pulling harness, a type of sledding equipment - completely different than those dog harnesses that are available at most pet stores.

Important: Never leave a Martingale, choke or pinch type collar on your dog as a regular dog collar because they could become seriously injured. Training collars should always be removed after each training session and be replaced with a regular buckle or adjustable collar.

Don't be surprised that you'll need to purchase quite a few dog collars over the life of your puppy or dog. Puppies grow so fast that there is no way around it - especially the larger breeds of dogs. And as far as the older dogs go please keep in mind that collar upkeep is important too. Check out those older collars from time to time to make sure they're not falling apart and replace them as necessary.

Thank goodness, one of the most important dog supplies of all, dog collars, are also very affordable and easy to find almost everywhere.

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"Puppies are nature's remedy for feeling unloved, plus numerous other ailments of life." - Richard Allan Palm