How To Choose The Best Collar For Your Dog
Find out how to choose the best collar for your dogs!
There are many styles of dog collars to choose from, depending on your dog’s size and disposition, and your training needs. For most of the dogs, a traditional nylon or leather dog collar is sufficient. Other dog collars for specific situations are described below.
The collar is one of the most important tools you have. In most places, it’s even required by law when your dog is outside. But there are many different types of collars, and the options can be overwhelming. How do you choose the right one for your dog? And how do you best use it to gain control on the walk?
If you don’t have issues on the walk, this can be a great tool. It allows you to keep your balanced dog safely by your side and out of harm’s way. I recommend this for easygoing, happy-go-lucky dogs without obedience problems. Remember to walk with your dog by your side or behind you. This is important to establishing your position in the pack.
For dogs with issues on the walk, the training lead can be a great tool for correcting misbehaviors. If your dog is easily distracted by squirrels, other dogs, or just a strong gust of wind, the collar allows for quick corrections to get your dog back on track. Give a quick, firm pull sideways on the leash. If you pull straight back, your dog will pull against you. Instead, by giving a quick tug to the side, you knock him off balance and get his attention. Always keep your dog’s safety in mind when giving corrections! If you are unfamiliar how to use the tool, talk to a local professional or ask someone at the store for help.
Pack Leader Collar
The Pack Leader Collar helps keep the slip collar at the top of the neck, which is the most sensitive part of the neck. If you’ve tried a slip collar but had trouble, this tool may be the solution. I would recommend it for dogs that have trouble on the walk, particularly with pulling. If you place the collar on the lower part of the neck, you are actually helping your dog to pull you around. Watch an Alaskan sled dog pulling a load. The harness fits at the shoulder around the base of the neck, because the lower part of the neck is where dogs have the most control and where all their pulling strength is concentrated. If you put it at the top, your dog will be more sensitive to your movements and react to what you are trying to communicate. Keep your dog’s head up. Remove his nose from the distractions on the ground. This way, his focus will be on you and the migration ritual.
Halter-type Dog Collars
This will give you the best control over your dog. They give you control of your dog’s head and when you have control of the dog’s head, you have control of the dog. There are several brands of these halter-type collars including the Gentle Leader Headcollar. These collars look more like a horse’s halter, with a band going around the back of the head, and another around the nose. The leash snaps onto the collar under the chin. When you pull on the leash, the dog’s head will either be pulled down or to the side – this makes it virtually impossible for the dog to move ahead or pull you forward.
Pronged Collars, also called pinch collars, contain blunt prongs that protrude inward from the links. Designed for only the most stubborn pullers, they are temporary training tools used to change behavior on dogs that do not respond to any other collar. Halter-type collars give you more control and are much less likely to harm your dog.
It’s important to note that while no-bark collars address the issue of barking itself, they do not address the root of barking. For an in-depth look at no-bark collars, read our article No Bark Dog Collar.And here are a few no-bark dog collar options you can read more about:
• Spray Collars: Spray collars work by spraying a non-toxic substance in the dog’s face when it senses that your dog is barking. In theory, your dog will get tired of being sprayed in the face every time he barks and will subsequently learn that no barking = no spraying. The citronella spray collar is considered the most humane of all the aversive collars.
• Sonic Collars: The sonic (aka. ultrasonic) collar has a device that sits against your dog’s throat, and when he barks, it detects the vibration and sends out a high-pitched noise, only detectable to your pup, to deter him from barking.
• Shock Collars: Shock collars, like the sonic collars, have a device that sits next to your pup’s throat to detect when he begins barking. Only, instead of sending out a sound you can’t hear, it sends a shock to the back of his neck. There are several different shock levels you can use in increasing measure if your dog won’t stop barking. Unlike the sonic collar that is untestable because it’s undetectable to the human ear, you can test the shock collar against your own skin before using it on your pup.
The harness can be a great tool if you want your dog to pull you. For example, if you want your dog to pull you around while you ride your bike or use rollerblades. This is also a safe option for dogs with pushed-in faces that restrict breathing, such as pugs, dogs with trachea or throat problems, such as Pomeranians, and dogs with elongated, overly slender necks, such as Greyhounds, may have to avoid certain collars, such as slip collars. The first step before selecting any collar should always be to talk to your veterinarian. He or she can take your dog’s medical and breed background into account and make sure you are keeping your dog safe! If your dog suffers from extreme issues on the walk, I recommend consulting a dog behavior specialist in your area for guidance.
We have found that owners who know how to correctly train dogs rarely need these types of collars. Rather, they learned they were training their pet incorrectly, and were able to successfully train their dog using other collars after learning proper methods.
Updated: September 21, 2017.