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Choosing a Dog Collar

Updated on June 17, 2008

Dog Collars

It is very important to keep a basic dog collar around your dog's neck at nearly all times. The one time that you want to remove the collar is when you crate the dog while you're not home, but otherwise dog collars are a great restraint tool that you can use to manually control your dog or quickly grab your dog.

There are so many different types of basic collars and an even greater number of styles and patterns.

Try not to confuse a training collar with a basic collar. Although, the best collar for training your dog is a basic flat- buckle collar, there are other training collars which can include gentle leaders, choke collars, pinch or prong collars, martingale collars, slip collars, head halters, shock collars, and wolf collars. Before you try using a training collar, you want to always try training your dog by using a basic collar first. Training collars are typically last resorts for pulling and other behavior concerns.

As for basic collars, you can choose from the flat- buckle collar and break away collar. Now, of course you still have your flea collars and Elizabethian collars, but neither of these will help you in a time for restraint. The flat buckle collar is a typical dog collar that opens and closes with the same mechanism of a regular belt, and the break away dog collars are those with the buckle that snaps close.

The break away collar is an option in cases where if your dog gets stuck on something, with excessive force and pulling, he can break free of the collar. These are not the best options when you are working with a dog the is a heavy puller on the leash.

Now that you know the basic difference between regular collars, you want to choose what material and style you want to purchase. You can choose from nylon, leather, studded (or spiked), reflective, and name brand collars.

Nylon Dog Collars

Nylon collars are the typical collar of choice, as they are soft on the dog's neck, and tend to be the cheapest for your wallet.

You can find nylon dog collars in a wide variety of patterns and colors that allow you to pick and choose what fits your tastes and what looks better on your dog's coat color. The nylon collars, also, tend to have matching leashes so that you can coordinate your dog's collar.

The nylon collars are great because you can not only pick your favorite color or pattern, but you can pick between the buckle and quick release styles.

Reflective Dog Collars

A popular nylon collar is the reflective collar. These collars are great when you walk your dog at night or even if you hunt with your dog. Similar to reflective vests and belts, when light hits the collar it creates a reflection so that you can easily spot where the dog is.

Before where you could only find bright orange reflective collars, you can now find pink, blue, red, and other colors.

Leather Dog Collars

Typically there are two different styles of leather dog collars- 1) flat and 2) rolled. The main difference between the two different types is that the rolled leather tends to be softer and more pliable so that you don't have to work at making the collar comfortable for your dog. (The same goes with leather leashes; the rolled leather tend to be more comfortable for your hand.)

Otherwise, the leather collars are typically more expensive than nylon, but they tend to last a little longer, unless you have a dog who likes to chew leather, which is the main downfall with these collars.

Leather is much tastier than nylon, so keep that in mind, and don't leave the leash and collar unattended, or you may be purchasing another set.

Typically, leather collars are solid colors, so you don't get the wide variety range to choose from in terms of patterns. The main option that you'll see is spiked or non-spiked leather.

In regards to studded dog collars, you want to make sure that the length of the studs are acceptable, as you can actually find collars with 2 inch spikes, which are fine for walking around the pet store or park, but not a good play collar.

Studded Dog Collar

High Fashion Dog Collars

Believe it or not, you can find name brand dog collars to match your purse, wallet, luggage, shoes, sunglasses, and other accessories. Coach, Gucci, and Burberry are three of the more popular handbag brands that manufacture high quality dog collars and accessories.

You'll be able to find collars with the signature patterns and fabrics that match your accessories. Typically, the collars that are designed by these brands are leather.

You can find them in various colors and shades. Coach, for example, has a number of brown and tan collars to match their Signature line, but they also have pink, teal, blue, red, and other colors so that you can really pick your own collar.

If you purchase these collars from a chain store, you'll probably empty your wallet, spending at least $75 for one collar not to mention the leash that you'll need to match, which is why you should check out eBay, as you can really find great deals on Coach, Gucci, and Burberry dog collars. Yes, there are some sellers that are selling the products for full price, if not more, but if you look just a little bit, you're bound to find decently priced collars and matching leashes.

Gentle Dog Training Collars

If you're really interested in a training collar instead of a basic dog collar, you may want to check out martingale collars which are actually the collar of choice for dogs with larger necks and smaller heads, as they prevent the dog's head from slipping out of the collar. IE greyhounds are perfect for martingale collars.

Another safe alternative for a training collar is a gentle leader or head halter. These basically work just like a horse halter, in the sense of the dog cannot go where his head won't let him. You control the dog's head with the specially formed head collar and he cannot pull you all over the place.

Not all dogs will be receptive to a martingale collar, depending on your training style and how receptive your dog is to training and your particular style of training. But, for the most part all dogs are receptive to gentle leaders and head halters; the main problem you may face is if you have a dog with a short snout. Dogs like Bulldogs who have short, flat faces, just can't wear head halters unless the nose strap is skin- tight to the dog's face, which will just back-track your training. If you run into these problems with the martingale collar or the head halter type no-pull collar, you may want to consider a slightly stronger training collar, such as the choke collar or the pinch collar. Please, just make sure that you know how to fit your dog for these collars and know how to use them properly.

Stronger Dog Training Collars

If you've tried the more gentler method of training collars, and have had little to no luck, then you may want to try using a prong collar or a choke collar. These are both slightly more extreme collars that can potentially harm your dog, but if you know how to properly use them, you shouldn't have any problems. So, if you don't know how to use either of the collars, please ask a dog trainer for assistance.

Other training collars to consider are choke collars and pinch collars. But, before you go out and purchase either of these training collars, you want to make sure that you know how to properly fit your dog for the collar and how to properly use the collar.

So many people purchase pinch collars, but I'll estimate that 2 out of 10 people that use pinch collars and choke collars, actually know how to size their dog's neck. If you are one of the 8 people who aren't quite sure how to size your dog's neck, ask a professional dog trainer for assistance. Plus, you never know, they may be able to give you some advice as to an alternative solution.


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    • PetCollars profile image

      PetCollars 5 years ago from Saint Augustine, Florida

      Interesting post indeed! I am also fun of writing articles ralted to pet accessories.

    • profile image

      Matty Mason 6 years ago

      Awesome Post!! I would like to add SpotLite GPS dog collar from Securus Inc., which helps recover lost pets. It comes with AKC CAR collar tag & lifetime enrollment in their recovery service.

    • funnebone profile image

      funnebone 9 years ago from Philadelphia Pa

      That red studded collar is hot!

    • Joel McDonald profile image

      Joel McDonald 9 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Wow! I don't think I've ever seen an article that covers dog collars in such depth!

      Great job.