How to Chose Your Dog's Collar
When people want to send messages through decoration, we tend to add rings, earrings and necklaces. But when we want to decorate our dogs, personalizing their appearance, we often focus on their collars.
And like our jewelry, dog collars can tell you a lot about the dog wearing it. But they can also tell a great deal about the dog’s owner and the relationship the two share.
Some practical aspects of a dog’s collar come with the type of dog. Greyhounds need special collars because unlike most dogs, their heads are narrower than their necks and they can slip out of ordinary collars.
Small dogs and dogs who pull tend to do better with harnesses than collars because they distribute pull more evenly.
Little and medium-size dogs can wear canvas collars, especially with strong plastic clasps. Big dogs and strong dogs do better with leather collars with traditional holes and metal spikes. Dogs that pull and refuse to walk politely on a leash can use special collar and halter combinations. Sold in most pet shops under names such as Gentle Leader and Halti, these halters allow the collar to transfer the handler’s tug to the area around the dog’s nose, causing the dog to look down. When the dog is redirected backward to down, he tends to stop and stop pulling.
Shiny collars are large aggressive dogs, sparkles on rottweilers and frills on mastiffs indicate that owners are in conflict about what their dogs really are. Chihuahuas in spikes and black leather indicate delusions of grandeur.
Spike collars date back to those days when handlers were protecting their dogs’ throats from hands. The spikes prohibited grabbing.
Flea collars contain pesticides embedded in soft plastic collars, emitting odors to discourage fleas. But these collars can also be harmful for the dogs, cats and children who hug, rub or pet the dog breathing in fumes.
Obedience collars are another type of collar that sends a message. Despite what we want to say these collars indicate poorly trained pets, most often caused by a lack of commitment in their owners.
Collars that can be used to shock dogs or spray unpleasant fragrances can be used by an owner during corrections, but tend to be overused creating a confused, stressed and timid or aggressive dog.
Dogs that wear shock collars to discourage barking tend to bark out of boredom. Most often yard dogs, these animals bark nonstop for lack of exercise, toys or too much time alone outside. More commitment by owners, organized play dates, or at the extreme, rehoming, can eliminate the barking.
Lastly are prong collars. Often at pet expos or other animal events, you see dogs wearing prong collars. Owners extol the behaviors of their dogs talking about the calm manner. Prong collars are designed with large interlocking metal crimped C-rings with teeth facing the dog’s neck. The thought is that the owner does a quick tug and relaxes, causing a quick sharp jab which stops almost as soon as it starts.
However, these devices and choke collars are designed as training tools. They should be used only while training is conducted and removed during the rest of the time.
Owners who use these collars all the time send the most significant message. These dogs need more training. And their owners need more education.