Dog collars are the most important purchase you will make for your dog. As your dog progresses through life, you will have purchased several types of dog collars to accomplish particular goals. From when he/she was just a puppy to training to their adult collars.
With so many choices of dog collars in the market place, matching the goal with the collar function should be the first decision before purchasing. Whether your goal is training, fashion or a place for tags there are several selections available. Once you have decided the goal you and your dog will be working on you need to determine the proper fit.
The rule of thumb for proper fit is two fingers of space between the collar and your dog’s neck but not loose enough that your dog can wiggle his/her way out of the collar. The standard sizes for dog collars are:
- X-small/small – 7” to 11” (2-12lbs)
- Medium – 11” to 15” (10-45lbs)
- Large – 15” to 22” (40-120lbs)
- X-large – 19” to 29” (100-200lbs)
While there are always exceptions to the rule, you should use a measuring tape for your dog. Snuggly wrap the tape around your dog’s neck and then place two fingers under the tape. This will ensure a proper fit and provide the right length when you make your purchase.
The first goal for every pet owner should be purchasing a collar in which to hang your dog’s tags. When your dog is still a pup, buying an inexpensive collar for this goal is wise, as they will grow out of it quickly. Once your dog is fully-grown, you will have the opportunity to purchase a collar from a wide range of choices from leather dog collars to fashion and spiked collars. This is where a pet owner can have some fun and purchase a collar to fit your dog’s personality.
When training is your goal, the choices become a little trickier. Taking your dog for a walk can be a lesson in disaster if you have purchased the wrong collar. A leather-buckle type dog collar offers almost no help in training a dog to walk while the improper use of a choke collar can cause damage to your dog.
A dog choke collar whether nylon or chain, will damage your dog’s throat if not used properly. The choke needs to be placed high on your dog’s neck, just below the ears and requires two hands on the leash when walking to maintain the position. When placing the collar on your dog stand in front facing the dog, the collar should resemble the letter “P” then slip on the collar.
The pinch dog collar or prong collar, while it looks more like a Mid-Evil torture devise, it is actually safer than a choke collar as it places even pressure on the neck. The concept behind the prongs is to give your dog a pinch around his/her neck, which resembles their mother’s teeth when she grabs the scruff of the pup’s neck. These collars can be very effective in training large strong breeds where the owner is weaker then the dog if used properly. However, if your dog consistently pulls and tugs against the leash this probably is not the best choice, a body harness will give your dog the opportunity to learn at their pace without choking.
Electronic dog collars also have their place in accomplishing training goals. There are two goals, one to control excessive barking, and one for roaming or with radio fencing. No matter how well you have socialized your dog some dogs just refuse to be good neighbors, barking continuously while in the yard.
The idea of electronic collars in this circumstance is when your dog is barking uncontrollably you press a button delivering a “shock.” Over time, they will learn proper behavior when in the yard. Radio fencing has become quite popular, as many new subdivisions do not allow standard fencing. When your dog gets too close to the wire, it delivers a shock. This can work well if your dog likes to roam from the yard, however, a hound dog breed’s instincts will take over and they will chase anything smaller then they are. This type of dog collar will then prevent him/her from returning home when they calm down.
Martingale collars offer a good alternative to choke collars while providing some of the same benefits. They provide the convenience of adjustable sizing with the safety of a limited range choke. A slight tug on the leash tightens the collar without choking the dog. Martingale leads sometimes referred to as “Dog Show collars” are an all in one option for pet owners and come in a variety of colors, leather, or nylon.
Nylon collars offer pet owners some fashion as well as safety without breaking the budget. If you are a nightwalker and enjoy a stroll with your dog through the neighborhood then a reflective nylon dog collar is a good choice. Nylon collars are adjustable and come in a variety of colors, albeit not much of a training collar, nonetheless, great for walking while adding some fashion and safety.
When it comes to dog collars, most pet owners own two types, one for training and walking, and one for tags. Training collars are meant to be used for training and should be removed when the session as ended while the tag collar is meant to be left on at all times. No matter your choice in dog collar, know the goals you are trying to accomplish, the function of the collar and you will make the correct purchase.