Dog Collars – What You Need To Know

What's The Best Type Of Dog Collar?

Getting the right dog collar for your dog is one of the most important things you can do for your dog. Your dog will probably spend most of it's life with it's collar on, so getting a good comfortable hard wearing dog collar is essential. Luckily for the more style conscious amongst you, modern designer dog collars can be fashionable too! Finding the best type of dog collar for you, will depend on your dog and what the main use for the collar will be.

What is a dog collar for, and is it essential?

The main use for a dog collar is probably the most obvious – controlling your dog. Used in combination with a dog leash, a dog collar can provide you with a certain amount of control to prevent your dog wandering off or straying into road traffic when out walking. There are other uses for a dog collar such as dog or puppy training. Also, you can incorporate your dog's identity and your contact information within the dogs collar, in the event your dog gets lost.

Choosing the correct size of dog collar is important. Having a collar that is too small can cause your dog harm and at best will leave your dog feeling uncomfortable. Similarly, having a collar that is too big will enable your dog to easily slip out of it. Also, the width and material of the collar neeeds to match the size of your dog or puppy. A heavy duty leather collar will not be much good for a Chihuahua and neither will a lightweight nylon collar be any good on a Rotweiller.

A good rule of thumb, is to make sure that on a large dog, you can slip two fingers between the dogs throat and the collar. Also ensure the collar can rotate easily, but not slip over the dogs ears. On smaller dogs, ensure the collar can rotate easily and does not cause any breathing problems. Make sure it can not pull over the dogs ears. Remember that in the right situation, many dogs can become little Houdini's in their own right.

There are many different types of dog collar available. There are sporting collars, designer collars, personalized collars. We will be covering a few main types. These are as follows.

Standard Dog Collar

Dog Training Collars

Electric Dog Collar or Dog Shock Collar

Standard Dog Collar

The standard dog collar is what your dog would wear for everyday use and can come in a variety of materials. Most common these days is the Nylon collar. These come in all sorts of colors and sizes. The main advantage of a nylon collar is it's price. These collars are very cheap yet provide a superb durability in that they do not tend to rot and when wet will dry out quickly. Alternative types such as leather collars tend to have a more aesthetic natural appeal. A good quality leather collar could easily last the lifetime of your dog. An extension to this are the designer dog collar or fashion collars. These can extend to anything from a simple fashionable pattern or designer name, to a rhinestone dog collar for more special occasions.

The dog collar that you will be using most should be comfortable for your dog and secure, although for lapdogs where the collar can be more of a fashion accessory being comfortable is the priority. For larger dogs, a strong hardwearing collar is a must.

Dog Training Collar

A dog training collar is – as the name suggests – used mainly during training. The type of training will dictate the type of collar.

For obedience training, a choke collar or 'choke chain' would be best suited. These collars comprise of a slip loop that tightens around the dogs neck if it pulls on a leash too much. When the dog stops pulling, the chain loosens off. Many people consider the use of a choke collar as unnecessary but used in the right circumstances, this type of collar can be an effective training aid. It is extremely important to only use a choke collar when training and when the dog is supervised. You must NEVER let your dog out alone with a choke collar on. If the dog becomes caught on something they may easily choke themselves.

Electric Dog Collar or Dog Shock Collar

Electric dog collars or as they are sometimes known 'dog shock collars' and 'anti bark collars' tend to be used to discourage a certain behaviour in a dog. More often than not these are used to control unnecessary barking. These collars consist of a sensor to detect the bark and a pair of electrodes or similar to administer a small harmless shock to the dog. More advanced devices can adjust the level of the shock depending upon how many shocks have been administered before. The main problem with these devices is that the dog is being consistently punished for it's bad behaviour. This may seem ideal initialy but it is far from this.

Training a dog involves much more than punishing the dog every time it is bad. In fact, using positive reinforcement and praise when the dog stops behaving badly can have a much more positive effect. Getting to the root of the behavioural problem is the best approach. Only then can a preventative training method be implemented. Consider the case of a dog that chews and barks because it misses it's owner during the day. The barking and chewing is a product of the dog feeling anxious. If the dog receives an electrical shock every few minutes, that anxious behaviour will be compounded. Read this article for further training information.

For cases where the owner is not present, a far more humane method of discouragement can be implemented. This involves a similar type of collar that detects a bark but the collar releases a natural spray of Citronella that discourages the dogs behaviour. These can be used as a complementary method to other training.