Animal Resource Library » Behavior & Training » Choosing the Right Collar for your Dog

Choosing the Right Collar for your Dog

Just remember, there is no magic collar – regardless of your choice, training your dog is key!

Standard collars come in all types of fabrics, colors and designs. Just choose one you like and that fits your dog properly. Fit can be gauged by making sure that you can easily place two fingers between your dog’s neck and the collar. Standard collars fasten using a buckle or snap, and they are the best option to leave on your dog all the time with his ID Tags.

Regardless of what collar you choose for your dog, you should have a tag on his collar that provides his name, your name, current address and phone numbers. Also, get your pet microchipped, as a backup form of ID (very often, collars are lost when a pet goes stray).

The Martingale collar looks like a normal collar with an extra loop on it. Martingales are great for dogs that do not pull, but who may be able to slip off their collars while walking. The extra loop tightens enough that your dog cannot get the collar off his head, but not so tight that it restricts his breathing in any way.

There are harnesses that will fit every size pet. Small breeds and toy breeds of dogs such as Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and miniature poodles, are prone to what is called collapsing trachea, a condition in which tracheal rings collapse or flatten out in response to pressure. Dogs prone to this may cough when excited or being walked with a traditional collar, and a harness may be a better choice. Additionally, animals with arthritis may do well with harnesses, as they avoid any unnecessary pressure to the tracheal rings.

Back Clip Harness
Bear in mind, a back clip harness can promote pulling, as your dog will be able to use his full chest to pull. However, there are a few no pull back clip harnesses such as the Sporn® No Pull Harness. Back clip harnesses are best suited for cats and rabbits, especially when being walked since these animals can easily slip out of collars. Just make sure you buy a harness especially made for your pet, not a dog harness.

No Pull Harnesses
No pull harnesses typically clip on the dog’s chest instead of on his back, and are designed to reduce pulling while on leash. This harness tightens by the dog’s front legs and does not add pressure to his neck. The fit is very important, to ensure your dog cannot slip out of the harness. These work best with broad chested, short legged breeds such as English Bulldogs and Basset Hounds.

Head collars are virtually miracle workers for dogs that pull or are reactive on leash. Head collars are very similar to a halter worn by a horse. The two most common brands of head collars are Halti® head collars and Gentle Leaders®. Both fit around the head and nose of your dog. When you guide your dog’s head, his body will follow. Especially with large dogs, these are a great piece of equipment! After all, when was the last time you saw a horse with a collar on? Head collars can look very cumbersome to those that are not used to seeing them, yet they are lightweight and gentle on your dog. It is a good idea to plan on taking a few days to train your dog to be comfortable with a head collar before using it for walks.

For deaf dogs, vibration collars are a terrific choice. Vibration collars do not shock, so they do not harm your dog, they simply vibrate so that you can have your dog look at you or come find you.

Simply put, all of these collars inflict pain on your dog. Studies link their use to a host of behavioral and medical issues, including aggression and death.

Please note, articles in the Animal Resource Library are for reference only, and are not meant to diagnose or treat any medical or behavioral issues your pet may be experiencing.