Help! I don’t know what collar to buy!

There are so many collars in the aisles of the pet store, from fancy, flashy, and expensive to average, simple, and cheap. Some are extremely effective tools in training and some can make training more difficult. This blog will break down a few options for collars and how they are best used.

Flat Buckle Collar:

This is probably the most common type of collar. The flat buckle collar is typically nylon, but can come in leather or other materials. These collars are great for training puppies and can work well for some adult dogs and dogs who may be72344_1.jpg a bit more timid and shy. When purchasing a collar like this, I would highly recommend one that is put on like a belt and has metal hardware. These collars also come with plastic clips, though I would avoid those as I’ve found they tend to break at the most inconvenient times! I like the leather collars myself. Click the link to see a great leather collar.

Martingale Collar:

This collar is very similar to the flat buckle collar as it comes in nylon, leather, and a chain. The martingale collar comes in different sizes, from small to large, and sometimes extra large.  This collar is des61wU38kc0QS._SX355_igned to tighten if the dog pulls and is adjustable.

Choke Chain:

This dog training collar is a chain that goes completely around the dog’s neck, with two hamilton-extra-fine-choke-chain-dog-collar-10-inchrings at the top.  I refer to this collar as a training collar as it does just that. The choke chain gets a bad name because if the collar is put on incorrectly it literally is choking the dog. To properly put on your dog it should be in the shape of a p.  When you hold it up, ready to go on your dog’s neck, it should form a p, with one ring at the bottom of the P, and the other half way up the long stick of the P.  Otherwise it won’t release after a correction and will choke the dog. Corrections can be easier on some dogs but other dogs it may mean you will be giving a harder correction especially if you are new to training. This collar is only to be used for training and walks. These collars come in different sizes depending on your dog’s neck size.

Pinch Collar:

The pinch collar is also called a prong collar. Links go all the way around your dog’s neck and pressure is distributed evenly instead of constantly being applied to the same imagesspot on his neck like a choke chain.

These collars come in all sizes but for most breeds the fine links are going to work best. The smaller the link, the firmer correction. It is designed to open and go around the dog’s neck. This collar is not meant to be slipped over the head.  If the collar is too small you can purchase more links.

This collar is only to be used for training and walks. It should never be left on the dog. When used properly these are a great communication tool and they are only inhumane when an owner uses it incorrectly. The Herm Sprenger is my favorite brand.

Other Options:

These are collars that I do not use for training.  For some trainers and students, they can work well, but they aren’t my first recommendation.

Gentle Leader

This is a nylon strap that goes around the dog’s neck and one around his muzzle. It steers them in the direction you want them to go.  I personally choose not to use this type of collar as it tightenpetsafe-gentle-leader-quick-release-headcollar-7s and pulls the dog’s head to one side or another whenever he tries to pull ahead of you, which is dangerous for his neck and spine.  As an example, if your dog were to lunge after a small animal or to greet someone on the street, the result of jerking his head to the side like that could cause neck and spinal injury. I do not recommend this collar for any breeds that are prey driven. It is not the best collar for obedience training purposes.


Harnesses are designed to go around the neck, in front of the shoulders, and behinddog-harness-nylon-chewproof the legs. Most are nylon or leather. This type of collar does not put pressure around the neck, but instead in front of the shoulders. Dogs that have upper respiratory disease or diseases of the throat or trachea are good choices for a harness.

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