What Type Of Collar is Best For My Pup?
Dog ownership is a beautiful thing; the way that it completely transforms a person.
If I’m out in public at a pet store, and through conversation, someone finds out I’m a dog trainer, I can’t tell you how cute it is to see the most serious person melt right in front of me while they talk about their dog!
Dogs have a way of bringing so much joy into our lives, easing the stress of the outside world.
It comes as no surprise, then, if you’re reading this right now, then it’s no doubt you want the best nutrition, toys, coaching, and even style for your pup—just as if you were raising a child.
As silly as it may seem, this clarity of purpose is even extended to something seemingly simple as a dog collar!
With all of the different types of collars out there, dog owners often ask me the question,
“What kind of collar is the very best to use for my dog?”
While the answer to this question does differ from dog to dog and owner to owner, I think it’s important to discuss that there are collars I recommend for training purposes and collars I advise you to stay FAR away from.
What type of collar should you use?
There are a variety of collars that you can purchase to serve a number of purposes.
However, out of the four options I’m about to describe, I recommend sticking with one of the first two:
The simple collar is the most common collar you will see on dogs. It’s flat and connects with a clip or buckle.
For many people, I recommend that they start with this collar for their puppy. If your pup has no issues walking on leash and isn’t pulling, you can continue to use the simple collar.
Martingale/Check Chain Collar
Despite the simplicity of the standard collar, the martingale/check chain collar is definitely my favorite collar.
Why? Well first off, it is an amazing training tool.
This style of collar was designed so that your pup isn’t able to slip out of the collar—without choking or physically harming your dog.
How it works is that when your dog pulls on the leash, the collar gently tightens around the neck, which is a great ‘training wheel’ so to speak, when beginning to train a dog to walk on a loose leash.
From this point, once I tell people that this is my favorite type of collar, they often ask: “What is your favorite brand of dog collars?”.
For me, that is hands down Dream n’ Design, a growing company based out of Southern California who specializes in handmade check chain collars.
The reason I love Dream n’ Design so much is because not only are their collars handmade to the highest quality seen on the market, but as you can see below, they’re also absolutely gorgeous!
For all of you dog fashionista’s out there, Dream n’ Design is constantly releasing new collections of stunning lines of collars; I have received nothing but raving reviews from all of my clients whom I’ve referred to these guys!
To top it off, as your dog becomes a better loose leash walker, and your collar becomes less of a training tool, a check chain collar from Dream n’ Design will simply become a style statement ;)
All joking aside, let’s move on to the two distinctions of collars that I strongly suggest you stay away from:
I DO NOT recommend the choke collar for a number of very serious health reasons.
Choke collars can be very harmful to a dog if used incorrectly, which in most cases it is.
What happens most of the time is that when using a choke collar, people pull way too hard on the leash and cause serious problems with their dog’s health.
The use of choke collars has been associated with whiplash, fainting, spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis, crushing of the trachea, dislocated neck bones, and even brain damage.
The bottom line is that dogs will respond much better to a gentle tug on a normal collar rather than a choke. Stay away from these ones.
I personally do not recommend prong collars. Aside from the obvious health concerns, I don’t believe that pinching your puppy is the right way to teach him how to walk on a leash.
The obvious health concern is that the metal spikes of prong collars pinch the skin around dogs’ necks when they pull and can scratch or puncture them.
Over time, this can cause dogs to develop scar tissue, and hence build up a tolerance to the painful pinching feeling.
Therefore, you’re left with a dog that continues to pull, and no way to ‘pinch’ him into stopping; making loose leash walking even more difficult.
Prong collars are also not always effective, and often times the dog will associate the negative pinching feeling with other things around him, such as another dog or animal, which may cause them to be fearful and aggressive
The obvious truth is that choke and prong collars are designed to punish dogs for pulling by inflicting pain and discomfort.
They can cause serious physical and emotional damage to dogs, which is why, in my opinion, they should never be used.
Whether or not you agree with my opinion, with plenty of other great collars available that can safely advance your training needs, there is really no need for the choke or prong collar.