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24 August 2021

The different types of dog collars and their uses

Let's understand the different types of dog collars and their purpose in dog training

Currently the market has many different types of dog collars. Collars are worn by dogs for many purposes like walking, identification, training or even for fashion. In this in-depth guide to the different types of dog collars, you will understand the purpose and use of all types of dog collars and which one might be the best for your dog.

The different types of dog collars
The different types of dog collars

Let’s have a look at the different types of dog collars and their uses


Every day collars


These types of dog collars are basically meant for every day use. These dog collars come with quick release clasp or metal buckles. These are available in a variety of colors, styles as well as materials. A lot of dog guardians prefer to go for buckle collars if they have strong dogs since the quick release clasp has been observed to be less sturdy and tends to break easily. These every day types of dog collars also come in as rolled leather types. However, these have been observed to be more durable and cause less hair loss and parting of the fur around the neck.

One thing which every dog guardian must remember is to have their dog's name and the guardian's contact information on the collar in case the dog gets lost.

One downside of the everyday collar is that their is a lot of pressure generated if the dog keeps pulling while having the leash hooked on the collar. It has been observed that wearing this type of collar raises the eye pressure of the dog. It may worsen the condition of the dog if the dog is already suffering from glaucoma or other eye issues which causes elevation in the eye pressure. Therefore, guardians of dogs with eye issues should go for harness or train their dogs to walk on loose leash.


Change slip collar for dogs


These collars are also often referred to as choke collars. These choke collars are only meant for training purposes. These are usually made of metal that sits around the dogs neck. When the owner or guardian pulls the leash, the caller tightens around the dogs neck.

Choke collar mainly conducts behavior correction by employing the method of negative reinforcement. They prevent the dog from engaging in the behavior by using aversive methods like pain. Repeated use of the choke collar has been observed to hurt the dog, hence these collars are not favored by many dog guardians and trainers.


Choke collars can hurt the dog if pulls too hard
Choke collars can hurt the dog if pulls too hard



A few pointers to keep in mind when using choke collar


If you do decide to use a choke collar for training your dog, learn to handle it properly so you don’t land up hurting your dog by mistake. Furthermore, never leave the choke caller unattended on your dog as they pose a threat of strangulation.

With change slip or choke collars, there are a few secrets dog trainers and guardians must know to allow for effective training. Once the dog understands that a strong correction will be administered once he or she misbehaves, a strong correction won’t be needed. A light correction as a warning will be enough to deter the dog from engaging in the unwanted behavior.

The leash or chain must be of the perfect length so the corrective tug can travel to the dog and administer the correction. If the leash is long or loose, the tug would lose its effectiveness by the time it reaches the dog. If the leash us too short, the collar would tighten too quickly and may become a choking hazard.


Metal prong collars


These are possibly the harshest looking dog collars available in the market. However, many dog trainers find these types of dog training collars to be very effective for training of stubborn and strong dogs who have a tendency to constantly pull on the leash. Metal prong collars are also referred to as pinch collars. These collars are primarily used for the purpose of correction during the training process. They work similar to the choke collars. Just like the choke collars, these metal prong collars must never be left unattended on your dog as they pose risk of causing strangulation.

Metal prong collars
Metal prong collars work similar to choke collars



Martingale dog collars


These collars are also referred to as greyhound collars or limited slip collars. As the name suggests these collars are specifically designed to prevent the dog from slipping out of the leash during walks or when on leash.

These types of dog collars tend to tighten when the dog pulls on the leash, thus preventing too much leash pulling. However, they also have a stopping mechanism which prevents the collar from closing in on the throat of the dog completely. These collars are most often make of nylon. Even though these collars are specifically recommended to be used with sighthounds, they can also be used with dogs belonging to other breeds.

Martingale collars
Martingale collars are anti-slip collars



Head collars


A lot of time people confuse head collars with muzzles. However, both have very different purposes. Head collars act as harnesses for head. These are specifically used to train the dog to walk on leash. When the dog tries to pull the leash, the halter or the head collar causes the dog's head to turn. This is an uncomfortable experience for the dog and prevents the unwanted behavior.

Head collars can be very useful to discourage pulling and help with other forms of training as well. When using head collars, be very careful as to not leave it on the dog unattended. Furthermore, it is advised that head collars should also not be used with very long leashes.

Harness


This would be my favorite choice amongst all the different types of dog collars available in the market. Harnesses are placed around the dog's abdomen and chest region. They cross over on the back where the leash is attached. The hook for attaching the leash is either present on the back or on the front depending on which type of dog collar the guardian chooses. A lot of dog guardians prefer to use harnesses over collars since the harness does not put pressure on the neck.

There is a conflict amongst trainers regarding whether harness make for a good dog training option or not. A lot of dog trainers believe that harnesses encourage the dog to pull. Therefore, collars should be used for training purposes. However harnesses are definitely a good option for dogs who have medical issues in the neck region.

Dog harness
Dog harness is the best option for dogs with eye issues or brachycephalic facial structure

 

Dog show collars


These types of dog collars are mainly made of nylon, leather or metal. You will mainly notice these types of dog collars being used in dog shows.

E collars


Electronic collars or shock collars or e collars are the types of dog collars which work on using negative reinforcement to correct the unwanted behavior of the dog. These collars have a metal region on the inside which is in contact with the neck of the dog. The collar can impart electrical shocks and vibration of varying degrees to the dog when prompted by pressing the button on the remote which is with the guardian.

 There are many different types of shock collars with smart technology available. These come with various attributes like embedded GPS tracking to track your dogs location, ability to monitor behavioral changes in your dog and assistance to help you change your dog. Most of these collars come with smartphone applications. Some of these collars may even have Wi-Fi coverage and be waterproof. 

  
Their are mixed reviews about e collars. A lot of certified dog trainers are against the use of e collars as the shock can cause mental and physical impairment to the dog. However, other dog guardians and trainers are of the opinion that when used in low settings e collars can be the best training collars for dogs.

Some e collars come with a vibration feature as well. The vibration can be used as a warning before the shock is delivered to the dog. Eventually, when the dog learns how e collars work, only the vibration might be enough to deter the dog from engaging in the unwanted behavior, since he will understand that shock follows the vibration.

Some dog guardians also choose to only use the vibration feature of the collar. alternatively, one can also opt for vibration collar only. 


shock collars
Shock collars use negative reinforcement for training



Personal opinion

I am foster mom to 15 dogs who live on the streets and I have a son by the name Delta Bunny. I am well versed with dog behavioral patterns and most often why dogs react aggressively. I believe that shock collars, prong collars and choke collars are not the solution to effective dog training. Such collars hurt your dog. They work on negative reinforcement or punishment driven correction. Would you try to train your child this way? But hurting him or her excepting her or she does a mistake?

Dogs are family. If you won’t treat your family member this way, dogs do not deserve such treatment as well. They love you abs will give their life for you. Is this how they deserve to be repaired for their love and loyalty? I deal with dogs who have no homes. They live on the streets. If I can get these so called ‘feral dogs’ (as referred to by others. Personally these kids are just misunderstood by those who don’t want to understand dogs) to behave like adorable teddy bears then you can obviously get your dog trained without using aversive methods.  

Punishment is never the solution to the problem. Time, patience and lots of treats is the answer to good dog training. If your dog forgets a command, retrain him. Punishment is never the answer. If you decide to go for a shock collar, shock yourself before you use it on your dog. I am pretty sure you will never use it on your pup if you love him or her. For those dog guardians who argue that the fur of the dog reduces the impact of the shock, I'd say use it on your head to understand the effect. 

Shock collars are not a humane option for dog training. Behave with others the way you want to be behaved with. Dogs are family, not a commodity to own. I cannot imagine buying a shock collar, poop prong collar or choke collar for Delta or any of my kids, much less use it on them. Even the thought is enough to send shivers down my spine.

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Conclusion


Forming a positive or negative opinion about specific type(s) of dog collars is very easy, especially when the guardian or trainer does not have the right knowledge of the purpose and utility of the types of dog collar. Every collar has its own pros and cons. Which type of dog collar you choose for your dog will depend on your needs and requirements. However, do not go for shock collars ever. 

Most people who use positive reinforcement techniques for dog training would not be in favor of choke collar or harness while those who are in favor of negative reinforcement will have high opinions about the same.

Now that you have an overview of all types of dog collars, which is your favorite one and why? One final piece of advice is that no collar should be left on the dog on a permanent basis. Once the dog is gone, the collar must be removed.

If you have any query pertaining to this blog post or others, feel free to contact me on any of my social media channels or leave your queries in the comment section. I will be happy to help.

Frequently asked questions


What collars are bad for dogs?
Collars which are too tight for the dog can become a coking hazard for the dog. A tight collar can also lead to skin infections and hair loss, while collars which are moderately tight can cause skin irritation. Shock collars are strictly unadvised for use on dogs. Shock collars are cruel and cause trauma to the dog. 

Do vibration collars hurt dogs?
Vibration causes irritation to the dog. Vibration only sends a buzz to the dog's neck which irritates the dog. But these collars don't hurt the dog. However, it is possible to train the dog without the use of vibration collars as well. Over time vibration may lead to nerve damage at the region where the vibration is repeatedly sent. However, this has not yet been proven.

What are flat collars for dogs?
Flat collars or everyday collars have a buckle or plastic snap which is used to attach the collar to the dog's neck. These collars also come identification tags and leash.

How old should a dog be before a shock collar is used to train him or her?
To should shock collar on a dog, the dog must be at least 14 to 15 weeks of age. However, it is better to start training once the pup is 6 months old. I personally strictly advise against the use of shock collar. 

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