Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Dog Leashes, Collars and Dog Clothes and other Dog topics.
For the uninitiated, the inventory of dog collars at a pet shop can be overwhelming. Harnesses, flat collars, head collars, pinch collars - how do you know what is right for your dog? You may end up with more than one type of collar for your dog when you answer the following questions:
1. What do you need the collar for?
2. What are your dog's habits when on leash?
The standard, necklace-style collar seen on many dogs is a flat collar. These serve the purpose of holding identification and registration tags, as well as an easy thing to grasp when corralling your dog. They are comfortable for him and can be fashionable, as well. They are not good, however, for training.
Similar in look to a flat collar, a martingale collar differs only in the small chain connecting the two ends of the cloth or nylon portion of the collar. This chain is where tags are attached and can be pulled to tighten the collar around your dog's neck. The effect is more control without choking your dog. The sound of the chain being pulled often has an attention-grabbing effect on your dog and can be used for training on dogs with calmer dispositions.
A harness goes around your dog's neck and under his chest and front legs, meeting around his withers for connection to a leash. Often used for dogs that pull when they are on a leash, harnesses give you more control of your dog when walking with him. Most do not offer a way to attach ID tags and can become uncomfortable for a dog when he is simply lying down. Harnesses serve well as a training and walking option, not an everyday collar.
Often mistaken for a muzzle, a head collar gives more control of a dog than any other type of training collar. A head collar goes around the base of your dog's snout and connects behind his head. Unlike a muzzle collar, your dog can open his mouth as much with the head collar on as without. The leash connects below your dog's chin, allowing you to control his head. This type of collar is excellent for obedience training and dogs that pull when walking on leash, but not as a standard collar.
PINCH AND CHOKE COLLARS
Do not use these collars. Choke collars are chains that can be pulled without restriction. These collars have no safety mechanism to keep the dog from being strangled. Despite popular misconceptions, these give you no additional control over the dog aside from the possibility of choking him. A dog can simply continue to pull against this collar, building his neck muscles and making him stronger. Pinch collars result in a similar situation, although the pressure is applied more evenly through the prongs that connect all around the dog's neck. Slightly safer than a choke collar, pinch collars still promote pulling in dogs.