Choosing the Right Dog Collar
Selecting the right dog collar for your canine can make a big difference in whether or not your dog is able to be trained properly. When you walk into a pet store, you may feel overwhelmed by all of the available options there. Logically, whichever collar you choose, you need to make sure you are able to hang its ID tags from it. However, beyond that, you may need help in choosing the right collar for your dog, as it should be safe, sized properly, and comfortable.
Dog Collar Types
Flat Buckle Collar: The most popular of all the varieties, a flat buckle dog collar buckles or snaps closed. They are manufactured in a wide array of colors, patterns, and sizes for you to choose from. You can easily secure necessary identification tags to a flat buckle collar. This type of standard collar is not particularly geared for training purposes.
Martingale Collar: A type of training collar, martingale collars are popular because they are comfortable for your dog and safe to use. When you are walking your dog, they tighten up a little when your dog pulls on the leash. However, whenever your dog stops pulling, the collar comfortably loosens up.
Choke Chain: Also designed for training your dog, a choke chain tightens around your dog’s neck when your dog pulls. The problem with choke chains is that it keeps getting tighter and tighter and doesn’t know when it’s time to stop. Choke chains may be difficult to use, so often get used improperly as a result.
Prong/Pinch Collar: Prong or pinch collars work similarly to choke collars. The only difference is that they have a set of prongs that are designed to dig into the dog’s skin when you pull on the leash. Because it is so easy for them to be misused, they are also not considered to be a safe option.
Body Harness: If you have a small dog or one that may have a delicate throat area, a body harness may be the right choice for your canine. Dog harnesses are a great choice for walking and transporting your pup.
Properly Sizing a Dog Collar
Now that you have an idea of what kind of collar you want for your dog, you need to make sure you get the proper size. If the collar is too tight, you risk choking your dog. If the collar is too loose, your dog could get off-leash, which could become dangerous if you are away from home or in unfamiliar surroundings. Having the wrong size collar also makes training your dog more difficult as a properly-fitting collar is needed to keep your dog from pulling at its leash.
You will notice generic labeling on dog collars that say small, medium, large and extra-large. Resist the temptation to just eyeball the situation and pick the one you think will fit. Instead, measure your dog’s neck, and check to make sure your dog’s measurement fits within the sizing measurements of the collar you are interested in buying.
Measuring Your Dog’s Neck
There are two easy methods to measure your dog’s neck. The first is to use a flexible measuring tape. Find the area around your dog’s neck where the collar will sit and measure it. The tape should be wrapped gently but not tightly around.
If a flexible measuring tape isn’t available, grab a piece of string and a ruler. Wrap the piece of string around your dog’s neck instead, and use the ruler to measure the length of the string.
Selecting the Right Material
After you know the size and the style of dog collar that you want, consider going a little further and thinking about what the collar is made of. You want your dog’s collar to last, and to be up for any adventure that you and your dog might encounter.
Nylon Dog Collars: Considered the industry standard, nylon collars are available in an abundance of colors and patterns for you to choose from. Nylon dog collars are ideal for wearing around the house, taking your dog on a walk, and attaching identification tags. Inexpensive to purchase, nylon collars might be difficult to clean and may need to be replaced often.
Neoprene Dog Collars: Ideal for dogs who enjoy swimming, neoprene dog collars are flexible and soft. This makes them very comfortable for your pup. A step up from nylon, neoprene collars are often the choice of people living in wet climates. Neoprene stays cleaner and dries faster.
Chain Dog Collars: Constructed of metal or stainless steel, chain dog collars are geared towards larger, heavier breeds. They are easy to clean since all you need to do is wash them in a little warm, soapy water. Since they aren’t fabric, they don’t absorb the smell. As mentioned earlier, the problem with chain dog collars is that if they aren’t used properly, they can become harmful to the dog.
Leather Dog Collars: Both practical in purpose and classic in style, leather dog collars should be only purchased if they are labeled as ‘genuine leather’. This is important because no bonding agents are used. This means it is far more durable than its counterpart. Leather dog collars are a good choice for pets that have allergies or skin sensitivities. This natural material is easy to wipe clean.
Keep in mind that if you have a puppy, it is going to grow. Because of this, you need to periodically check and see how tight its collar is. Each time you check, make sure you are able to still slide two fingers underneath the collar. This ensures that the collar isn’t too tight or too loose.