I've noticed lots of different kinds of collars on the market — choke collars, prong collars, leather collars, etc. How do I decide which one is appropriate for my dog?
There are many different types of collars and choosing the right one can be confusing! To help sort it all out, I’ve listed a few types I feel make excellent choices. I’ll also mention a couple I don’t recommend — and explain why. First, the good options.
Recommended for use with ID tags, but not for walking if your dog pulls on leash:
Flat or rolled collars
Traditional leather, cotton or nylon buckle, or quick-release collars are good options for everyday collars you can hang your dog’s ID tags from. They do not tighten on the dog’s neck once they are fastened, and many people find that the rolled variety seems to cause less hair breakage. If your dog tends to pull on leash, however, you do NOT want to use this type of collar for walking.
These are similar to the ones above, but if a break-away collar were to become caught on something, it would break open and release your dog.
Recommended for walking if your dog pulls:
If you have a dog that tends to pull on leash, a head collar (like a gentle leader) can be a great option to help you walk your dog without pulling. It may look a bit like a muzzle, but it isn’t; the dog can bark, drink and eat with this collar. Note: A flexi-lead is not a good idea with this type of collar or with a neck collar, because when your dog gets to the end of the lead it’s easy to accidentally jerk the dog’s head.
Another option is a body harness, which is worn around the dog’s body and hooks to the leash at the chest. Like the head collar, it does not put pressure on the neck.
Choke chain collars
Used for the type of training that uses jerk and release corrections when the dog does not obey a command. This type of collar tightens on the dog’s neck when the dog pulls. Studies have shown that choke type collars can cause injury to a dog’s neck, back, or trachea.
Also called pinch collars have spikes that dig into the dog’s neck and pinch them when pulled. They are usually used for large dogs that are heavy pullers.
Both the choke and prong collars can be painful for your dog and there are better, pain-free options.
Training your dog to walk without pulling is your best bet. It can take some time but the reward is worth it! Since training this takes some time, a head collar or body harness is a good short-term solution.