One of the things to prepare before bringing your new dog home is the collar. In fact, the law requires all UK dog owners to use a dog collar when walking them in public. There are many types of dog collars available, and choosing just one can be a confusing experience.
To make the choice easier for you, follow these 3 essential tips in deciding which type of dog collar is the right one for your dog.
1. Consider your dog’s neck size and upper body shape.
The dog collar needs to be a perfect fit. It should not be too tight or too loose. Measure the size of your dog’s neck. Add 2 to 3 inches to the actual measurement to get the perfect collar circumference for your dog. Check the collar size frequently for growing dogs as the neckband may become too tight as the dog gets bigger. Two of your fingers must be able to slip under the collar.
Whilst you can use the standard flat collars for most dogs, those are not appropriate for certain dog breeds. The whippet and greyhound, which have smaller heads compared to their necks, are best suited with martingale collars. This type of neckband tightens safely when the hound pulls which will prevent him from slipping out of the collar without choking.
Dogs with short noses, like Boston terriers and other small breeds likely to develop throat issues, are more suited to harnesses.
You might also be interested in How to choose the best harness for my dog.
2. Determine the purpose you want the dog collar to serve.
Various types of collars have different uses, as follows:
Basic Dog Collar
The standard collar, usually flat, is ideal for daily use, as well as for aesthetic purposes. This collar can also come with an ID tag or medical label.
- Belt Buckle Collar–This collar works similarly to the traditional human belt accessory.
- Quick-Release Buckle Collar–This collar comes with a buckle (plastic or metal) that can be attached and detached easily with a single snap.
Whilst the basic collar can also be used for training, some types of collars are especially designed to teach dogs certain skills.
- Halter Collar– This type of collar goes across the dog’s head and muzzle, allowing you to keep his nose off the ground. As such, this collar is suitable for obedience training, amongst others. Your dog will pay better attention to you with this kind of collar as you can manage the direction of his muzzle. However, it takes time for your dog to get accustomed to this collar, so patience, time, and treats are needed.
- Martingale Collar – As mentioned, this two-loop band is ideal for greyhounds or other dogs with necks larger than their heads. When pulled, the smaller loop right above the collar automatically tightens the larger loop, which goes around the dog’s neck. If adjusted properly, this type of neckband does not choke the hound.
- Slip Collar – This collar can be a flat band, a rope, or a chain that loops on itself on one end. It is a collar and lead rolled into one, automatically tightening when you or your dog pulls. The rope type is the most comfortable option of the three. Use this collar if you are still training your dog to walk nicely on a lead.
Safety Dog Collar
- Break-Away Collar – This collar releases your pooch easily when extreme force is used. This safety feature prevents your dog from strangling or snagging in certain situations.
- Stretch Collar – This type of collar is elastic from within. It allows canine pets to escape and avoid strangulation when they are caught in fences, branches, or other protrusions.
- Flotation Collar – Although not designed as a lifesaver, this collar can boost your dog’s buoyancy in water. It is made of either inflatable or foam material and is especially useful for dogs undergoing hydrotherapy.
- Stud Collar – This protective neckband typically has pointed or dulled points around it to keep other animals from piercing the dog’s neck. This collar is popularly used for aesthetic purposes, although dogs working with livestock tend to use this.
Visibility Dog Collar
- Light Collar – Usually made with LED, this neckband lights up so your canine friend is easier to detect in low visibility conditions, especially near motorways. This collar is fit for night use.
- Reflective Collar – This type of collars has a reflective tape that makes your pooch easily visible even at night. As such, this collar is suitable for night walks.
The aversive collar is also used for teaching dogs to develop a variety of skills. This collar is typically used on headstrong canines or those that have very persistent undesirable habits.
3. Take the collar material into account.
Dog collars come in a variety of materials, such as the following:
- Nylon or Polyester
This synthetic option is practical as it is durable, machine washable, and less costly. It also is available in many sizes and colours. Most nylon collars have plastic or metal snaps that allow a wide range of length adjustment options.
This material is a very durable type that you can braid into neckbands. This option is highly customisable and can come in a variety of colour combinations and designs.
- Neoprene, Plastic, or Waxed Cotton
These materials are perfect for hounds that are often outdoors and in various bodies of water. These materials are bacteria-and odour-resistant.
- Faux Leather
For a more elegant look at less cost, this material is the ideal choice. Faux leather or leatherette collar is also suitable for vegan dog owners. There are fashionable varieties that have decorative textures and embellishments.
- Genuine Leather
Choose this material if you want a durable and classic option suitable for a big four-legged companion. The oils from your dog’s skin will gradually soften the material over time and make the fit even for comfortable. Leather is durable enough for stronger, larger hounds. For long-haired dogs, rolled leather collars are most suitable as the rounded design prevents fur matting.
A Final Tip
Use collar of a thicker width on stronger dogs. The thicker one is also more comfortable as it distributes the pressure on the neck more. However, avoid using this collar on smaller breeds as a thicker neckband does weigh more. The safest width is 1 ½ inches.