Pet Collar Types and When to Use Them

A traditional pet collar is available in multiple sizes, colors, widths and materials. The pet collar should fit high on the neck, not so loose that it slides to the shoulder, but attention should be paid to having it loose enough that your pet can be comfortable walking, playing and resting. Typically, a traditional pet collar should allow room for two fingers between the pet and the collar. To fit a pet collar, measure the pet’s neck and add two inches. With a large, wide leather collar, add four inches. Traditional collars should fit the size and weight of the pet, lighter for puppies and small dogs and heavier for the larger ones. The name tag and registration tags should be worn on the collar at all times. Bling collars can be fun. Spiked collars are necessary for herding dogs who have to keep wolves away, but not necessary for most dogs and can be harmful to other dogs when playing together. That said, a statement can be made either in reality for a bull mastiff or ironic for a Maltese.

Training collars come in two basic styles: choke collar and prong (pinch) collar. The debate between choke collars and prong collars rages in the dog training world, with both sides passionate about their arguments. Choke collars are more common, and used properly can be effective. Improper use, sizing and placement can easily lead to trachea and neck damage. Prong collars with their long spikes produce a “pinch or poke” feeling. They are especially good training with a small owner and a big dog, or a person with weaker hands. All training collars must be removed after training.

The third type is the harness. The leash attachment should be closer to the neck. The harness spreads the weight and, if properly fitted, can be very comfortable. Fitting should involve both neck size and girth measurements. For older dogs, a lift harness, where the pet can be picked up by handles at the neck and close to the tail may be very helpful.

The last pet collar is the halter. The halter type gives the best head control since it typically contains a muzzle-type piece. The leash is connected under the chin so that a pull on the leash will pull the dog’s head to the side, prohibiting pulling the owner forward. Since it looks more like a collar, the pet owner may find it helpful to educate others on the value of halter training. All training must be done properly. First time pet owners may want to learn proper training techniques realizing that proper training can lead to a very successful pet-owner relationship.