Here are a selection of collars, their benefits, and what they’re designed for!
Classic Design — The classic design is a simple strap around the neck usually made of leather or nylon. This is the kind of collar that most owners use with their dogs and is the most readily-available. When fitting your dog for one of these, measure their neck size and then find them a collar which is two to three inches longer in circumference. Ensure that your dog’s collar can’t slip off their neck but isn’t so tight as to cause discomfort. A good rule of thumb is to have two fingers worth of room in the collar.
Harness — The harness fits around the neck and shoulders of your dog and evenly distributes the resistance your dog will feel against the leash. If you’re worried about your dog’s neck or throat, this is the collar-type for you. This is also a better type of collar for those who find their dogs slipping out of their collars and resisting the leash more often.
Halter — Though the collar may startle passersby as it resembles a muzzle, this design is the best for general control of your canine. It works under the same principle as a horse’s bridle as it controls head motion and hence keeps your dog effectively in check. This is a great collar for training your dog or for larger dogs who may be harder to handle.
Choke collar — the “choke chain,” “chain-slip,” or “check chain” variety is specifically designed for initially training a dog or for remedial education. This design is probably the most misused and inappropriately applied, so be sure, before purchasing or using, that you apprise yourself of the proper dog-training techniques associated with the choke. Have a trainer show you how to properly use this collar and only use it on your dog when they are actively training — not when they are resting. The key is to use a tug-and-release method as opposed to a continuous pull in order to correct unwanted behavior. You will probably want an extra inch’s distance in the chain collar than a normal leather or nylon collar.
Spiked or Pronged collar — This is not a good collar and should be avoided. If your dog is impossible to restrain with the prior methods, then this collar may be utilized, but it is with the caveat that a dog shouldn’t be put through a blatantly harm-inducing experience as wearing one of these collars. It’s a stop gap at best, and the halter design is far more effective than the spiked collar (and less injurious).
Whichever design you choose, be sure to have your dog’s tags attached to the collar. This is vitally important.