The Best Collar Types For Most Dogs (And Which To Avoid)

You want the best for your dog, and that includes finding the right type of collar for them. Since they will wear it often, you want something that is comfortable, but also safe and secure. Here are the best collars for most dogs as well as which collars you may want to stay away from. Image from blumenbiene.

When choosing a collar for your dog, you should consider how well behaved they are as well as their physical features (short nose, bulging eyes). Here are the pros and cons of three common collars:

  • Flat and rolled collars: Great for attaching all your dog's tags and ID to them and fairly comfortable, but these can get caught (and potentially choke) during play with another dog or exploration of the yard when unsupervised. Using this type of collar to walk your dog can also cause pressure to rise in the eyes (from pulling on the leash), which can exacerbate eye conditions like glaucoma.
  • Pinch collar: This collar has pointed prongs that push into the dog's neck when it pulls on the leash or when you (or a trainer) pulls as a behaviour correction. You may not want to use this type of collar to train your dog because it can cause it to associate the pain with good things (like another dog approaching since your dog may pull against the leash to say hello) as well as behaviours you're trying to correct.
  • Harness: While not technically a collar, a harness that fits over your dog's chest and back can be a good alternative. Harnesses often come with an attachment for the leash at the front (chest) rather than the back because it tends to be more effective in training dogs not to pull. If your dog has breathing issues (short snout or delicate trachea), a harness will be the safest and most comfortable option for them.

Which option is right depends on your dog's behaviours (do they pull a lot when you walk them?), their physical and health situation and what you feel comfortable using as their owner. Hit the link below for detailed descriptions of each collar option.

Which Types of Collars and Harnesses Are Safe for Your Dog? [Dr Sophia Yin]


    A pinch collar does not push into the dog's neck; but rather pinches the skin near the neck (hence the name). While they look brutal, if used well are a fantastic training tool; they do cause pain, but only very superficial. A check chain (choker) on the other hand is much more common, but squeezes around the dogs entire neck, which can cause damage to the neck, oseophagus and windpipe. And flat collars even more so for a pulling dog, as the entire force is concentrated on the front of the neck. Which is all rather counter-intuitive.

    It is worth noting that pinch collars are illegal in some Australian states (rather idiotic in my mind), but can easily be disguised with a scrunchy over the top.

    Use a Halti if you need to discourage lunging or pulling but your ultimate goal should be to train your dog to use flat collar that you can get two finders under. Use a harness when you have to secure your dog in a car for travel in case of an accident the the pressure from a seat belt restraint is on their chest and not around their neck.

    Pinch collars, choke chains all use negative reinforcement and should never be used unless you have been trained to use negative reinforcement strategies. Negative reinforcement strategies is a legitimate training methods but is normally reserved for militarily and police dogs.

    Unless your dog has a medical condition or is under vet care use a flat collar.

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