I know what it is like heading to the store and pondering over every product, searching for the best deal. Even when you are buying something as simple as a collar for your dog, you may be trying to find the least expensive product, or you may be ready to splurge. Here, we reviewed the most common types of dog collars, just to give you a better idea of what's out there. Before purchasing any collar, make sure that you are choosing the correct neck size. You want a collar that fits snuggly, but doesn't choke your pet.
Simple Collar: $5.20 - $62.95
When considering collars for your dog, it is important to keep your breed and size in mind. For instance, if you have a large dog, a leather strap collar would do nicer than than a nylon clip collar.
Nylon Clip Collar - $6.40
Pros: These collars are inexpensive. They are a great starter collar for small dogs and puppies. They are extremely easy to take on and off. Their small size gives your dog a clean look.
Cons: In our experience, we've never liked the nylon snap collars as well as their leather buckle counterparts. Because our dog, a labradoodle, tended to pull as a puppy, the snap on the nylon collars would tend to give way. This was especially frustrating when we would tie to a line/dog run in the yard. He would try and chase after a squirrel or jogger, and the snap sometimes wouldn't hold him.
Conclusion: These kind of collars are relatively inexpensive; they can be bought on Amazon for $6.40. For their cost, they are a great investment if your dog doesn't pull on his line/leash. View on Amazon.com.
Nylon Adjustable Strap Collar - $5.20
Pros: This is the cheapest collar available when you buy on amazon (if you by red). When tightened, this collar offers your dog a snug fit.
Cons: Because you have to adjust the strap to loosen, it is difficult sometimes to take this collar on and off your dog, especially if he is fidgeting.
Conclusion: If you are looking for an inexpensive collar that simply does the job, this one is for you. However, if you want a collar that is easy to take on and off, for instance if you are getting ready to bathe your dog, I wouldn't recommend this one. View on Amazon.com.
Leather Buckle Collar - $62.95
Pros: If you are looking for a good quality professional collar, the leather buckle collar is the way to go. It is incredibly strong, and will completely secure your dog.
Cons: Buying this collar puts a strain on your checking account. It is expensive in comparison to the other collars.
Conclusion: Although this collar is expensive, the quality is unmatched. Genuine leather costs money, but is incredibly strong. Even if you find a cheaper collar the buckle will be more secure than a clasp or clip that could pop off under strain. View on Amazon.com.
Training Collars For Obedience $8.51-$89.99
Dog collars can also be used for training your dog. Depending on the kind of obedience training you are using, you might consider using (or not using) certain collars for training purposes. For positive reinforcement training programs (such as clicker training), training collars aren't necessary.
StarMark Training Collar - $11.40
Pros: This choke collar is extremely effective. You can tell from the reviews on Amazon that this training collar really works.
Cons: Yikes! This collar has spiky things!
Conclusion: Even though a product works, it doesn't mean that it should be used. Choke collars can hurt your dog, sometimes causing permanent damage. For more information on the negative aspects of choke collars, visit: Dr. P's Dog Training Article. I can only imagine what would happen if my dog took off after a squirrel wearing one of these. View on Amazon.com.
Choke Chain - $8.51
Pros: The tried and true method for dog training, a quick jerk of the choke collar provides the amount of negative reinforcement that gets your dog's attention.
Cons: Again, just because a method works, doesn't mean it is right. Des Hawgood, in his essay, "Misuse of choke chains," cites multiple instances where dogs have been seriously injured by misuse of these collars.
Conclusion: Only experienced dog handlers who knows the dangers of these collars should use them. If you are clicker training your dog, then you don't need this collar anyway. View on Amazon.com.
RECOMMENDED - Gentle Leader- $15.51
Pros: Designed for walking your dog, this head collar (much like a halter for a horse), keeps your dog from using his weight to pull when your are trying to walk him. The nose strap doesn't muzzle your dog, he can eat and play just as well as when he isn't wearing the lead. Your dog will learn that when wearing the lead, it is time to heel and behave. Assistance dogs wear these for that very reason - when put on, they know it is time to work.
Cons: Because this collar fits around his head, a quick jerk with the leash could hurt his neck. It is dangerous to attach a line or dog run to this collar, as he could reach the end of line and unintentionally hurt himself. This collar should be attached snugly, but if put on too tightly, it could chaff, and cause hair to fall out.
Conclusion: Instead of using pain (such as using the choke chain) to enforce wanted behavior, we feel that a 'gentle' reminder work much better. When our dog wears this lead, he knows that it is time to work and heel; plus, he simply can't pull ahead with his whole body weight as he could when the leash was attached to his regular collar. Just remember, don't jerk your dog around (why should you anyway?) when the leash is attached to this lead, it could damage his neck. View The Gentle Leader on Amazon.
Electric Shock Collar- $89.99
Pros: This collar is a great tool if you are doing a lot of off leash training. If you have trouble with your dog running away, or not coming when you call him, this is an excellent tool to use. One thing to keep in mind, the "electric shock" sounds much worse than it actually is. There isn't enough juice to hurt your pet, except for maybe his pride. There is a marked difference using this kind of negative reinforcement than the choke chain: This gives your dog a single instance of feeling uncomfortable, the choke chain can cause permanent injury.
Cons: As well as any of the training collars, this collar should be used with care. Don't allow a child to use this. Even though the normal voltage range is low, prolonged use can cause psychological problems with your dog.
Conclusion: Even though the stigma lies against the use of these collars (and I do tend to not use negative reinforcement when training dogs), this tool is a much better alternative to a choke chain. It offers obedience without the cost of permanent injury to your dog. Just keep the voltage setting (models differ) at a reasonable level, and use it only when needed. If using the clicker training method, this tool might not even be necessary. View on Amazon.
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