Dogs are probably the most well-loved and loyal companion that any human could have. From puppyhood to old age, dogs unconditionally provide love to their owners. However, given the charming ways of their pets, owners may find it difficult to instill discipline in their dogs. Training thus becomes a sore point for many dog owners and is something that almost all pets do not look forward to.
A collar is simply a piece of material, usually nylon or leather for younger and smaller dogs or metal for older and larger breeds, that is placed around the neck of a dog. A dog collar has both aesthetic and functional purposes. Aside from potty training, perhaps the most basic step in exercising control and instilling discipline in dogs is the use of a dog collar along with a leash for walking. Alternatively, owners can also opt to use a harness.
As with any other type of learning, training your dog to wear a collar or a harness may be challenging at first. Some dogs, especially the younger puppies and more temperamental breeds, may be resistant to the idea of wearing a collar or harness, let alone a leash. Firm discipline and affection, along with the use of the best equipment, are bound to spell the difference between training success and frustration.
Functions of a dog collar
Although many owners only use collars as a fashionable accessory for their pets, collars can actually be used for more practical functions. One such function is for identification. A tag containing information on a dog’s identification and vaccination notes is usually attached to a collar.
A collar or harness can also be used to exercise control over your pet by providing a handle that the owner or trainer can hold or grab during training or while walking. These tools can aid owners in better providing direction for, and instilling discipline in, their pets.
Collars have a variety of other functions that are useful in managing pet behavior or even in maintaining pet health. As a responsible pet parent, you should exert all efforts to ensure that you fur baby has the best collar, harness, or leash that comfortable and safe to use.
If you’d like to learn more about the different kinds there are, check out our article on the types of dog collars and find out which one would be best for your dog.
Selecting the best type of collar
Whether for decorative of functional purposes, you can choose from a variety of dog collars for your pet. The breed, size, and temperament of your dog are only some of the things that have to be considered when deciding on which type of collar to buy.
However, before we discuss the kinds of collars out there, did you know that there are collars that reflect your pooch’s fashion sense? Check out our article on designer dog collars; who knows, you may find something you like!
Collars can broadly be divided into three categories: regular collars, aversive collars, and special-use collars. As a pet owner, it is important for you to know the difference among the types of collar so that you can determine the best one for your pet.
- Flat or buckle collars. This type is the standard and is the one most commonly found in pet shops. This variant comes in many sizes, designs, and colors. One is sure to fit any breed. This type of collar typically has a buckle or a plastic snap that can easily be released at the application of a certain amount of pressure to prevent your pet from being strangled. This collar typically has a ring on which to attach a tag and another one for a leash.
- Martingale collars. This type of collar is specifically designed for use on dogs that have small and narrow heads. These breeds include the Greyhound, Saluki, Whippet, Borzoi, and Afghan Hound. However, these collars can also be used for dogs who are very adept at slipping out of their collars. Martingale collars are made of two lengths of material, which can both be cloth or a combination of cloth and metal, which are connected by a hoop on each end. When a dog pulls on the collar, it tightens and prevents slipping.
- Halter collars. Halter collars are also called head alters and are very similar in design and appearance to a horse halter. This type of collar is ideal for larger and more energetic breeds who are prone to pulling on their leash. However, it may take a great amount of time for a dog to get used to wearing this type of collar.
- Shock collar. An advanced type of collar often used by dog trainers is the shock collar, which is also known as the e-collar or zap collar. These collars are designed specifically for use during obedience training. The collar is installed with a device that delivers electrical shocks to the dog’s neck as a warning or punishment for misbehavior. The delivery of shocks, which can vary in both intensity and duration, can be remotely controlled by a handler. The use of shock collars has been hotly contested and remains in debate to this day.
- Choke chain. Instead of using cloth materials, this type of collar is composed of metal pieces linked together to form a chain. Metal hoop on both ends are connected to a leash. Unlike the Martingale collar that enables owners to control how tight the collar can go, there is no feasible way to control how tight the choke chain goes. Thus, you should consult an experienced trainer regarding the use of a choke chain if you choose to have your dog wear one.
- Prong collar. Also called a pinch collar, this type is also similar to the Martingale but the loop around the dog’s neck has blunted prongs that come against the dog’s neck as the collar tightens. This type of collar should be properly fitted, as excessive tightness may cause friction, pain, or injury.
- Elizabethan collar. The Elizabethan collar is used by many veterinarians on dogs that have recently undergone a procedure. This is a large cone-shaped plastic collar that prevents your dog from scratching, biting, or licking a wound to promote faster healing.
- Flea collar. These specially medicated collars contain certain drugs or chemicals that protect your dog from fleas and ticks. This is especially useful for dogs that are frequently exposed to an outdoor environment and can go a long way to preventing any parasite from causing illness, itching, or irritation.
- Wolf collar. These collars are designed for protection against physical injury. These special collars come with spikes or studs that could prevent other animals from harming your pet. These protective collars can be traced back to the previous century, during which herding dogs require protection from the bites of predators, mainly foxes and wolves, who are likely to lunge at the dog’s neck as it tries to protect the herd.
- Lighted collar. Also called reflective collars, this type ensures your dog’s safety by making it highly visible at night. The material used for these collars is highly reflective and can be seen even up to 1,000 feet. These collars go a long way in preventing accidents.
When push comes to shove, you may want to save a few bucks when it comes to your dog’s collar. So why not learn how to make your own dog collar at home?
Opting for a dog harness
Collars have often been criticized for the danger that they pose in possibly strangling or injuring a dog when used incorrectly. As a result, many proponents suggested the use of a harness. A harness is a piece of equipment that serves the same function as a collar but is placed around the body rather than the neck, thus distributing the pressure applied through a leash evenly throughout the body.
Harnesses also have a lesser likelihood of slipping because the straps go over the shoulder and around the body.
Harnesses also serve different purposes. The primary use is as an alternative for leash attachment. Other functions of the harness are for providing assistance to a person with disability, for car safety when riding a vehicle, for dog training, and for work in pulling a cart or sled.
Try to find perfect combination
A collar or harness can be perfectly combined with a leash. A leash is attached to a collar or harness to exercise better and firmer control when bringing your dog out to a public place. A leash is the primary safety equipment that serves to protect both the dog and the people in a public place. Leading a dog properly with a leash can prevent confusion and any untoward incidents.
Leashes come in many different materials, but the most common are leather, metal, and nylon. A primary consideration when purchasing a leash is its length, because this factor determines the level of control that an owner can exercise. A leash with a perfect length is one that is long enough to allow some freedom while still providing room for restraint.
The second consideration is durability and sturdiness. A leash should be strong enough not to break or tear when a significant amount of pressure is applied. Also, leashes should not be easily frayed even after being chewed by your pet.
Options recommended for comfort and safety
The importance of a collar or harness in combination with a leash could not be stressed enough. Just like humans, dogs should be instilled with discipline to prevent any instances of misbehavior. Dogs are known to be very intelligent and loving animals. Most breeds are eager to please their owners. Thus, training your dog to wear a collar or harness, as well as a leash when outside, can prove to be a great bonding experience with your pet if done with the proper equipment and with much patience and care.
Given the popularity of dogs as pets, there are many options for collars, harnesses, and leashes that are available in the market. Of course, the primary things to consider when making any purchase decision is the level of comfort and safety that such equipment can provide when worn by your pet.
To give you a great idea as to what the best options are available, we have read through more than 7,000 customer reviews of different products to be able to recommend the best options that have been tried and tested by pet owners worldwide.
Best products on the market
Perhaps the most difficult to select is which collar to purchase because of the sheer number of alternatives available in the market. Top 3 dog collars:
- The flashing dog collar to keep your dog safe. Product rating: 4.9 out of 5.0 based on 69 consumer reviews. Made from high-quality material, the LED Dog Collar allows visibility for your dog as far as 10,000 feet. With eye-catching designs and made of water-resistant nylon to ensure durability during rainy walks, this dog collar comes with a battery that can last up to 80-hours with four light modes: Solid, Fast, Slow, and Off.
- The Rogz utility reflective lumberjack dog collar. Product rating: 4.6 out of 5.0 based on 358 consumer reviews. This reflective collar eliminates the need for batteries without compromising quality and style. Made from high grade nylon, it is ergonomically-contoured collar ensure snug fit. The side release buckle and low load technology ensures dog-paw resistance and load on the buckle. It comes in ten vibrant colors.
- The PetSafe gentle leader headcollar. Product rating: 4.6 out of 5.0 based on 94 consumer reviews. This neatly-designed headcollar eliminates the possibility for dogs to choke. It reduces lunging, jumping, and pulling, which are the most common unwanted behaviors of dogs. It is the most recommended headcollar by veterinarians and dog entusiasts for long walks, and can be worn for up to 18 hours.
The best dog harnesses more easily stood out than the collars because of the sheer number of satisfied pet owners who have used them.
These harnesses are sure to provide great control and comfort when used:
- The Ruffwear front range harness. Product rating: 4.6 out of 5.0 based on 198 consumer reviews. This easy to fit and comfortable harness is ideal for everyday use. Equipped with chest and belly panel that is padded for good dispersion of weight and to ensure comfort in extended wear. It has two attachment points, a V-ring at the back, and reinforced webbing on the chest.
- The Puppia soft dog harness. Product rating: 4.2 out of 5.0 based on 2724 consumer reviews. Made from 100% Polyester, the Puppia Soft Dog Harness is machine washable and has a neck opening that is comfortably padded. Featuring a quick release buckle and an adjustable chest belt, this dog harness ensures quality and durability for long-term use. Available in wide variety of colors to fit your dogs’ needs without running out of style.
- The PetSafe easy walk dog harness. Product rating: 4.1 out of 5.0 based on 2919 consumer reviews. Made from soft, durable nylon, the PetSafe Easy Walk ensures a comfortable fit and is designed to gently prevent dogs from pulling its leash. This dog harness has an easy-on and easy-off buckle on shoulder and belly for easy installation and dismounting.
With various materials and options to choose from, three leash options were considered best because of their versatility and functionality.
The top 3 dog leashes:
- The Signature K9 braided leather leash. Product rating: 4.6 out of 5.0 based on 416 consumer reviews. This leather leash meets the standards of military law enforcement training equipment. The high-quality leather offers a lifetime of strength and durability. This leash is American made by Amish craftsmen from Pennsylvania. It has beveled edges for hand comfort all day, and as applicable with all leathers, it gets better with age.
- The Flexi 16-feet neon reflect retractable belt dog leash, black/neon yellow. Product rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 based on 238 consumer reviews. This is leash is easy to use and is made from highway-grade reflective material that enables dogs to explore their surroundings while keeping them safe at the same time. The leash extends up to 16-feet and can support dogs up to 110 pounds. This leash is made in Germany and comes with a lifetime warranty.
The GoPets retractable leash. Product rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 based on 211 consumer reviews. This sturdy, flat woven nylon leash with a stainless steel rustproof clip can withstand almost any weather condition. With its durable design and reinforced double-stitching, it has been tried and tested for pull strength, speed, and several hundred pulls.
It is built with industrial-grade material but is still comfortable enough to use, thanks to its non-slip coated handle. Equipped with a detangling system that flattens the leash when it is retracted, it prevents rope burns and tangles. Also, the GoPets retractable leash has a 100% unconditional satisfaction guarantee.
The main conclusion is: safety first! This is a very good mantra to live by, especially when it concerns pets. Even though collars, harnesses, and leashes may seem to be only minor equipment, they contribute significantly to how well we enjoy your time with your pet.
Lovingly disciplining and leading your loyal companion are sure to result in many wonderful years and a great quality of life.