Collars: More than just a pet fashion statement

Published 9:52 pm Saturday, September 12, 2009

When choosing that all important accessory for your dog most people think, “Hey, this will look awesome on Toto.”

While nothing is wrong with wanting our pets to look their very best, we also need to consider what collar will help us train and control our pets.

I think everyone wants their dog to be a well behaved member of the family. This all starts with proper training and the right collar.

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There are many types of collars to choose from. The most common type of collar I see is the buckle collar. The buckle collar is a collar that has a metal buckle or plastic clip that secures it around a dog’s neck.

Buckle collars are great for everyday wear and for attaching a pet’s ID. Buckle collars are not the best for training because dogs usually love to pull and try to drag their owners during walks and some dogs can easily slip out of them.

Another popular collar is a slip collar or commonly known as a choke collar or choke chain. These are usually made of metal and have a ring at each end. When the chain is pulled through one of the rings a circle is made forming a circle that is pulled tight when a dog pulls, preventing a collar “slip.” Slip collars are good for correction, when done properly.

Be sure to consult your veterinarian or obedience professional for proper use of a slip collar, because when used by a novice owner neck damage can easily occur.

Also never leave a slip collar on an unattended dog because than can easily be caught on something and cause injury or even death.

Head collars are another option and one of my personal favorites. They are a collar that has two main parts. The first part is like a traditional buckle collar that goes around their neck and the other part goes around their muzzle.

They look similar to a horse halter. Head collars are a great tool for easier control of a larger, powerful dog.

They use the thought that when you control the direction of an animals head you can more easily control the direction of their body. Horse trainers have used this method for hundreds of years. There are several brands of head collars and they all work similarly.

A benefit of head collars is the ease of use and they offer almost immediate control of a pet and are great for larger breed dogs.

I use a head collar on my giant schnauzer and it gives me control and now walks are more enjoyable for both of us. No longer do I have to be dragged down the street.

On the other side some dogs take a while to get used to this type of collar, when they are not used to having something around their muzzle, but most will adapt.

So the next time you are out shopping for your pet’s new accessory think about which collar choice will give you and your dog more enjoyable walks, trips to the park and lifestyle.

And remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Kate Barker, The BARKer Shop