What are the Different Types of Dog Collars?

labrador retrievers

Training your dog to sit or stay, parading her at a dog show, or strolling down the beach all require the right type of dog collars. Different types of dog collars are designed for puppies, training, excitable mutts, larger dogs, or exercise. They come in many materials yet fulfill distinctive functions, so equip you and your pet with the right one.

The most common type of dog collar is the buckle variety. They are just like a human’s belt. A flat or slightly rounded piece of material attaches to a metal buckle that adjusts in size by fitting into spaced holes. The buckle collar comes in nylon, leather, or natural fabric in many colors and designs. You can have your pooch’s name burned into designer leather or embroidered onto durable nylon.

german shepherd laying on grass

Variations on this basic collar fulfill some safety features. The breakaway collar was designed to pull apart under a lot of stress, such as your dog catching himself on a fence post and may choke. Some are equipped with “release” tabs that snap apart the collar in less time it takes to unbuckle. These closures should be selected based on your preferences and your dog’s habits.

Training collars were developed specifically to help you train your new puppy or adopted dog. These are equipped with ways of communicating “don’t do that” to dogs without abusing or hurting them. To prevent mishaps, listen to an expert dog trainer when you are purchasing and using these collars in conjunction with a responsible training regimen.

Choke collars look like medieval torture tools, but they have been proven to harm dogs less than other kinds of training collars. Great for large dogs, a choke collar has perpendicular metal prongs evenly spaced around the inside of the collar. When you yank on the attached leash, the prongs prod your dog’s neck. They distribute the pressure all around the collar and don’t concentrate it on the trachea. When used correctly, this will safely inhibit your dog from running away, tugging on the lead, or jumping.

black dog with chain

Other kinds of training collars are the slip, or choke, type. These form a slipknot, rather than a fixed size, so when you pull on the lead, the collar’s diameter shrinks. These collars are heavy, durable, and let you “correct” a dog’s unwanted behavior with a quick yank. Although metal chain is a popular choice, they also come in braided metal, leather, or nylon. You can even link the leash in such a way that it becomes a fixed collar, appropriate for casual walks.

Finally, the last type of dog collars are halters. A halter wraps around the nose of the dog in addition to its neck for more exact control. However, a halter is not to be confused with a muzzle that restricts your dog from opening its mouth. A halter allows your dog to drink, bark, yawn, and accept treats. Some trainers recommend this for some dogs that respond to subtle tugs.

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