How to Choose the Best Training Collar for your Dog
Veterinarian Reviewed on December 6, 2008 by Dr. Janice Huntingford, DVM
Posted in Dogs
Training is an important responsibility of the dog owner. Not only does properly training your dog make your life as an owner easier, it can also make the life of your dog more comfortable. Training collars can be a necessary tool in the dog training process and as such it is useful to know how to choose the best training collar for your dog.
Know Your Collars
When it comes to choosing a dog collar, the first issue at hand is to know the types of collars available to you. While, conventional dog collars are an essential purchase for the dog owner, these are not training collars. Conventional collars are the collars you use for routine walks. They are inexpensive and adjustable according to the size of your dog. However, training collars are specially designed to help you control your dog. They can act as a collar and leash but also help you monitor the behaviour of your dog. There are a variety of training collars available to you.
- Choke collars are perhaps the most famous of all training collars. These collars are typically used for larger, powerful dogs that pull aggressively during walks. When the collar is put on correctly, it will briefly choke your dog if it pulls or tugs and when the tugging action stops, the collar is released. Traditionally, choke collars were used to deliver a punishment to misbehaving dogs but recently this type of punishment is frowned upon. Choke collars should never be used your dog is unaccompanied as they can strangle your dog.
- Electronic collars can be used to deliver an irritating, but harmless shock to your dog if they are misbehaving. Again, the shock is given as a punishment in the hopes of discouraging unwanted behaviour.
- Gentle leaders are a relatively new development in training collars. Also known as the halter or Halti type training collar, gives you control over your dogs head. The collar is placed over the entire head of your dog such that when they pull or tug, their head is turned. This is a very effective deterrent to tugging and is considered more dog-friendly than the choke collar. This type of collar is also particularly useful with larger dogs.
Selecting a Collar
Now that you know more about the types of collars available to you, there are a few other factors you should consider before purchasing a training collar. First, be sure to consider the individual characteristics of your dog. You should know the size of your dog as well as some information about your dog’s temperament before heading to the pet shop. Large dogs, as mentioned, can be more easily controlled with a choke collar or a gentle leader. However, very headstrong dogs, who are not easily deterred from tugging at the collar, might better be controlled with an electronic collar. If you’re still unsure, speak to your veterinarian about which kinds of training collars are best suited for your dog.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan