Harnesses, Collars, and Leashes, Oh My! Pt 2

By: Erin Wigginton, CPDT-KA

Part Two: Collars

Now, there are as many varieties of collar as there are colors in the rainbow. However, they can be grouped into the following categories: buckle, martingale (aka limited slip), choke (aka slip), prong (aka pinch), and electronic (aka vibration or shock). If you’ve read any of our website and/or other blog posts I should think that you are aware of our position on the use of the latter three so I’ll not elaborate on those for now. I will focus on the two categories which we recommend: buckle and martingale collars.

collars Martingale collars

Buckle collars are the simplest and most common type of collar. They consist of a band of material, which can range from nylon to leather to satin, which ends in a buckle (or clasp) of plastic or metal. These collars are easy to put on and can be adjusted to your dog’s neck via holes in the band or by lengthening or shortening the band through the clasp. Buckle collars are humane and comfortable for dogs and can be purchased at any pet supply store.

Martingale, or limited slip, collars are less common than buckle collars but are still one of the most popular types of collar. Originally developed for sighthounds (such as greyhounds), these collars are a wonderful choice for many types of dog, especially bully breeds. Dogs which benefit most from a martingale collar are dogs whose necks are close to the same circumference as their heads. This specific proportion makes it easy for these dogs to slip out of a buckle collar since tightening the collar so that it cannot slip over the dog’s head would make it too tight around the dog’s neck. A martingale collar hangs loosely around the dog’s neck until the dog pulls against an attached leash. At this point, the collar tightens enough to prevent the collar from slipping off but does not continually tighten like a choke collar. Martingales can be found in a spectacular array of styles and colors. While a few options may be available at chain pet supply stores, to choose a truly beautiful and personal style for your dog your best bet is to shop at local pet boutiques such as Animal Crackers, O’Fallon, Four Muddy Paws, or Treats Unleashed.

martingale collar - good dog

For any collar you choose, making certain that it fits your dog well is imperative to your dog’s comfort and safety. Puppies, of course, grow quickly and may need several collars throughout their development. Always check with a professional (force-free trainer, vet, or expert) to be sure that your dog’s collar is appropriate and fits well.

Coming up is the third and final installment in our series: Leashes. Don’t miss it! And don’t forget to comment below and let us know what kind of collar or other accessories are your favorites!

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