Choosing a dog’s training collar today is very complicated based on the number of collar types available and the ever judgmental neighbors and professionals.  Let me put it this way – does your human child learn the exact same way as your neighbor’s child?  Most trainers should not blindly state that this flat collar or this harness is your only option and any other collars available are harmful to your dog.  “At Ruff n Tumble we have researched and used all types of training collars, and yes there are some we prefer, but preferring a collar doesn’t mean that it is the only choice or the only recommendation we will/would offer.”

It is important to note that we are looking at the collar as one of the most important tools in a training toolbox.  The leash and collar together are the way we communicate with our furry friend and the way they understand what we expect from them.  Using the right training collar and leash can significantly shorten the time it takes to work with a dog – whether teaching them obedience, correcting a behavior issue or simply addressing bad manners.  As trainers tell us there are several tools in a toolbox that can be utilized in training, but the collar is by far one of the key elements of the training curve.

When trainers meet a client they like to determine what collar is best for the dog – and they should nott say that only one collar is the best and only choice.  They all have preferences based on their years of utilization, education and hands on experience understanding a dog’s personality and concerns, but as with children, they cannot say that one collar will work on every puppy.  A trainer that tells you that you must to use a specific collar or harness is usually not going to offer the best training choices for your dog.  The best trainers will approach the training clients as individuals and each situation as unique.  Most trainers will take several factors into account when recommending a training collar. Good trainers will also reccomend a progression of collars to try and always begin with those based on positive reinforcement training.

A trainer should always discuss with you what collar they would recommend and review the reasons.  When they recommend a “training” collar they should explain this collar and why they think it is best.  Through training, the collar should facilitate the process of achieving reliable obedience and address the manners or behavior that are concerning the owners.  It should not be assumed that the collar needs to be worn for the life of the dog – once trained the owner should be able to walk the dog reliably on any collar they choose and maintain the same control and response they would when they were using that training collar.

There are certainly pros and cons to each collar type so we have created a list for you:

Martingale quick release collars

Pros
Has some give for a bit of a correction
Easy on the neck
Easy to take on and off
Cons
Dogs will pull into the tension
Hard to give an easy correction, need to pull harder to get a response

Slip or Choke chains- metal or cloth (matingale)

Pros
They give a solid correction
Easy to put on and take off
Cons
Have to be used on the appropriate side or they will not release
Harder for the handler to use
Harder on the dogs neck and trachea
Hard to give an easy correction, need to pull harder to get a response

Flat collars (buckle or quick release)

Pros
Easy to take on and off
Can send a correction down the leash
Cons
Dogs pull into the tension and do not always respond to the correction
Buckle collars are difficult to remove in an emergency
Dogs necks are the strongest muscle in their body and they get stronger pulling on a flat collar

Prong Collar

Pros
Easy to give a correction (with proper instruction)
Less effort by the owner to use
Can use on either side of the dog
Cons
Dogs may have an adjustment issue when initially put on a prong collar
Look medieval and cruel

Harnesses (front and back attachment)

Pros
Easy for the owner to “appear in control” of their dog
No issues with the dog’s neck being damaged if they have a tracheal disorder
Cons
Better leverage but no way to address real issues
Does not stop the behavior it just gives the owner a way to control the dog.  Problem behaviors remain

Gentle Leader/Head Harness

Pros
Headcollar gives pet parents control while walking
Applies gentle pressure on the nose when the dog pulls it works on leverage.
The head is guided around in a circle so that they end up looking back at the handler.
Cons
Dogs may have an adjustment issue when initially put on a gentle leader
not reccomended for short snoot dogs (pugs, bulldogs etc)
Looks like a muzzle

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