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All about choosing a dog collar

There are a couple of items that every dog should have; a dog collar with and id tag. There's such an assortment of collars available that it can be rather overwhelming when making a choice.

Generally, the dog collar you choose is merely a matter of personal preference. The most important thing to remember is to get a collar that fits properly, and a leash that is neither too heavy nor too light for the dog you have. Every pet should wear a dog collar with an identification tag that gives your name, address, and phone number. Here are some guidelines to follow when making your selection.

The dog collar has its place in formal obedience and many other training disciplines.

Fitting your dog collar

Fitting depends on the size of your dog. A large, strong dog can easily break a collar or leash that is lightweight, so they need a heavier dog collar and leash. Smaller dogs, on the other hand, don't need to carry around a heavy, wide dog collar and leash.

For your dog to be safe and comfortable, the collar must fit correctly. Here's the rule of thumb (or should we say finger?)

Place two fingers between the dog's neck and the collar; there should be no more than the width of those two fingers between the neck and dog collar. Any looser than this and the collar could slip over the dog's ears. Check the collar occasionally to see if your dog has any redness or hair loss under the collar.

Choosing a dog collar for a Puppy

Puppies should not have collars that are heavy and bulky for them to wear. Use only a buckle dog collar on puppies, even for training purposes. Puppies grow quickly, and a collar can become uncomfortable and dangerously tight. You will need to check the collar often and adjust it to allow for growth. If you have your puppy enrolled in Puppy Preschool classes, a buckle collar and a 6-foot leash of your choice is the equipment you will need.

Choosing the Type of Collar For Your Dog

Buckle Collars
Buckle collars are overall the best choice of collar for most dogs in most situations. Puppies should wear only buckle collars. Buckle collars come in a variety of colors, are made with various materials, and even come in styles that make a real fashion statement!

Nylon Collars
Nylon collars are good for dogs that are in water a lot. Nylon is very durable and washable, and come in a variety of colors. Many owners like to get matching collars and leashes, and some owners even like to match the color of the dog collar to the color of their dog's coat!

Leather Collars
Leather collars wear well and are very long lasting. Collars also soften from the oils in your dog's skin. Rolled leather collars (round instead of flat) are designed for longhaired dogs and keep the hair from lying flat against the coat.

Training Collars
Training collars such as "choke chains" and "pinch" collars are meant to be used for training purposes ONLY. There is a right and a wrong way of putting these collars on and should only be used during a training session by experienced hands. They are designed to briefly tighten and apply pressure when the trainer is delivering a correction. Never leave a dog unattended with one of these collars on as they may cause injury or strangulation if the collar was to get caught on something. Never use a training dog collar as your dog's everyday collar, and never put your dog on a tie-out with a training collar.

Head Collar
The head collar works by putting light pressure on your dog's muzzle and at the back of the neck. This replicates the method employed by the mother dog or pack leader who gently, yet firmly grasps the dog's muzzle in the mouth. This sends a clear signal to the dog that you are the pack leader. Along with using positive reinforcement and appropriate training treats, many dog lovers find that this alters their dog's undesirable behavior. The head dog collar will assist you in teaching your dog to sit, and prevent jumping and tugging during walks. Many obedience training instructors use and recommend use of the head collar.

When properly used, a muzzle protects either a person, the pet itself, or both. Muzzles should never remain on the pet longer than 20 minutes before being removed and allowing the pet to rest. Muzzles must never be used on pets that have been sedated or used when a pet is in a kennel. Also, they must not be used if a pet exhibits any sign of stress.