Ask Doctor Chopper!


Collars are worn by dogs to serve the purpose of training, identification, and walking. They can make a fashion statement and are very useful for returning and re-claiming lost dogs, especially if there are dog tags on the collar. The style of dog collar comes after safety and convenience. It is very important for all dogs to have a correctly fitting and comfortable collar. The collar you choose should be based on your dogs’ personality, level of training and body shape and size. Here are some of the collars that are available:

Head Collars: Head collars or halters resemble muzzles but with a different purpose. These halters act more like harnesses for the head and are intended to help train a dog to walk on a leash and heel. If the dog pulls on the leash the halter will cause the head to turn and leaves the dog feeling a bit unnatural and thus deter the behavior. These collars help discourage pulling. Head halters should not be left on unattended dog or dogs on a very long lead. I personally do not like these collars because they put the dogs’ neck and spine at an unnatural angel, undue pressure on the dogs’ eyes and could cause damage if used improperly.

Break-Away Collars: For daily use these collars have a special feature that can prevent choking. They can still be used on a leash for walking. If the leash becomes caught on something the collar breaks away. These collars have quick release clasps and are available in a variety of materials, colors and styles.

Daily Collars: One’s personal style can be expressed with a variety of everyday collars. Many people prefer buckle collars for stronger dogs, as the quick release clasps are generally less sturdy. Rolled leather collars are durable and less likely to cause hair loss or parting.

Chain-Slip Collars: Also called as choke chains these are generally reserved for training only. Use chain-slip collars with caution and never leave it on your dog unattended. When walking the dog on a leash and these collars, a quick tug on the leash will cause a closing effect on the dog’s neck thus restraining the dog.

Metal-Prong Collars: Highly effective for strong, stubborn dogs with a tendency to tug at the leash. They are also known as pinch collars and are very useful during training. Use with caution and never leave on a dog unattended.

Martingale Collars: Also known as Greyhound collars or limited slip collars, they help prevent dogs from slipping out of the collars while on a leash. A slight tug will tighten the collar without complete closure of the neck. Made of Nylon and similar materials they are available in several bright colors and are particularly useful on sight hounds though they can be used for any of the other breeds. I sometimes use this type of collar on Teah because her head is so small.

Harnesses: These are designed to place over the dog’s chest and abdomen crossing over on the back. A leash can be attached on top of the harness. These are more suitable for dogs that have a tendency to pull as they do not cause pressure over the neck. These are basically ideal for dogs with medical problems in the neck and airway.

Dog-Show collars: The Martingale leads are a particularly useful dog show collar. They have a collar portion that slips over the head and tightens when the leash is pulled.

‘Remote’ collars or ‘shock’ collars deliver an electrical stimulus to the dog in training as a ‘correction method’. The intensity of the stimulus starts from low level to high, depending on the disobedience of the dog. These training-only collars should only be used by professionals or may have destructive effect on dog’s self confidence, desire to work and general good will.

Elizabethan Collars are shaped like a cone and can be fitted on a dog to prevent them from scratching or licking a wound. You vet can help you fit the right size collar for your dog.

When my dogs are at home I do not have collars on them. During playtime, they tend to grab the collar if it is there. Collars can also be caught on fences, so I only use them when we are taking the dogs someplace.

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One response to “Ask Doctor Chopper!

  1. Liberty and Justice

    We love all your info!

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