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Dog Collars and Leads

Dog Collars

One of the first purchases you will need to make for your dog is a collar and leash.
There are many different kinds of dog collars in the market – almost as many as different dog breeds. Just as there are no good or bad dog breeds, there are no good or bad dog collars. There are enough types of dog collars available that you should be able to find one that perfectly suits you and your pet.

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Dog collars selection depends greatly on the purpose of buying a dog collar in the first place. Dog collars are mainly used for controlling dogs and dog training purposes. However, if all you want is a dog collar that allows you to attach a dog leash and dog tags, then normal dog collars will do the job.

Though normal dog collars come in different designs (buckle, slip, metal, etc.) and textures (nylon, cotton, or leather), they all will allow you to keep your dog on the leash and have his identification tags.

Measuring Your Dog for a Collar

For a proper fit, measure your dog’s neck with a cloth seamstress’s tape measure. You’ll take a measurement a few inches down from his head and then add an inch for very small dogs or two inches for medium and large dogs. Pull the tape snug but not tight.

(If you do not have a tape measure, you can use a piece of string and then measure the string with a rigid ruler.)

Allow sufficient room for two fingers to be placed flat against his neck and under the tape measure. Or you can measure his neck and add two inches. When the collar is on his neck it should allow you to slide two fingers under a properly fitting collar and your dog’s neck. If there’s extra room, you need a smaller size. If both fingers don’t fit, the collar is too small.

A collar shouldn’t be tight around your dog’s neck and it wouldn’t be the exact measurement of your dog’s neck. But for safety reasons – so it doesn’t snag on something, it shouldn’t be too loose either. A snug fit is what you are aiming for. Not a tight one or one that chokes.

Puppies grow! If you are buying for a puppy allow some room for growth – leave two holes for growth. You should check your puppy’s collar for tightness about the neck often. Remember that puppies like to chew, so when purchasing his collar make sure it isn’t too long at the end.

When shopping for the collar, be sure to take the tape measure with you. Some collar manufacturers measure the collar from tip to tip, while others will measure from buckle to center hole, and still others, will measure from buckle to last hole.

At least once a month, and more often for growing puppies, do a quick “collar check.” Give the collar a hard look to see if it’s getting frayed, chewed or worn. A worn collar can break when you least expect it � in traffic, in unfamiliar surroundings, or when you most need to control your dog. If the collar needs replacing, do it right away. Don’t take a chance on your dog getting lost or picked up as a stray.

Check the fit. Determine how many fingers you can slip between your dog’s collar and his neck. If you have an average, medium-sized dog, go for a two-finger fit. If your dog is very large, three may be better. If your dog is very small (under 20 pounds), leave only one finger’s width.

With so many styles and materials available, choosing just the right collar for your dog can seem daunting. Keep it simple. The weight and width of your dog’s collar should be proportional to his size. For short-coated dogs, a broad, flat leather or woven nylon collar with a sturdy metal buckle works well. If your dog has a lush ruff and long hair, a “rolled” style collar may work better. Insure that the buckle and other parts of the collar won’t tug on or catch your dog’s hair.

“Snap-together” collars are convenient, attractive and neater looking than buckled collars, and work well for many dogs. But if your dog is very large or strong, or has a tendency to lunge when excited, a sturdy buckled collar is a safer choice.

Leather and nylon are the two most common types of buckle collars, and they come in different styles and can last for years. However, many dogs are dedicated leather-chewers. If your dog spends a lot of time around other canines, check the collar frequently for signs of chewing damage and replace right away if necessary.
Nylon web collars are not only sturdy and inexpensive but they also come in many fashionable colors and patterns. There are breed-specific collars, reflective collars for night runs, holiday-and seasonal-themed collars, matching leash-and-collar ensembles, and collars embellished with everything from semi-precious stones to good-luck charms.

The plain flat buckle collar is traditional and fits around the dog’s neck, just above where the neck meets the shoulder and will have a metal or plastic buckle on it similar to a belt. The buckle makes the collar size adjustable. It should be buckled tightly enough so that it doesn’t slip over your dog’s ears but loose enough to easily slip two fingers under it. The collar has a ring to which you attach your city dog license and other identification tags. Should your dog accidentally stray, this collar and the tags are his ticket home.

The flat buckle collars come with a belt-type fastener (with holes for size adjustment), or a plastic snap. Most leather collars have the belt-buckle type fastener, whereas most nylon collars have the plastic, click together fasteners. The plastic fastener makes the collar look tidier – no dangling, curled up, or excess strap. It also makes the collar easier and faster to get on and off by squeezing the plastic fastener. The plastic is also light-weight.

Nylon doesn’t shrink, doesn’t dry stiff after being wet, and can be washed in the laundry machine to remain clean and fresh. The nylon buckle collars are adjustable also. You adjust it once, for the size of your dog, and then just snap it around his neck each time and don’t have to remember which hole it was in.

While some trainers regularly use flat buckle collars – especially on puppies, these collars will not provide adequate control for some dogs. Nylon collars also come in a wide variety of colors and styles.

More on Dog Collars

Designer Dog Collars
Personalized Dog Collars
Fashion Dog Collars
Fancy Dog Collars
Unique Dog Collars
Lighted Dog Collars
Dog Tracking Collars
Leather Dog Collars
Rhinestone Dog Collars
Glow in Dark Dog Collars

Dog Training Collars

There are many schools of thought about a training collar. Some people use a leather collar or nylon collar for training. Many use a “choke” collar for training.

Martingale Collars (also known as soft-choke collars)
A martingale is a type of “limited choke” collar, which is made to slip on over the dog’s head without fasteners. Once around the dog’s neck, the collar can lie flat, like a buckle collar, or, with a leash attached, it will constrict to the size of the dog’s throat. Adjusted correctly, it will not constrict to a size smaller than the dog’s throat. In other words, it won’t continue to tighten, or “choke” the dog. It does, however, prevent the dog from squirming out of his collar. In its tightened position, it will not come back off over the dog’s head. These collars are also handy for agility. The loop eliminates the need for a “tag line” and it allows for control without danger of choking.

Final Thoughts on Dog Collars

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