Every dog needs a collar, there's no question about that. But, which collar to get may remain a mystery. There are many things to consider to ensure that you purchase the right collar for your pup.
Consider the main purpose of the collar you are looking for and your dog's lifestyle and activities. For instance, do you need a collar for everyday use, training, show, safety, hunting or maybe a dress-up collar? Not all collars are created equal, each purpose might require a different collar, it's not all about look. Read on.
With your main purpose in mind, think of how different dog collar fabrics ware and hold up to your dog's lifestyle. For instance, if your dog is a water hound, you should look for a waterproof or quick-drying nylon collar, rather than a nice leather dog collar. And if you want a decorative or "fancy" necklace collar, know that it isn't intended for leash attachment, it's for a fashionable look only.
You might not put much thought into the closure on a dog collar, though they can make a big difference.
Choosing the correct size is essential when choosing a dog collar. If the collar is too small you risk hurting your dog and if it is too large, the dog can slip out of it, creating a safety concern. To get the proper fit, measure your dog's neck and add 1". Then make sure that measurement is within the adjustable range of the dog collar you choose. If your dog still has growing to do, understand you might need to buy multiple collars until she is full-grown. The collar should fit snug, but not tight. You should be able to get a few fingers between the collar and your dog's neck comfortably.
So, now that you know all about dog collar materials, sizing and purposes, it's time to learn about all the collars out there.
Quick Release Collars - The most common dog collar due to ease of getting on and off. Available in all sorts of materials.
Buckle Collars - Also a popular choice and made with all kinds of materials. The buckle looks really nice, but can be difficult to get on/off.
Decorative - Pearls and diamonds...oh my! Dog necklaces or decorative collars make your dog look fabulous, but aren't functional for leashes.
Slip-On Safety Stretch - Designed to stay secure when attached to a leash, but stretches and can easily be slipped off in case of entanglement.
Martingale - The unique loop and loop design slips on and off, but tightens slightly for training control. Materials range from nylon to metal.
Head Collars - Halter-style collars are for dogs that pull on leash and are designed to give the human control and re-direct a dog's attention.
Chain Slip or Prong Collars - Used for training dogs. The tightening or pinch is intended to correct or re-direct a dog's attention to the handler. Only use these collars once you learn to use it properly from a trainer.
Electronic Training Collars - Electronic dog collars are commonly used for dog training and sporting, and come in many different forms. These collars require proper human training, and are then to be used with caution.
Tag, You're It. Make sure your dog has - and wears - I.D. tags. Even a micro-chipped dog should have tags. If you are concerned with the noise or metal rubbing on fur, consider a Quiet Spot.
Calling for back-up. Always have a back-up dog collar on hand. You never know what can happen, so as the Boy Scouts say, "always be prepared," with a backup.