Understanding the training collars for dogs, how to choose the best?

How to Choose a Training Collar

There are several kinds of dog collars to choose from in the market, from traditional regular collars to luxury collars to more complex dog remote trainer collars. Training collars are very useful; they can be used to teach your dog how to walk on a leash, understand the boundaries they are confined in, increase obedience, and even control their barking tendencies. Having the training purpose in mind will allow you to have a better judgement of which type of collar to use for your dog. We have listed several frequently used ones below for you to learn more about them.

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Regular Collars: Standard Flat, Harness Type, Martingale, and Head Collars

Regular collars or pet play collars are the standard collars for dogs. They are ideal for introducing leash walking to newbie pups and dogs that do not have much problems in terms of behavior. Regular collars include the standard flat collar with a quick-release buckle that fits around the neck, as well as the back-clip harness type that fits around the chest and back.

They are the easiest to use and are relatively harmless on healthy dogs when they are properly fitted. A general rule of thumb is that you should be able to slip two fingers underneath the loop when worn by your dog to ensure that the collar is not too tight on them.

martingale collar can also be used for dogs that are masters of escaping, as this type of collar, when properly adjusted and worn, tightens around the neck without choking when the dog pulls on too much. The last common type of standard collar is the head collar, which looks like a horse’s halter. The head collar has two straps, one to fit around the dog’s neck and the other around the muzzle. This provides ample control over the head of the dog and not just the neck, making it ideal for dogs who pull too much and those with tracheal problems who may have a higher risk of choking when wearing standard neck collars.

However, the head collar may not be suitable for brachycephalic or flat-faced dog breeds due to poor fitting of the muzzle loop. Most dogs may not be comfortable with wearing it as well and thus can take some time to warm up to it. This type of collar should only be worn when taking your dog out for a walk, and not for prolonged, unsupervised periods of time.

Remote Trainer Collars: E-Collars, Vibrating, and Spray Collars

Remote-controlled collars are an option for dogs that are more difficult to train, and when regular collars may not be enough to instill proper behavior. However, some of them, especially the e-collars, are quite controversial because they apply physical discomfort or pain to the wearer to correct negative behavior.

Spray collars are useful for bark control. When dog barking is detected, they release a spray of citronella that usually disrupts the dog’s attention and decreases their barking tendencies. Spray collars may not always catch the attention of stubborn dogs and may be wrongly activated if they sense the bark of other dogs near the wearer.

Vibrating collars give vibrating cues to dogs to catch their attention. They are ideal and widely used for training deaf dogs that cannot rely on auditory cues because they do not inflict pain and discomfort is minimal, although improper use may startle and stress the dog.

Electronic collars, or e-collars for short (not to be mistaken with the Elizabethan collar that has more medical purpose than for training) generate electric current through metal contact points on the collar that startles dogs and interrupts their behavior. They are useful for training dogs to stay within a confined area and for bark control.

Static collars deliver a mild, harmless electric stimulation and is usually enough to catch the dog’s attention. Shock collars, on the other hand, have settings for stronger electric current that can vary from a tingle to a painful, numbing shock. Such e-collars can come with a user-activated remote that lets the owner or trainer control the stimulation to give, or the collar can be activated by the pet themselves via signal transmission, such as with electronic fencing for training dogs to stay in a confined area.

Do e-collars hurt dogs? Many of them can inflict some degree of pain on the animal, especially when used at high levels. More importantly, if they are not used as a proper training tool, e-collars can potentially impose fear and unwanted stress on your dog. Training collars, after all, should be treated as communication devices that will help facilitate training your dog, but should not be treated as substitutes for the training itself.

It is important to always remember that utilizing positive reinforcement is still the best method for gentle behavioral training. Only when positive reinforcement is not enough to correct the bad behavior should you consider using remote-controlled or aversive collars, and always with proper consultation with a professional trainer or veterinarian.

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