Choosing the Right Collar for your Dog


Choosing a training collar today is very complicated based on the number of collar types available and the ever judgmental neighbors and professionals.  Let me put it this way – does your human child learn the exact same way as your neighbor’s child?  We cannot as trainers blindly state that this flat collar or this harness is your only option and any other collars available are harmful to your dog.  The Common Dog trainers have researched and used all types of training collars, and yes some we prefer but preferring a collar doesn’t mean that it is the only choice or the only recommendation we would offer.

It is important to remember that we are looking at the collar as one of the most important tools in our training toolbox.  The leash and collar together are the way we communicate with our furry friend and the way they understand what we expect from them.  Using the right training collar and leash can significantly shorten the time it takes to work with a dog – whether teaching them obedience, correcting a behavior issue or simply addressing bad manners.  As a trainer there are several tools in our toolbox that we utilize in our training, but the collar is by far one of the key elements of the training curve.

When we meet a client we determine what collar is best for the dog – and we cannot say that only one collar is the best and only choice.  We do have preferences based on our years of utilization, education and hands on experience understanding a dog’s personality and concerns but, as with children, we cannot say that one collar will work on every puppy.  A trainer that tells you that you have to use a specific collar or harness is usually not going to offer the best training choices for your dog.  We approach the training clients as individuals and each situation as unique.  Thus, we take several factors into account when recommending a training collar.

A trainer should always discuss with you what collar they would recommend and review the reasons.  When we recommend a “training” collar we are going to explain this collar.  Through training, the collar should facilitate the process of achieving reliable obedience and address the manners or behavior that are concerning the owners.  It should not be assumed that the collar needs to be worn for the life of the dog – once trained the owner should be able to walk the dog reliably on any collar they choose and maintain the same control and response they would when they were using that training collar.

There are certainly pros and cons to each collar type so I have created a list for you:


Has some give for a bit of a correction
Easy on the neck
Easy to take on and off
Dogs will pull into the tension
Hard to give an easy correction, need to pull harder to get a response

Slip or Choke chains- metal or cloth

They give a solid correction
Easy to put on and take off
Have to be used on the appropriate side or they will not release
Harder for the handler to use
Harder on the dogs neck
Hard to give an easy correction, need to pull harder to get a response

Flat Collars

Easy to take on and off
Can send a correction down the leash
Dogs pull into the tension and do not always respond to the correction
Dogs necks are the strongest muscle in their body and they get stronger pulling on a flat collar

Prong Collar

Easy to give a correction
Less effort by the owner to use
Can use on either side of the dog
Dogs may have an adjustment issue when initially put on a prong collar
Look medieval


Easy for the owner to “appear to control” their dog
No issues with the dog’s neck being damaged if they have a tracheal disorder
Better leverage but no way to address real issues
Does not stop the behavior it just gives the owner a way to control the dog.  The problem behavior remains and can get worse

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