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What collar do dog trainers recommend

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Dog trainers often recommend flat collars for everyday use, martingale collars for safety and preventing escape, and harnesses for dogs that pull or have respiratory issues. For specific behavioral issues, they might suggest head collars or prong collars under guided supervision.

Flat Collar

Most dog trainers generally recommend the flat collar as the simplest, safest, and most effective solution for most dogs for most uses. A collar consists of a simple strap that goes around the dog’s neck and may be made of leather or nylon. The purpose of a flat collar is generally to hold ID tags, municipal licenses, and be a way to easily attach a leash. This type of collar is perfect for a dog that does not pull because it does not place unnecessary pressure on the dog’s neck.

The prong and shock collars are not considered usual flat collars and are utilized for certain purposes and are much harsher than a typical flat collar. According to a study, regular walking when a flat collar was used resulted in pets showing less signs of stress than when correctional gear, such as a choke chain or a shock collar, had been on it. Trainers note that they recommend flat collars because they are so easy to use and have minimal risks. The cost of a flat collar is also a big advantage, ranging from $5 to approximately $20. In addition, they vary in colors and designs.

While a flat collar is a simple and practical tool for walking a dog that is under control, there is a specific situation in which it can cause a problem. The initial training phase of a dog still learning not to lunge or try to pull on walks is a classic example of such a situation. Most trainers could recommend using a flat collar in the beginning and using other kinds of training aids gradually. This way, the dog will not associate a walk with discomfort or fear.

Durability is another factor with higher-quality flat collars that can last for several years, and dog’s wearing less expensive nylon collars may find them needing replacement several times throughout their life, depending mostly on how energetic a dog is and how much it is exposed to mud, water, and other harsh elements. A flat collar serves as a practical and everyday tool for walking a dog and for taking it to a vet or to a park. In general, they are an easy and convenient way to monitor a pet and to ensure its compliance without discomfort. Trainers also point out that flat collar owners need to regularly check the fit on the pet, because if it is too tight, it will cause discomfort, while a pet will be able to liberate itself from a collar that is too loose. The general advice is that one should be able to fit two fingers between the dog’s neck and its collar.


Martingale Collar

Dog trainers recommend a special kind of collar called the martingale one for its safety and efficient characteristic. Thin-headed breeds as greyhounds and whippets are more prone to slip their heads out of collars, so it’s better to use a martingale one with them. The reason is that it’s often pretty difficult to adjust flat collars or escape-resistant ones to fit the breed’s peculiarities. Although a martingale collar looks like a choke one, it doesn’t harm the neck. The collar tightens when the dog attempts to pull, but it’s equipped with a limited feature that allows it to close right after stopping at a certain point. It tightens smoothly, effectively preventing the pet from slipping out the collar, but gives no choking effect.

This is the best choice for practicing leash etiquette training. The pet feels all the time the slight pressure when it attempts pulling so that the sensation distracts the animals from making abrupt forward leaps or resist tugging. Instead, the dog instinctively associates its good behavior with receiving a preferable one, which is always more effective than “severe” methods used with the help of so-called correction collars that tighten up to choke the animal.

It’s very easy to use the martingale collar as it combines the advantages of a flat one and a slip collar. It’s very useful for regular strolls that usually occur in a busy environment when the animal is afraid or stressed out. The collar exerts a more stable pressure on the pet, preventing it from escaping or bolting. In a few weeks, the owners may notice that the pet behaves more calmly during walks. As to the price of the product, it’s affordable – from $10 to $30, and varies depending on the materials used: leather, nylon, polyester, etc. The durability of the collars depends on the materials and the way they are used, but can typically last several years.

Prior to purchasing this kind of collar, one must measure the dog’s neck carefully. The martingale collar must be tight only to the point that it can’t slip over the dog’s head, but not too tight in order not to harm the dog in breathing or to cause any discomfort. Finally, one should always take into account the conditions the martingale collar is used in. For example, it’s better to buy a reflective nylon collar to use it during night walks – that will help the pet to be seen more clearly by drivers and cyclists.


Harness is a great tool used by dog trainers for dogs that pull, have breathing issues, or are otherwise uncomfortable in a collar. It has a superior design, which distributes pressure over a significant portion of the dog’s body, thus decreasing the level of stress on the neck and back. Since there are some breeds, which suffer from brachycephalic syndrome and other breathing issues, all problems may be exacerbated by any sort of dog collar. Such breeds as Pugs and Bulldogs need a harness as well. It is worth noting that buying the right harness may change the training process and otherwise managing dogs with pulling behavior.

The main advantage of the harness is that it allows for control of the dog’s shoulder and torso, greatly facilitating operation. Therefore, the balance harness allows handlers to get more control over the pet and makes it harder from them to pull. Eventually, it results in more efficient training since the dog is guided exactly where it is supposed to go, and physical strength is not the only way to achieve positive results. Moreover, even a dog that has never been leashed may feel more secure in a harness. Therefore, for some nervous dogs, it is the only way to concentrate their attention on professional growth: they do not fear choking and they are being securely guided throughout the training process.

It should also be added that, as dog owners report, their dogs started behaving better when walked in a harness. When buying a harness, remember that there are three most popular types: front-clip, back-clip, and dual-clip harnesses. Each category is best suited for particular training situations. The front-clip one will gently guide the dog to the owner when it tries to pull. In its turn, the back-clip harness is more suitable for already-trained dogs, as it is only used for supporting their gait without the guiding element.

Last but not least, one should also mention that the costs of buying a harness will vary. While some harnesses may cost only $20, others are sold for over $50. Generally, harness prices vary based on the materials used and the features. Since high-quality materials such as padded nylon and breathable mesh and extras such as reflective bands, leash accessories, or water bottle pockets are used in the more expensive version, it is always better to buy the best apparel for your pet. The optimum lifetime of any harness will depend on the above variables as some dogs may be more active than others.


Head Collar or Head Halter

Some dog trainers suggest using the head collar or the head halter to manage big or pulling-on-leash dogs. First, they control the head. Thus, if the dog starts pulling, its design redirects the animal’s face towards the owner, ensuring it remains close and focuses on him or her. Such a system is highly effective for large and strong dogs who tend to pull a lot. It is also a fantastic achievement in dog training.

Indeed, it promotes calm and force-free behavior and teaches the dog to walk alongside its owner without pulling or causing any discomfort. It is a particularly useful tool for elderly people who do not have the physical strength to withstand their pet’s pulling. Finally, when using the head collar, all dog owners admit that the difference is immediate. They minimize their pulling and/or do not pull at all. It is an enjoyable and stress-free pastime for many owners.

Many professionals prove its effectiveness in training. For example, when working with rescue dogs, some trainers have to reteach them in public while dealing with many behavioral problems, such as aggression and fear. It is a dangerous process for dogs, and the head collar helps in managing. As of their experience with the particular tool, they admit, “Head collars provide additional control and make the life of a rehabilitating dog and trainer far easier”. Many trainers and pet owners find it easy in use and highly beneficial. However, it is crucial to wear it correctly, as an ill-fitted item may cause discomfort to the dogs and create the risk of the animal slipping out of it.

Besides, with time, the head collar wears out, and owners will probably need to buy another one. Head collars are available at stations from $15 to $40. They are of different quality: more expensive and durable or cheaper and less likely to last long. It is crucial to invest in a good head halter if an owner wants it to be working properly. Finally, when introducing a dog to a head collar, it is essential to do it through small 5-10 minutes long sessions during calm and not-stressful experiences. It can also be accompanied by the used favorite paw and/or leash or harness. Even an inexperienced owner and/or trainer should do it gradually to ensure the dog accepts it without causing him or her discomfort.

Prong or Pinch Collar

Speaking about the prong or pinch collars in the context of different training cases, dog trainers recommend to use them only when all the other methods have already been tried, but all of them have failed. In other words, a prong collar is a kind of a pinch collar that is built up of metal links that contain prongs to pinch the dog’s skin slightly once it starts pulling. In this case, the trainer expects the dog to stop doing it or pay much more attention to their command as a kind of behaviour that a mother dog may use towards her puppies.

As a result, many trainers report that those owners whose dogs belong to very strong or large breeds and are not really manageable with the help of a regular leash and collar, found it really effective. For instance, prong collars are used by a number of trainers when they have to teach Rottweilers or Mastiffs their leash manners without the use of such force that these powerful breeds require.

However, with regard to the methods of training as well as the overall approach to animal behaviour, the use of prong collars is quite debatable. On the one hand, the major benefit of these collars is that when used properly, they do not hurt the Scottish or any other breed. Besides, the pressure they apply to the dog’s neck is fixed evenly around it so it does not cut into the skin unlike many other training collars, such as choke chains. On the other hand, using prong collars requires a very accurate and precise approach. In this case, the best way to do it is to make the prong collar sit right behind the dog’s ears and under its jawline, not hanging down as a regular collar. When used in this way, the prong collar will apply its bites to the less pressure-sensitive areas without pushing the collar into the neck with the increased force.

In addition to that, prong collars should be used only for the few short training sessions where the owners focus on a number of particular behaviours instead of being used as an everyday walking collar. The range of the prong collar prices is rather wide as it starts from some $20 or $25 and can go up to $50 depending on the quality and materials. For instance, trainers recommend to use stainless steel prong collars as they do not rust and are more durable than the traditional ones. In the end, I personally believe that prong collars can be quite helpful effective tools for training but they absolutely must be used along with other tools as well as other ways of training. As a result, remember to give your dog some treats and verbal praise to help them associate their efforts with the collar’s message.

Shock Collar

Dog trainers may suggest the use of shock collars for some training at owners with their difficult dogs. Mostly, these are individuals with numerous behavior problems that could not be resolved using a different approach or technique. The product delivers a mild electric shock to a dog as one of the possible forms of punishment, namely behavior correction. It is usually used to train dogs for off-lead use to prevent some harmful behaviors or excessive barking. For example, one may train a dog to stay in the yard and not to approach the noisy or unfriendly neighbor by a shock collar. Psychologically, it is a more direct training approach, as the shock immediately follows the dog crossing the road or garden path.

The efficiency of shock collars is tightly linked with their preciseness of time. The shock should immediately follow the unwanted behavior and still be synchronized with its part, not something happening at the same time or any other signal than the undesired action. This type of delivery helps to modify behavior without confusing and ultimately scaring the dog. The issue at stake also determines the price of materials, with the most expensive collar I found being over $200 and a reliable one for $30. Some cheaper models generally have limited range and a narrow band of variation, so they may give the dog a shock in the kitchen while it is in the living room. High-quality collars have both low and high levels of shock, with some delivering a buzz rather than a shock and others having the electronic equivalent of a tap, whereas a stronger level is certainly an equivalent of a spanking.

In general, a cheap collar usually means it will be worse for the dog in other ways. Owners are advised to try to use such products as gently as possible and, to be sure of the treatment’s effectiveness and absence of harm, mostly in professional hands. Most problems with shock collars, besides their occasional misuse causing anxiety or aggression, are due to owners turning up the correction after some time – and at that point, it becomes not a psychological punishment but a physical attack. It was also important to present the product as a form of direction to a vet trainer, i.e., to give instructions for a dog, not to have an owner can accomplish by himself.

Most shock colors, however, also function as vibrators and sound. While the shock can be quite painful and stressful to the pet, with some modern types being actually called not shock but “static,” sound and vibration often achieve the same result in training as a shock without the same risk of stressing the dog in such an unpleasant way. Owners can then use the approach relying on the mildest possible techniques.

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