Advice on Dog Collars

 

The dog collar is part of the basic equipment for every dog. Depending on the dog owner, its use varies between fashion accessories and educational aid. They are available in a wide variety of designs, colors, and materials. It is so self-evident that we no longer question it, what is the purpose of a collar, its use, and its importance for the dog? How does our perception of the collar affect our relationship with our dog? 

Meaning, Perception, and Use

 Putting a collar on the dog symbolizes giving him care and a home. Everyone knows if the dog wears a collar, it belongs somewhere and there is someone who takes care of it. We often see these scenes in movies, where the putting on or taking off of a collar represents the beginning of the end of the time between man and dog. Because through the collar, we tie the dog to us, we use it to hook a leash, to gain physical connection and also control. We want to protect the dog from the dangers of the human world with a collar in combination with a leash and prevent it from running away. With a collar and leash, we can communicate very finely with our dog in a fantastic way. Provided we have the understanding and awareness of the sensitivity of the connection between humans and their dogs. A ribbon wrapped around a living being’s neck is also a sign of dominance and power. 

When we use the collar to punish or control the dog by pulling and tugging on the leash, this can have health and painful consequences for the dog. On the one hand, the cervical spine can become blocked, painful muscle tension can develop and the larynx can also be squeezed or irritated and even become inflamed. If the airways are narrowed by pressure on the collar, the dog does not get enough air, which of course affects the entire organism. These are just the physical effects that a collar can cause if mishandled. We can well imagine what an oppressive feeling a collar must trigger

So we have to analyze if we are acting in a sufficiently sensitive manner. If we don’t do this, this can have fatal consequences for the relationship. It is an appeal to our responsibility as dog owners when we put a collar on the dog and whether the dog perceives a collar positively or negatively. 

What we should consider when choosing the right collar?

For many dog ​​owners, the collar is just an accessory that should have the same design as the dog leash. But foremost should be the safety and health of our dog. 

  • For all dogs, there should still be at least two fingers between the collar and the dog to ensure that the collar is not too tight. 
  • With small breeds, we should make sure that we choose the lightest possible material and that the clasps and rings are not too massive. 
  • For dog types with long necks, such as greyhounds, we should tend to use wider straps. Due to the long neck of these dogs, the cervical spine is a little more sensitive than in other breeds and a wide collar is therefore much gentler. 
  • We do breeds with a lot of furs a favor by choosing narrower collars, because the wider the collar, the more the coat chafes, which is painful for the dog.
  • In the case of long-haired dogs and dogs with very dense fur, we should also use simple, plain collars with a surface that is as smooth as possible so that the hair does not get caught and the dog does not experience unpleasant pulling
  • With strong, large, and heavy dogs, it is of course important that the collar is made of a stable material that is well processed so that it does not tear in an emergency if the dog jumps on the leash. Collars lined with neoprene or felt create additional comfort.
  • Closure of the collar is crucial. I now completely do without plastic click closures that you plug or slide into each other. Buckles, as we know them from belts with pins and holes, are much more reliable.

Various collar models

Pull stop collar 

The pull-stop collar or retriever leash (where leash and collar form one part) have its origins in retrieval work, which is why one also speaks of retriever leash or collar. It is a collar without a fastener and is pulled over the dog’s head to put it on and take it off. Before the hunter sends his dog to fetch, he removes the collar so that it cannot get caught in the undergrowth. Many dog ​​owners appreciate such a collar-leash combo. This collar usually consists of a kind of rope, which is pulled through a ring at the other end with one end. So that it doesn’t get too tight, there is a stop, in the form of another ring or knot. This stop should be adjusted so that two fingers fit between the collar and the dog at the narrowest level, as already mentioned above.

Anti-Bark Collar 

An anti-bark collar usually has a small tank or a vibration device. Depending on the version, when the dog barks, a water splash is usually triggered under the nose or the vibration is triggered. Both represent an unpleasant experience for the dog, which the dog associates with its barking and should be prompted to refrain from barking in the future. In most cases, this works beautifully because the timing is very precise.

NOTE! we should keep in mind that a barking dog also gives us information about its inner being (for example, an unmet need). Vocalization is also a form of communication in dogs. If we forbid him to bark, we forbid him to communicate and leave him alone with his problem. 

Vibration collar

 In some cases, a vibration collar can also be a real helper. In this case, the vibration on the collar is triggered by the holder via remote control. With a little patience and intensive training, we can teach the dog that the vibration signal on its neck can also be perceived positively. When working or training dogs that are blind or deaf, such a collar can be a real asset.

Flea and Tick Collar

A flea and tick collar only has the benefit of keeping vermin away from our dog. It is not suitable for securing the dog, nor does it have a ring or eyelet to attach a leash. The active ingredient in tick collars is usually a nerve toxin, which spreads from the neck over the dog’s fur. It is dosed so low that it does not harm the dog. Nevertheless, cases are known where dogs have reacted strongly to the poison around their necks. Such a collar can also cause symptoms of poisoning when in contact with other dogs and when playing. Households with young children should take great care to ensure that the child does not touch the dog while it is wearing such a collar. The effect of such collars is usually very good, ticks stay away. 

Absolute no go´s

The no-gos among the collars include all the collars that cause pain and suffering to the dog. They are often sold as educational aids, but they symbolize human failure and have nothing in common with education in the modern sense. No situation would justify the use of such collars, they simply torture devices. So if you love your dog, avoid the following three models

Choke collar without pull stop 

The so-called choke collar consists of a loop, similar to the pull-stop collar just described, but in this case, there is no stop. This means that when the dog puts tension on the collar, it tightens and chokes off the dog’s air. The carotid arteries are also blocked and the larynx is squeezed. The idea behind this collar, that the dog pulls less when he realizes that pulling is taking his breath away, unfortunately, doesn’t work. It’s a natural reaction that when you move, more happens. It is our job as dog owners to explain to our dogs how to walk on a loose leash, we cannot delegate this task to a collar.

Spiked collar 

The spiked collar is even more extreme than the choke collar because not only does it tighten, but it also has inward-pointing metal spikes that dig into the dog’s neck when the dog pulls on the leash. This collar causes the dog a lot of pain and does not release us from our dog’s training any more than any other collar. Some dog owners choose such collars because they think their dog would look particularly dangerous with them and thus put the look and appearance over the well-being of their dog. 

Electric collar 

A collar with a receiver and two metal tips that make direct contact with the dog’s skin through the fur. The dog owner can use a remote control to give the dog current pulses of different strengths. The aim should be to interrupt the dog’s desired behavior with an electrical impulse. This type of dog training is incredibly painful for the dog and is strongly associated with fear and fright. Even a few uses of such a collar can leave serious mental and physical damage. The use of such a collar is animal cruelty and is therefore prohibited in some countries. 

Useful everyday tips

Many brands on the collar:

If your dog has a lot of tags on the collar that jingle and rattle around there, you can easily eliminate this annoying noise. You simply wrap a household neck elastic around the stamps and you’re quiet. Even if it doesn’t bother you much, your dog’s ears are very good and a permanent ringing in the ears can also be a stress factor for the dog. 

A harness for support:

 We should also use a harness for very young dogs, and even if we lead our dog on a very long leash (dragline), we should avoid using a collar in this combination and rather use a chest harness to protect the cervical spine. 

NOTE! 

To protect the fur on the neck, you should remove the dog’s collar from time to time. Especially in long-haired dogs and dogs with very thick fur, such as the husky, the fur in the region of the collar is often affected. The collar rubs and the fur becomes felty and brittle at the point where the collar sits, which then causes an annoying itching in the dog.

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