You probably did not know that there are many different types of dog collars out there in the market. Some have specific functions, while some bear specific shapes and sizes that they are given another name that is more representative of their appearance. Here is the full list of the different types of dog collars to the best of my knowledge. I will point out their differences and various purposes they are created for.
The list of the different types of dog collars is as follows:
- Flat Collars (Slip Collars)
- Rolled Collars (Slip Collars)
- LED Collars
- Shock Collars
- GPS Tracking Collars
- Martingale Collars
- Pheromone Collars
- Dog Flea Collars
- Elizabethan Collars
- Pillow Collars
- Choke Chains
- Prong Collars
- Pinch Collars
Each of the collars can be made of different materials as well and I will cover the various pros and cons of each material. But before that, let’s go through the full list
Flat Collars (Slip Collars)
The most common kind of collar that probably comes to our mind will be the slip collar. We have probably seen them on most of the dogs taking a walk with their owners on the streets or in the parks. However, even a slip collar can be split into different categories, and they have different effects on the dogs.
The first type is the flat collar. This is by far the most common collars you will see or have seen. Their characteristic is a flat fabric that sits on your neck of your dog that can be locked in place like how we lock our belts.
When To Use A Flat Collar On My Dog
Use this on dogs that are disciplined or don’t move around too much for non-strenuous activities like taking a walk or in the car. Senior dogs are the perfect example for these collars.
I usually use these flat collars merely for the sake of having to leash my dogs in public areas under the law. But only when they have been well trained and their discipline is the least of my concern.
When NOT To Use A Flat Collar On My Dog
The dogs should not be hyper active or have the tendency to dash away. They must be trained not to do so before you can use it. You do not want to end up like this girl.
Disclaimer: while changing the collar can discourage the dogs from running away suddenly with pain, it wouldn’t happen overnight; you still need time to train them they still need the time to learn and mature. These different collars are meant to be used at different stages of the training phase. The flat slip collar is probably used after the full training has been completed.
Do note that because it is flat, the edges of the flat fabric **may cause abrasion** on your dog’s neck if your dog tends to move its head around a lot. This is where the martingales or the rolled collars might be more favorable.
Rolled Collars (Slip Collars)
The second type of slip collar is the rolled collars. These are collars that are like ropes around your dogs’ necks and they take up a circular cross sectional area. They can be easily slipped onto the neck of the dog, tightened by pulling the loose end of the collar and secured by some locking mechanism.
The EzyDog Luca All-In-One Slip Collar as shown in the image below. You can observe the features of a rolled collar as described.
When To Use Rolled Collar On My Dog
I have a tendency to view rolled collars as nooses. That is indeed scary, but there is some truth to that portrayal. Rolled collars has a strangling effect as compared to flat collars due to their shape. They are round, so they apply a greater pressure on the dogs’ neck. This extra pressure translate to extra pain on the dog, hence discouraging it from struggling or pulling against the leash. This instills discipline, although it is using pain, and is a good accessory to make them behave when taking them on a casual walk.
I recommend using it on small dogs that have enough training and are not so naughty or easily stirred to break into a run by everything they see. This may also double up as a good collar for training your pets, preferably during intermediate training lessons where they already have a quiet and disciplined personality trained up. You might want to consider the shock collar for the real nefarious ones. More on that in a bit.
When NOT To Use Rolled Collar On My Dog
When your dog is disciplined or when your dog is old and will not move around much, spare them the irritation of the slight pain and use a flat collar instead.
As the name suggests, these collars emit LED light. It is usually powered by USB charging. The most obvious use case is using it at night. If your dog has not been fully trained and is still inclined to abscond from time to time, but under some circumstances you have to take it out at night when it is dark, this LED will come in handy.
When To Use LED Collar On My Dog
In my case, regardless whether my dog is well trained or not, I will always have it with me when I go on a camping trip with my dog. The LED will be a lifesaver and prevent your dog from getting lost during the trip. It can also help your dog navigate in the dark should it wander off too far while you are perhaps setting up the campfire.
The LED collar that I use is the Illumiseen LED Dog Collar. It has really good illumination which can spare me a free hand from having to holding a torch while taking a walk with my dog at the campsite during nightfall.
These collars are powered by USB to send an electric current to your dog. Many shock collars in the market have a remote controller that is sold together with them. The remote controller can set the amount of the current to send to the dog to trigger a relatively intense sensation of shock and pain on it.
When To Use Shock Collar On My Dog
Now this is a pure toture rack for dogs and you should only use it for training dogs and only dogs that are extremely disobedient. This should NOT be your go-to collar when you are only starting out to train your dog. Use it only your pooch still misbehave even after a couple of training sessions.
I personally do not use any shock collars on my dogs. I am pretty fortunate that they are an obedient bunch of lovely creatures. If you are not as fortunate as me, you may consider the Dog Training Collar from DOG CARE. I have heard only good things about it from my friends and families and its Amazon reviews.
When NOT To Use Shock Collar On My Dog
Whenever it is not training time. Period.
Ok I take that back. If your dog is still aggressive, but you have to take it out to public areas, this is a good scenario to use the shock collar. But try to use it only in case of an emergency as a last resort.
GPS Tracking Collars
Similar to LED collar, this collar fulfills the purpose of preventing your dogs from getting lost. Or I should say, it prevents you from losing your dog. The GPS collar comes with a GPS chip inside it, and it requires charging once in a while. On top of that, they usually come with a subscription plan to access the software in an app that will show you where your dog is on a map using the data from the GPS.
When To Use GPS Tracking Collar On My Dog
Use for outdoor activities. I tend to have them on my dogs whenever we travel, just as an insurance and the peace of mind. The subscription plan might not play well on your wallet, but compared to running the risk of losing your dog, it is peanuts.
In my opinion, Whistle 3 is the best GPS Tracking Collar on Amazon, as indicated by its hugely positive reviews. It comes as an attachment onto your collar instead of being sold as a whole collar itself, so giving you the modularity function on top of other collars. Together with the LED collar, they present an ultimate combination to perfectly meet my needs when traveling outdoors with my dogs.
The martingales is an ingenious improvement of the slip collar to prevent constant choking effect on the dog with a simple addition. It is made of 2 pieces of the collar fabric instead of 1. The longer piece of material will have 2 rings attached to its ends, and the smaller piece will go through the 2 rings in a smaller loop, from which the leash will go through.
The small loop in the martingale gives slack to the dog collar, so when there is no tension, it does not cling onto the neck of your dog and give a choking irritation. However, when the dog starts to run away, the leash will pull onto the smaller loop, which in turn brings the 2 rings closer, thereby tightening the larger loop around the neck of the dog and choking it, preventing it from running away effectively.
In short, the martingale is only tight when it needs to be tight, making your dog more comfortable when it is on a leash. This is the reason for its growing popularity among dog owners.
Pheromone collars belongs to a different category of dog collars where it is a mere attachment to your dog on his neck and not meant to have a leash secured to it. The pheromone collar exudes dog appeasing pheromone which is proven by various studies to be able to keep dogs calm.
Some manufacturers mix in essential oils that emanate scent that can calm dogs as a substitute. The most reliable amongst the essential oils for calming dogs is lavender.
In addition, pheromone collar has an expiry date. They typically last for 30 days before the smell of the pheromones wear off and themselves become ineffective. They are disposable and you will need to buy a new one when it has reached it end of life, which explains why some manufacturer sell them in packs with discounts from these bulk purchases.
Dog Flea Collars
Dog flea collars are similar to pheromones collars. They, too, give off a scent and they, too, have an expiry date, although they tend to last longer than pheromone collars up to a year.
The scent is meant to repel the insects that they are named after. Many manufacturers use their own formula of essential oils to can drive fleas away. Most of them include lavender, which is a calming agent for dogs. So most of the time, I tend to prefer dog flea collars over pheromone collars because it kills 2 birds with 1 stone.
However, it really depends on your dog’s reaction to these scents. A pheromone collars might prove more effective for your case.
The Elizabethan collar, of E-collar in short, is a cone worn around your dog’s neck. This collar is only used after surgeries on your dog. The dog cone around its neck creates a barrier that will prevent them from licking at their wounds and fiddle at the stitches, causing the wounds to reopen. Sometimes, it is comically called the cone of shame.
The E-KOMG Pet Recovery Collar is by far the best Elizabethan collar in the market. Its greatest selling point is its ability to bend and fold. It is not made of hard plastic but nylon fibre meshed together to form a comfortable fabric. This translate to more convenient sleeping postures for your dogs. Compared to the plastic ones that force your dog into awkward sleeping positions, it will bring so much more happiness to your dog when it is in such a dire need during the gloomy post-surgery period.
The pillow collar is an alternative of the E-collar. This collar serve the same purpose as the E-collar to prevent dogs from licking their surgery wounds, but they are much more comfortable. The pillow collar looks like the travel pillow that we use during our naps on the planes. It is a cushion around your dog neck that is very comfortable, but thick enough to do its job.
The BENCMATE Protective Inflatable Collar illustrated above will give you a better picture of how this dog collar will look like on your dog and you can imagine how it will prevent your dogs to lick at their wounds. This particular brand is very sturdy and is scratch and bite resistant for durability. Since it is collapsible, it is easy to store, and with a removable cover, washing is also a breeze. IT is the best seller on Amazon and highly rated amongst previous buyers.
Choke chains are basically collars made of metal chains. Metal is more heavy-duty to generate an extra tenacious grip around your dog’s neck and induce a more excruciating pain, thereby discouraging it from pulling on the leash.
However, when there is no pulling, it will lie comfortably on your dog’s neck. Unlike other standard dog collars made of synthetic nylon fabric threads sewn together that do generate friction upon the slightest of movements, the choke chain, with its smooth and rounded edges, eliminates any sort of friction.
Prong collars are exactly like the choke chains, except for one vicious feature. They have protruding spikes facing the neck of the dog. It is meant to choke the dog and it is obviously for training purposes. If a slip collar can choke a dog, a prong collar can suffocate it.
This is one painful gadget to whip your dog into discipline. I personally use it on one of my dogs that loves to pull his leash. Trust me, it is very effective to prevent the dog from taking you on a walk instead of the other way round.
Note that you should not have the prong collar on your dog other than when you are taking a walk with it or during training. This is especially the case in a car. The constant movement and vibration is going to torture your dog for nothing, and a sudden brake can prove fatal too.
It might seem cruel to put a prong collar on a dog, but it is very necessary if you dog happens to be one of the strongest breeds out there and not one of the most obedient.
Pinch collars are to prong collars what martingales are to slip collars. They work under the same mechanism and principle. The only difference is that the larger loop of the collar is a prong collar with the protruding spikes.
This is definitely more recommendable than pure prong collars as it releases the immense pressure of the spike on the neck when it is not needed. This will make a happier dog, and a happier dog makes a happier owner.
I feel that I have to touch on the materials used for the collars and their pros and cons. On top of all the different types of collars available in the market, the material also plays a key role and it should influence your purchasing choice properly. There are 3 main materials, synthetic, leather and metal.
Collars can be made of synthetic materials. Most of the time, it is nylon because of its strength and cost price.
Pros Of Synthetic Material
Synthetic materials come in different colors, allowing you to add colors to fit your dog’s outfit of the day!
They are highly versatile materials, highly durable under all conditions, wet or dry.
Cons Of Synthetic Material
Some materials are not biodegradable as they are artificial. That won’t play out well with the environment if you happen to lose it.
Some materials may absorb water to a certain extent, which is problematic during cleaning if your dog dives into mud during a hike. It can also retain the smell of the dirty moisture which can be hard to get rid of.
Leather is made of cowhide. It is organic which has its pros and cons.
Pros Of Leather
Leather is slick. It’s classy. And it has flourished for decades in its own thriving niche in the fashion industry. That include dogs’ fashion as well. A leather dog leash is stylish to say the least. Many dog owners want to own one exactly because of this.
It is not all about looks too. Leather is strong and elastic. However this holds true only if the leather has been well taken care of and has not been left to decompose with neglect.
Since it is organic, leather is biodegradable. Although it might take a while, it will get there eventually. Any leather collars that get lost will return back to the ground and do Mother Earth a favor.
Cons Of Leather
Leather is more difficult to take care of. It requires different and uncommon methodology for handling as compared to synthetic material, to the extent that a new line of products is made just for cleaning leather, like the saddle soap. Washing it is troublesome and if you are not ready to put in the time and effort, you should avoid. Remember, dogs, being dogs, get dirty easily, and the collar will not be spared easily.
Leather should stay dry as much as possible to maximise its lifespan. It should be treated and dried as soon as possible if it gets wet. But since we only use collars when we take the dogs outdoors, we can soon see where this is going. It is ultimately not ideal for outdoor activities, especially if you live in the tropics which is humid or in places that tend to rain a lot.
These collars are usually made of steel. High quality collars like CHUKCHI High Chromium Stainless Steel Dog Training Choke will use chromium alloy while low quality ones are galvanized with a layer of tin or zinc to prevent rusting.
Pros Of Metal
The strongest candidate among the 3 materials mentioned. Unlike leather or synthetic materials, metals do no get cut and torn easily, something which can have a high chance of happening for the case of dog collars. As long as there is a slight cut, it can propagate easily throughout the surface of the material. But metal, you need a large force in order to create a dent in the material, and we are talking about a magnitude far beyond the reach of even a human, let alone a dog.
This is probably why prong collars are metal for most of the brands out there..
Metal collars with smooth shiny surface makes it difficult for dirt and mud to remain on the surface. It is also not possible for the mud to soak into the material like a fabric material. This makes metal collars much easier to clean and dry.
Cons Of Metal
Metal has a chance of rusting if it is damaged, and it can cause harm to your dog especially for the case of a collar which tend to have constant rubbing and friction against the neck of your dog.
Metal is also cold on the touch that can give that irritating cold shock to your dog, as well as yourself. It is not recommended for places with cold climate, as well as on hairless dog breed. I can attest to that with my experience with Xola, a hairless mexican breed called xoloitzcuintle.
Are you surprised by the number of dog collars the pet industry has produced for the different purposes and different dogs’ personalities? There are many different accessories out there to help out owners with different kinds of dogs and it is not limited to dog collars.
If you are having a dog problem, chances are someone would have already met that same problem and designed an accessory or improved on the current ones to solve the problem.
In addition, proper dog collar washing technique is the way to lengthen the lifespan of your collars and serve justice to your money spent. Read up more on how to wash dog collars of different materials properly in this article.
Stay tuned to more articles from me on Travel With Doggie to find out and understand how you can live better with your dog.