While it is always fun to accessorize, regardless of the species to which you belong, dog collars serve a much more practical goal than just being canine necklaces. A good dog collar must be firm and comfortable, easy to attach and yet hard for the dog to take off. What’s more, the best dog collars also need to be a mixture of modern design, utility, and aesthetics. Although it is undeniable that the modern dog collar can look remarkably stylish, their primary purpose is to direct the dog where to go and how to follow specific commands, without causing any injury.
What to Look for
To be honest, searching for a collar that will be pleasing for the eyes is not a bad starting point to narrow down your search with a simple glance, especially if you know about the material that you are looking for. Additionally, while different dogs need different collars, the one that looks good on your dog will usually be the one that the dog needs. Just try to stay away from materials like stainless steel and other heavy metals as these might be too uncomfortable for the dog.
Our Choices for 2018:
While there is no such thing as the best dog collar for every dog, there is such a thing as the most sensible option that will be a good choice for most dogs, regardless of whether you plan to train your dog or just to keep it safe when going for a walk. If you have a larger dog or a puppy, the overall choice changes, but it will finally be up to you and your furry friend to make the final choice.
Blueberry Pet Soft & Comfy 3M
Best for Large Dogs
OneTigris Military Adjustable Dog Collar
Best for Puppies
PUPTECK Basic Nylon Dog Collar
What Are Dog Collars?
While the easy answer is that it is the round thing that goes around the dog’s neck, the history and practical use of the canine collar is much more complex and utterly fascinating. It is a debate about whether dog collars originated in ancient Egypt or ancient Greece, but we are certain that the Greek version was the first to have a practical purpose. Originally, dog collars were a defensive tactic against wolves, protecting the dog’s neck from bites.
In the middle ages, the dog’s collar became the way to tell the dog’s position and ownership and, much like today, highborn ladies used to place ornate collars on their dogs and used them for companionship rather than for any outside labor.
Today, a collar is mostly a tool to train and guide your dog through crowds and traffic, as well as to prevent the dog from bothering other people. While some people still use spiked collars, as well as ornate versions, more streamlined designs that foster utility and simplicity are generally in fashion.
Why Do We Use Dog Collars?
While some collars may be specially designed to assist in some task such as rescue, most are focused on helping the dog with training, obedience, and navigation.
When the dog starts it’s training, before learning any tricks or commands, it needs to learn how to properly walk next to their owner and to be mindful about their surroundings. Young dogs will want to run around and sniff everything and everyone, but any dog trainer knows that you need to show the dog when is the appropriate time to explore and when it is not. The dog’s collar should be comfortable, and when they start messing around you should pull the leash upwards and remind them that they should walk close beside you.
As for navigation, it is good to remember that we are much taller than our canine companions and that all urban places are made to fit human bodies and not canine. This is especially true in traffic, where having a good collar is essential to protect your furry friend from any harm—especially when they are still a puppy.
Materials and Design
With the introduction of modern materials like nylon and plastic, the design of collars has changed significantly. Previously, if you were to have a larger dog, you would be forced to use metal chains to prevent the dog from pulling all the time. Nowadays, however, you can have a comfortable, padded, collar that will be easy for the dog to carry but will be able to withstand any pulling in any direction. Heavy-duty collars like the one from OneTigris mentioned above have none of the punitive features such as chokers or inward spikes but are still more than able to train larger dogs and would hold even the biggest dogs in place.
Collar vs. Harness
Particularly with small breeds and show breeds, you will see an increasing number of people using a harness to tie their dog to a leash instead of a collar. While the two types of restraints might seem similar and with equal effects, harnesses are usually only used on dogs that don’t need to be directed.
Two types of dogs will benefit more from a harness than a collar and these are toy breeds and guide dogs. For the former, it is unnecessary to prevent a race such as a teacup poodle to obey commands and to follow your heel, as they are unable to do so by default. Differently, guide dogs are usually there to guide their owner, which is much easier if the dog is wearing a harness than a collar, as most dogs will not willingly choke themselves as to turn their owner’s attention.
Finally, you might think that a harness is a more humane option as it will never choke the dog but, in all fairness, it doesn’t make a difference for the dog comfort-wise, and you will not be able to train the dog that is wearing a harness. With a dog collar, you can remind the dog with just a simple tug on the leash. With the harness, however, you will be pulling on the whole dog, which will be hard on both the canine and yourself.
Things to Avoid
All pet owners should avoid using a collar that is meant to harm your pet. Having a leash that is too short, or using an abusive collar is not only unethical, but it is counterproductive as well. If you are using an inward spiked collar, a choker, or something like a shock collar, your dog will grow to resent you as the source of their pain.
Do You Legally Need a Dog Collar?
Depending on the state, it may be necessary for your dog to wear a leash any time it is outside. In some cases, this is not a direct legal requirement, but unless your dog has a collar with the owner’s name and address on, it the dog can be taken to the pound on the discretion of the authorities.
In all possible scenarios, regardless of the state, it is much better to have your dog collared and to carry a leash, as this is the only way to be certain that all factors will be on your side if an unfortunate circumstance arrives. If you assess the pros and cons honestly, you will realize that having the leash and collar, as well as a few other things like the GPS tracker, will mean not only being on the right side of the law as a responsible dog owner but will also keep your canine companion safe.
A great dog collar is not only something that is practical, durable, and easy to use, but is also fashionable and fits your dog perfectly. Thankfully, with so many choices on the market, we can be certain the those dubbed the best dog collars will have all the necessary characteristics that a dog owner will want in a collar. With just a little bit of research, you will be able to find the right fit for your dog, whether it is a tiny puppy or a large breed senior dog. Having the best dog collar increases the happiness of your dog, the speed of its training, as well as your own health from all the waling. The only downside is that your walking shoes might get a shorter lifespan.