All dog collars are the same … are not they? The answer is "absolutely not!"
Allow me to introduce each type of collar and the purpose of each and the dangers of some.
1) Flat Everyday Dog Collar
You can express your style with a flat dog collar available in every color and design imaginable. There are 2 differences in the clasps. One type is a quick release, which has become very popular and they are good collars. However you must be aware that the quick release dog collars are not as durable and can release allowing your dog to flee. The second type of course leaves the standard buckle. The buckle is perhaps not quite as easy to remove but it is much more durable and does not unclasp if the dog pulls on the leash.
If you have a large or stronger dog, I recommend you use the buckle type. And a collar should be left on the dog at all times with contact information and rabies tag. If they do get away, make it simple for the person who took responsibility in returning your dog to you quickly and easily. Do not put the collar on too tight and be sure you can put 2 fingers between the dog and the collar. And check the collar frequently when they are puppies to be sure they have not grown out of their collar and slowly strangling.
2) Martingale Dog Collars
Martingale collars, aka limited slip collars or Greyhound collars are used to prevent dogs from slipping out of their collars during a walk on a leash. The collar tightens with a gentle tug of the leash with a safety to keep it from complete closing around the neck of the dog, which can cause airway or neck injuries. They are typically made from nylon or similar material in a variety of colors and designs to suit every dog's personality.
3) Dog Harnesses
Why a harness? Well there are several reasons for harnesses. The harness is constructed to hold the dog at the chest, abdomen and up over the back where you will find one or two loops to attach your leash. Dogs with airway problems, ie Pomeranians tend to have problems with collapsed trachea, should use the harness over a collar. And with new ingenious dog products we can now travel with our dogs in the car / RV / Boats and have them carefully restrained. For larger dogs, the harness is rugged and sometimes padded with sheepskin for comfort and you merely attach the car's seat belt to the harness. For smaller dogs, we have the Auto Booster Seats which are wonderful for traveling with dogs. The Booster seats are held securely in place with the car's seat belt. When you place your harnessed dog in the booster seat there is a short lead attached to the back of the boost seat to attach to their harness. So in case of a sudden stop or even an accident, dogs do not fly around in the car, end up on the floor, nor are they injured from being held by a collar just around the neck. This gives you a great peace of mind and helps you control your dogs while driving.
* Remember never put a dog in the front seat with Airbags. The force is too much for an infant and most of our dogs are even smaller than babies and can cause severe injury, even death.
Harnesses should also be used when dogs are restrained in a stroller or a pet carrier. If your puppy jumps out the risk of injury is high while in a collar. But in a harness they are supported in several areas of the body and if the dog was to jump out, he would just dangle without injury until put back in their carrier / stroller.
4) Rolled Dog Collars
Rolled dog collars are typically made of leather. The collar is thin and works well on dogs with lots of fur as the collar does not part the hair or flatten it down. Rolled Collars also has the more secure buckle clasp and attaching your contact info and rabies tag. If the dog does get out of the yard and the dog catcher picks him up, they will use the contact info & / or tag info to inform you that they have your precious pooch.
5) Head Dog Collars
Head collars or halters look similar to muzzles, except their purpose is very different. Head collars are like a dog harness for the head of the dog. It assists in training a dog to walk on a leash properly, without pulling. If the dog does pull, the halter causes their head to turn which they do not like therefore deterring the dog from pulling. Dogs associate very quickly and this is a valuable tool to teach dogs to walk on a leash with manners. DO NOT use a long lead with this collar as some dogs can back out of the halter altogether and you have a chase on your hands. And NEVER leave a Head Collar on any dog when unattended.
6) Break-away Dog Collars (also for Cats)
These collars are used for everyday use, but have a special safety feature whereas if the collar or clasp gets caught up on something, when the dog or cat pulls the clasp opens and allows the pet to be free. You can still use this collar to walk your dog on a leash. Most of these have two available D-rings for leash attachment. When you walk the dog secure both D-rings and the clasp can not break-away if the dog pulls on the leash.
7) Metal Prong Collars
These dog collars look scary but are quite helpful in teaching larger, stronger or more stubborn dogs to walk on a leash with manners. However they should be used with great caution and a soft tug should do the trick as the dog associates the prongs with the teeth of their pack leader. In the best circumstances, these collars really should be used by trainers or highly experienced dog owners. NEVER leave a dog in a Pronged Collar after the walk. They pose a major hazard of strangulation. So always remove this collar and replace with the everyday collar with contact info and rabies tag.
8) Chain Slip Collars
These dog collars are also known by the name Choke Chain which is exactly what they are capable of doing. These collars are also best used by trainers and used correctly a quick snap tightens the collar to alert the dog to stop pulling. The Choke collar is never supposedly to be completely closed off. And should never be used on a dog with inherited problems with neck, throat or airway. It's best to leave this one to the professionals. Never leave the choke chain on the dog while unattended or tied up with a choke collar on. The everyday collar or harness should be put on the dog with contact info and rabies tag in case dog does manage to get out of yard or home.
I hope this helps everyone to understand the purpose of different dog collars and you have the appropriate collar for your K9 family member.