The basic dog training collar goes by many names, including choke collar, choke chain, training collar, correction collar and slip collar. These training collars are among the most popular and most commonly used tools with both amateur and professional dog trainers.
While a training collar is an effective tool, like any tool it must be used properly in order to be effective for you and safe for the dog. Among the most important considerations when using a training collar are:
- How the collar fits the dog. It is essential that the training collar be properly fitted to the dog. A properly fitted training collar is easier to use and safer for the dog.
- Putting the training collar on properly. There is a right way and a wrong way to fit a training collar, and putting it on wrong will make it both ineffective and potentially dangerous.
- Using the collar properly. A training collar should be used as a sharp reminder to the dog, not as punishment. It is important that constant pressure be avoided when using a training collar.
- The weight of the chain and the size of the links on the training collar. It is important that the weight of the chain be appropriate to the size and weight of the dog.
- The placement of the collar on the dog. It is important to properly place the collar on the dog.
The importance of a properly fitted training collar
Determining if the training collar is the right size is relatively easy. The ideal size training collar should fit snugly, yet comfortably over the dog’s head. It is important that the training collar not fit too tightly, but it should not be too loose either. A training collar that is too tight will be too hard to put on and off. On the other hand, a training collar that is too loose can accidentally fall off of the dog’s head when it lowers its head.
It is also important to know that a training collar that is too long for the dog requires a great deal of finesse to use properly. A collar that is too long can still be used, but it will require more skill on the part of the handler.
Properly sizing and measuring the dog for a training collar
It is best to measure the dog’s neck with a tape measure, then add 2 to 3 inches to that measurement. So if your dog has a neck 12” in diameter, you would want to buy a training collar that is 14” in length. Chain slip collars are generally sized in two inch increments.
Fitting the collar properly
When fitting a training collar, the part of the chain which is connected to the leash should be on the top of the dog’s neck. With this type of arrangement, the collar releases the instant the leash is loosened. Training collars work by making the collar tight and loose in a fast manner. Tightening the collar is the first part of the correction, and making it loose is the second part of the correction.
If the part of the training collar that is attached to the leash is not on the top of the dog’s neck, the collar can still be made tight, but it will not release back to a loose state easily. This constant pressure on the dog’s neck initiates a counter response on the part of the animal, and the dog will quickly learn to pull and strain against the leash.
Finally, it is important to purchase a training collar that is well made and strong. Buying a high quality training collar, slip collar or choke collar is vital to the safety of yourself and your dog.
If the worst happens, and your dog’s training collar does break, it is important not to panic. Most dogs will be unaware that they have broken the collar, at least for a few minutes. In most cases, if you act as if the leash is still connected, you can probably get control of your dog back quickly.
When securing a loose dog, the best strategy is to make a quick slip lead by running the snap on the leash through its handle and then slipping it over the dog’s head. It may not be the best arrangement, but it will certainly do in a pinch.