Features of the Best Pet Training Collars

Pet training collars can be useful tools when training your dog. However, it's important to remember not to rely on them and focus on training no matter which collar you choose.

No-Slip Collars

The most important feature of a training collar is that your dog can't slip out of it during training. Every type of training requires having a collar on your dog, especially before your dog is reliably recalled trained, so purchase a collar that fits your dog properly.

The best of these collars is the no-slip collar, also referred to as a martingale or greyhound collar because they were originally designed to stay on every dog, even a greyhound. These collars tighten evenly around the dog's neck when they pull, preventing them from pulling out if sized properly. Because they tighten evenly, they don't put excess pressure on the dog's trachea.

Avoid Choking Collars

Dogs can learn to pull on any type of equipment, including choke chains and prong collars. Their necks continue to get stronger so the corrections must get stronger to continue to be effective. To avoid this, don't choose a collar that will be aversive to your dog. Because your dog will continue to pull, these collars can do trachea damage that will make it much more difficult for your dog to breathe later in life, causing that hacking sound when they pull.

Aversive Collars

When discussing training collars, citronella and electronic collars must be mentioned. However, these are not ideal choices because they don't teach your dog the proper behavior, just punish them for going with their instincts. This can be very stressful for your dog, not to mention cause aggression, as discovered in a recent study.

Electronic collars are illegal in many other countries and can be painful and dangerous to your dog. Before selecting this collar, try it on yourself and don't set it to any level higher than you can tolerate.

New collars on the market claim to reduce barking with a sound that can't be detected by humans. However, some can be detected by humans and some can be set off by the sound of neighborhood barking, which could confuse and stress your dog.

Of all these collars, citronella is the least aversive as it shoots your dog in the face with a liquid, much like a spray bottle to discourage barking. Again, this isn't ideal and shouldn't be used on fearful dogs.

Additional Equipment

The best training collars on the market right now aren't actually collars. Easy Walk and Sporn harnesses are the most effective anti-pulling devices because they hook in the front, against your dog's natural inclination to pull against the pressure. Since this places pressure on their chest, instead of their back or neck, it often causes them to slow rather than pull.

Gentle leaders and haltis can be placed on the dog's face, much like a horse halter. Though dogs fight against this initially, it can reduce pulling and calm stressed dogs by working with pressure points much like a mother dog would use to calm her puppy.

However, it's important to remember that none of these tools can substitute for an effective training program that teaches your dog not only what you don't want him to do but also what you would prefer that he do instead.