Best Dog Training Collar Buyer’s Guide

Few things are more exciting than bringing home a new puppy for the first time. But, once that initial excitement wears off, it’s time to get down to the business of training your puppy. Without proper training, you and your new puppy are in for plenty of headaches.

It’s important to keep in mind that the proper dog collar plays a significant role in leash training your puppy and training your puppy in general. Let’s take a closer look at some of the considerations you’ll want to make as you decide which dog training collar is best for you and your new puppy.

dog training collars

Types of Dog Training Collars

When it comes to puppy collars, there are several different options that you may find suitable for your needs. Some of the most popular collar styles for training purposes include flat and rolled collars, martingale dog collars, pinch collars and remote training and shock collars. Another popular model is the dog choke collar.

Flat and Rolled Collars

These two are among the most popular collar styles on the market. However, one is going to be more useful than the other when it comes to training your dog.

Flat collars are typically made from leather or fabric, and they’re similar in design to the belt we all wear to keep our pants up. Flat collars are also commonly known as buckle collars. These types of collars are useful for training and are adjustable as your puppy grows. That way, you’ll be able to get more use out of your collar before replacing it.

Rolled collars are similar to flat collars. But, they aren’t made from a flat piece of leather or fabric. Instead, rolled collars are manufactured from a rolled piece of fabric or leather that’s thinner than a flat collar. These collars are popular with owners of long-haired breeds. While they're a great option for dog's who have already been leash trained, they may not be the best choice for dog's who haven't been leash trained yet.

Choke Chains

Choke chains are made from a length of chain with a ring at either end. When slipped around a dog’s neck, the choke chain will constrict around the dog’s neck if they’re engaging in any unwanted behavior. These have always been popular large dog collars. These types of chains can be dangerous and cause permanent damage to a dog’s esophagus. So, it’s probably best to look elsewhere when searching for a training collar.

Martingale Collars

Martingale dog collars were designed for Sighthounds because they typically have wider necks than heads and as a result, they’re able to slip out of a collar more easily. With a Martingale collar, the collar tightens as the dog tries to pull, which tightens the collar. They’re also known as humane choke collars, and they’re among the most popular dog training collars.

Pinch Collars

Pinch collars, also known as prong collars have gotten a bit of a bad rap because of the way they look. Pinch collars are typically made of metal and feature rounded metal prongs throughout the inside of the collar. If you aren’t familiar with pinch collars, they may look barbaric to you.

However, pinch collars can be an efficient and humane way to train your dog, especially if they have problems walking properly on a leash. With a pinch collar, a quick jerk of the leash from the owner will cause the prongs to pinch the dog’s neck for a brief moment. This sensation lets the dog know that they must quickly correct their behavior, and helps to reinforce positive behavior.

Shock Collars

Shock collars are remote dog training collars that do not have the ability to correct negative behaviors with a vibration or audible noise. When the owner presses the remote, the dog receives a shock to let them know the behavior they’re engaging in is unacceptable.

Remote Dog Training Collars

Remote trainers are typically flat collars that include an electrical transmitter with small prongs on it that make contact with your dog’s neck. These collars also include a remote control for the owner. They are some of the most popular training collars for dogs.

How Do Remote Dog Trainers Work?

When the dog engages in unwanted behavior, the owner can press a button on the remote control which delivers a small shock, vibration, or an audible noise.

That stimulus helps to reinforce positive behaviors and allows you to extend your dog’s training to off the leash as well as on it.

Training Your Dog with A Remote Trainer

To train your dog with an electric dog collar, simply attach the collar to their neck. Make sure the collar isn’t so tight that it’s uncomfortable for your dog. But, you’ll want to make sure that the collar is tight enough so that the prongs are making contact with the dog’s neck. Once you fit the collar to your dog, you can choose the best type of stimulation for training your dog.

Choosing the Best Stimulation Type For Your Dog

Many remote trainers possess four different stimulation types for training your dog. The type that’s best for you will depend on what you’re most comfortable with as well as what your dog responds best to.

Vibration

This type of stimulation will cause the dog’s collar to vibrate, which is perceived by the dog as an unpleasant sensation.

Static

Static stimulation provides your dog with a gentle electrical sensation when they’re engaged in an unwanted behavior. For years, this was referred to as a “shock,” but because of the negative connotation associated with that term, many of the best dog shock collar manufacturers have changed the terminology.

Ultrasonic

Ultrasonic stimulation provides your dog with an unpleasant tone when they engage in an unwanted behavior. These types of collars are often used to curb problem barking.

Spray

Spray collars release a short spray of liquid onto your dog when they engage in an unwanted behavior. These types of collars don’t use more drastic correction methods such as static or ultrasound. But, this type of correction may not be effective on all dogs.

Alternatives to A Collar

While dog collars are typically the most popular way to restrain a dog, they aren’t the only way. Sometimes the best dog collars may not even be collars at all. There are some alternative options that you may find effective, as well.

Head Halters

These devices provide more control than a traditional collar and fit similarly to a halter on a horse. However, many believe that this is an inhumane way of training a dog and misuse can result in serious damage to the dog’s jaw.

Freedom Harness

The Freedom Harness is a no pull dog harness that’s designed to be safer and more effective than traditional collars. With the freedom harness, pulling on the leash will distribute the force across the dog’s chest instead of their neck. This gives the owner more control and is also more comfortable for your pet. Many believe this to be the best dog harness.

Back-Clip Harness

This style of harness is similar to a Freedom Harness. These harnesses also distribute force over the dog’s chest instead of their neck. The leash clips onto the harness behind their back. The negative with this style of harness is that it will allow your dog to pull forward as you walk them, which is a behavior you’ll want to avoid.

Front-Clip Harness

The only difference between this style of harness and the back-clip style is that the leash clips onto the harness in front of the dog, not behind them. A front-clip harness provides the same support for other harness styles. However, it allows the owner to teach the dog how to walk on a leash properly. Whether you’re looking for a small dog harness or a large dog harness, the front-clip variety may be well suited for you.

Types of Leashes for Pet Dogs

Once you’ve selected the best collar for you and your new dog, you’ll also want to select a leash. Dog leashes fall into two main categories.

Standard Leash

Standard leashes are usually made from fabric or leather and are available in a wide range of lengths. These are the most popular kind of leashes

Retractable Leash

Retractable leashes feature a thin cord, usually 25’-50’ in length that's operated by a spring-loaded device housed within a plastic case. With the press of a button, the leash will extend and allow the dog to roam freely. The owner can also stop the leash from extending further as well. This style of leash is very popular with dog owners who suffer from mobility problems and cannot effectively walk their dog on their own.

For more tips about dog leashes and leash training, check out our How to Leash Train a Puppy page.

What Training Tool Is Right for You and Your Dog?

The best training tool for you will depend largely on how well your dog responds to training. For some dogs, negative reinforcement, such as with a remote trainer is more effective. For other dogs, clicker training is more effective.

The difference between the two is that clicker training reinforces positive behavior while remote training is designed to deter negative behavior. Giving your dog a tiny treat each time the dog performs a positive behavior would be an example of clicker training. On the other hand, giving your dog a slight shock each time they perform a negative behavior is an example of remote training. If you’re looking for the best dog training collars, reviews may be a good thing for you to check out.

FAQS

Are dog bark collars humane?

Yes, these collars are humane when used as intended. However, while they may reduce barking, they do not reduce the environmental stresses that are causing your dog to bark. As a result, they may not be the most effective way to train a dog with a barking problem.

Are collars bad for dogs?

No! Collars are necessary for all dogs, and when used properly they shouldn’t present any negative reactions from your dog. If your dog is bothered by his collar, consider using a different collar.

How much should you spend on a dog training collar?

The amount you spend will depend largely on your budget. For some people, money is no object when it comes to training their dog. Those people may consider more expensive collars that can run into the hundreds of dollars. But, you can train a dog equally well with far less expensive methods if you wish.

How much range do you need in a remote training collar?

The range you’ll need will depend in large part on the space you have to train your dog in as well as what you’d like to train them to do. Let’s say you’re training your dog to hunt; you’ll want a remote collar with an extremely long range so you can reinforce the behaviors that will be necessary at longer distances in the woods.

What training do I need to use a remote training collar?

Remote training collars are easy to use and require very little training besides a thorough understanding of the collars features.

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