The collar aisle at your local pet supply store is full of colorful options, but not all of them are right for training. Choosing the correct collar for your dog can lead to safer, more enjoyable walks and training sessions for you both.
While a plain old flat collar is ideal for a dog who can walk calmly on leash, sometimes, you need a little extra help. Training collars can be useful tools to get you there, especially if used alongside positive reinforcement training methods. Read on to discover some of the best training collars (and harnesses) available.
Also known as a “limited-slip collar,” the martingale collar is designed to constrict if a dog pulls, preventing them from backing out of their collar. Martingales are recommended for long-necked dogs like Greyhounds, but they can also be useful training aides for shy dogs who may attempt to back out of their collar on walks.
2. Head Collar
One of the most popular walking assistants around, the Gentle Leader head collar is designed to stop excessive leash-pulling and prevent lunging and jumping. The Gentle Leader works like a horse halter, fitting around the dog’s snout and behind her ears.
Used correctly, a head harness gently redirects your dog’s head, preventing them from pulling and helping them stay calm. It’s important to have a head collar fitted correctly, and to never jerk or pull the leash when in use.
Similar to a head collar, a no-pull harness will redirect your dog when they pull, applying gentle pressure to prevent them from pulling forward with their full weight.
This style of harness offers extra padding and surface area to distribute pressure evenly, helping prevent back and neck strain. The Ruffwear Front-Range harness includes two leash attachment points: an aluminum V-ring on the dog’s back for everyday walks, and reinforced webbing on the dog’s chest for training or additional control.
This comfortable, adjustable harness is a good choice to transition from training to regular walks, particularly for short-necked or flat-faced dogs.
Shock, prong, choke, and other correction-based collars can be more harmful than helpful in training your dog, instilling fear and in some cases even increasing problem behaviors. Citronella spray collars are a more humane alternative to corrective collars of yore, and can be a godsend for dogs with serious barking habits. This version from JK TECH features a rechargeable battery.
Note: consult a trainer and be sure to follow all directions for using a citronella collar correctly.
6. Flat Collar
The best training comes from positive reinforcement, not a specific tool. Plain old reliable flat collars, used in conjunction with diligent and consistent obedience training, work best for most dogs. As a bonus, you can get flat collars in an endless array of colors and patterns!
Whatever type of training collar you choose, remember that proper training is the most effective, long-lasting way to prevent unwanted behaviors. Consult a professional for help teaching your dog to walk on leash.