7 types of Dog Collars And Their Uses

Wag Wiki, last updated 17th, Jun 2014, Adnan Khan

A common concerning question for novice pet owners is how to restrain your dog. Over the past century or so, pet related products have seen so much innovation that it has unintentionally caused more concern and dilemma for whoever gets a puppy. The topic of picking the right leash or collar has been subject to intense debates amongst the dog owners community.

Not only owners but professionals like trainers, groomers vets, and shop owners all have their own personal opinions on what collars to use. And you cannot blame them for having personal preferences, as the collars and leashes vary in terms of suitability across all breeds, ages and genders of dogs. Of late, there have been social advocates erupting across the internet who are coming together and voicing their concerns over certain collars and leashes. It is not surprising that almost every dog owner must have come across articles and comments about how Choke chain, Prong collars and E-collars are inhumane and evil. To make their claim stronger they use highly emotion invoking stories of pictures of abused animals for owners to be riddled by fear over certain types of tools. In truth, all types of collars and leashes have been invented by man for certain purposes. And each of these tools, if fallen in the wrong hands; can induce pain discomfort and even fatalities. On a neutral front, there is no collar safer than the other. I can personally use prong collars and choke chains in the most humane way possible to disprove propaganda. On the other hand, even a diamond studded flat-collar that you got custom built for your dog spending exorbitant amounts of money can be potentially dangerous in case they are able to choke on the fancy attachments.

1. Flat collar

This type is the most widely used collar amongst the dog owners as they are most readily available and seem most comfortable for the dog to wear. their material ranges from nylon, leather and cloth.

Pro: This is the most advisable collar for tie-outs (tying a dog for a short duration) because it has the least chance for a dog to hurt himself by mistake.
Con: A common error that dog owners make is letting their dog wear this for extremely long durations of times upto weeks and some even forever. This can potentially cause skin conditions in their dogs and they can become indifferent to being controlled with a flat collar.

2. Martingale

/martingaleA hybrid type dog collar where most of the collar is of flat material like leather or nylon but the top has 3 metal rings which should form two loops, one of which is for the dogs neck and the other tightens and loosens when necessary.

Pro: This collar was created for slim neck dogs like Greyhounds and Whippets to prevent their heads from slipping out. Eventually many dog owners started using them to outsmart their escape artists.
Con: Most humans find it difficult to use this collar effectively for training.

3. Choke/ slip collar

chock chainThis type of collar is an interesting concept where it tightens when one end is pulled either by the dog or by the owner and loosens when both owners and dog are relaxed. They come in two main materials; one is a chain-linked choker used by a lot of trainer who believe in old-school techniques of force-based training. The other type, also known as slip collar is made of leather, nylon or other softer material.

Pro: Slip collars are used by newer handlers and trainers and highly preferred in the show ring. Choke chain is used for compulsive pullers.
Con: Can be fatal if not used properly or with negligence.

4. Prong Collar

prong collarThis one of the most controversial collars on the list here. It is similar to a martingale except the main loop that goes around the neck is made of prongs, which when pulled poke the dog, somewhat stimulating a bite.

Pro: Useful for severely aggressive dogs, hyperactive dogs and heavy pullers.
Con: Misused in Dog Fights by opening up the prongs to cause needle-like pain.

5. Head Halter

Head halterOne of my personal favourites, the Head Halter is a type of collar which is used for controlling the dogs skull instead of the neck. Highly advisable for owners whose giant dogs are potentially stronger than them at times.

Pro: Uses the dogs own momentum to restrain him. Closes the mouth when necessary, otherwise keeps relaxed. Con: Resembles a muzzle which sometimes puts off observers and scares people of a dog with a Halti.



6. Body Harness

The harness was initially devised for working dogs like Huskies or Rottweilers whose job was to pull carts or sleds across long distances.

Pro: Advisable for dogs who might be harmed with neck collars like Pugs, Greyhounds, Pomeranians etc.
Con: Instigates a dog to pull a lot more, so they are counter-productive when trying to walk big dogs.

7. Electronic collar

E-collarThis is again a highly misunderstood collar like the Choke or Prong collars. The mechanism of this collar is transmitting a vibration or very low electrical pulse using a remote at the appropriate stage as a corrective stimulus.

Pro: No need for a leash while using this collar.
Con: Can be misused with the higher electrical impulse to cause unnecessary trauma to the dog.


It is very easy for dog owners and professionals to be against any or few of the above collar-types without prior knowledge of what purpose or utility each of these collars uniquely serve. If the links of a prong collar are opened they can be used for pain-inducing purposes as they usually are by dog-fighting criminals and other punishment-based trainers. Similarly if a dog is tied somewhere with a choker or if the choke chain is used in reverse, the dog can certainly asphyxiated.

Hence, the best advice for a concerned dog owner is to do research upon their dogs breed and temperament before opting in for any particular collar. And no collar is meant to be on the dogs neck permanently. When not needed, the collars should be removed from the dog like when asleep and indoors.

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