Leather buckle collar with traditional buckle. A collar is a piece of material put around the neck of a dog for control, identification, or other purposes. Identification tags and medical information is often placed on collars. Collars are also useful for controlling the dog, as they provide a handle for grabbing.
Buckle collars, also called flat collars, are usually nylon or leather with a buckle similar to a belt buckle or a quick-release buckle, either of which holds the collar loosely around the dog's neck. Usually identification is attached to such a collar; it also comes with a loop to which a leash can be fastened.
Nylon quick-release buckle collar with identification and medical tags. Flea collars are impregnated with chemicals that repel fleas. They are usually a supplementary collar, worn in addition to the conventional buckle collar. An Elizabethan collar, shaped like a truncated cone, is worn by a pet, usually a cat or dog, to prevent it scratching a wound on its head or neck or licking a wound or infection on its body.
Several types of collars are used for dog training:
Flat collars: Many dogs are trained on leash using a buckle or quick-release collar.
Slip collar, showing how the chain pulls through the loop at one end. Slip chain (also called choke chain, slip collar, or choke collar) is a length of chain or nylon rope with rings at either end such that the collar can be formed into a loop around the animal's neck that slips (adjusts) tighter when pulled and slips looser when tension is released. Used for training if the dog is not responsive on a buckle collar; provides some additional control and prevents a wild dog from being able to thrash its way out of a looser collar. It can also, when pulled hard enough, tighten around the neck in a way that prevents airflow. When not used properly, the slip collar will actually cause a dog to pull, rather than inhibit it from doing so. Properly used, the slip collar is quickly popped and released as a firm reminder to the dog to pay attention; it is not pulled tight and held.
Prong collar; the looped chain limits how tightly the collar can pull in the same way that a Martingale functions. Prong collar (also called pinch collar) is a series of chain links with open ends turned towards the dog's neck so that, when the collar is tightened, it pinches the naturally loose skin around the dog's neck. When properly adjusted and used, it startles the dog and gives a sharp correction, but it is very difficult if not impossible to actually puncture the skin. And while it looks painful, it's actually less harmful to the dog than a slip or choke collar. Opponents argue that pain is never a good default way in which to train animals. Some dogs are nearly oblivious to leash corrections of any kind, including the prong collar, but the prong collar might make such dogs pay more attention than other collar types. The advantage of the prong collar over the choke collar is that the circumference is limited so that it is impossible to compress the animal's throat. Another advantage is that, like with the Martingale collar (below), any pressure on the dog's neck is spread out over a larger area than with most buckle collars, and with all choke chains.
Martingale collars have a longer section usually made of leather, chain, or nylon, joined through loops by a circle of chain or leather to which the leash is fastened; pulling on the leash tightens the collar, but the wide section both prevents the chain from tangling in a dog's coat and prevents the collar from being pulled tightly enough to cut off the dog's airway. It also spreads pressure on the dog's neck over a larger area.
Stud collar is fitted with sharp points and metal studs that prevent another animal from biting the neck. While such a collar may appear brutal, it is actually the best collar for a milder mannered or older animal interacting with its more aggressive fellows.
The halter-style collar controls the dog's head but does not restrict its ability to pant, drink, or grasp objects.Halter collar, such as those sold under the brand names Haltie or Gentle Leader; like a halter on a horse, this collar fastens around the back of the neck and over the top of the muzzle, giving more control over a dog's direction and the intensity of pulling on a leash than collars that fit strictly around the neck. Pressure on this type of collar pulls the dog's head towards the handler. Proponents of the head halter describe it as "scientific", in that it supposedly mimics the way higher-ranking wolf shows dominance by grabbing a lower-ranking pack member around the snout with his jaws. Opponents cite new research on wild wolves, which indicates that there is no hierarchical structure in a wild wolf pack, meaning that there are no "ranks" among pack members. This research also shows that dominance displays are uncommon, and that no wild wolf has ever been observed displaying snout-grabbing behavior as a means of discipline, let alone teaching the other wolf to walk on a leash. Opponents of the head halter also cite the fact that most dogs find it unnatural and uncomfortable. And though it's uncommon, some dogs have even had their snouts injured by a halter that dug too deeply into their skin.