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A Word on Collars

Our recent blog on leash training mentioned several types of collars. They include but are certainly not limited to harnesses, slip leashes, martingale collars, and prong collars. Behavior modification collars with sound, vibration, and static correction are also an option.

On my Aussies, Poodles, and Aussiedoodles, I may use a harness, a slip leash, a martingale collar, or a behavior modification collar, depending on the dog, age, and personality. The type of collar you use depends on your dog's breed, personality, and your chosen training technique.

Training Collars

A slip leash is a leash and collar in one piece of material or rope of about 4 to 5 feet long. There is a handle on one end and an expandable loop on the other end. The loop is slipped over the dog’s head. The collar or loop around the dog’s neck fits like a normal collar--not too loose and not too tight. However, if the dog pulls ahead of you or jerks away, it will automatically tighten. The collar should automatically loosen when the dog quits pulling and comes back to your side.

A slip leash can be a great training tool or something to use on the way into or out of the vet’s office or the groomer, where they’ll be taking off the dog’s collar anyway.

A martingale collar is similar in that it tightens and loosens depending on the tension being placed on the collar. The fabric is just like a leash and, usually, there isn’t a buckle (there are some that do have a plastic buckle). It slides over the dog’s head and is meant to sit high on the neck when training.

A prong collar is a metal collar with teeth that will also tighten when pressure is applied. These are usually used on stronger, bigger, or thicker-necked dogs like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, or German Shepherds. They sometimes come with rubber tips on the prongs. Aussies, Poodles, and Aussiedoodles do not need a prong collar.

Behavior modification collars offer three types of correction. A tone or beep, vibration, and static correction. The static correction is like a mild buzz or shock. The only brand I use and recommend is called Sport Dog. These collars are very useful and effective when used correctly. Riley and I share more information on a behavior modification collar in this video.

It’s important to note that I do not keep any of the “training” collars on my dogs throughout the day. They are only used while working or training.

Everyday Collars

Everyday collars left on should have a quick release or break-away type feature for safety. If your pup’s collar gets stuck or caught on something, it could kill your dog if the collar doesn’t break from the force placed on it. So, the quick release is a good thing in an emergency!

Harnesses are versatile in that they can be used in everyday situations and when training. While you don’t want to keep a harness on your dog, it can be easily and quickly placed on the dog when needed. Use a bigger harness for bigger or rougher dogs and a thinner, smaller harness for smaller dogs or those who listen well.

Every dog is different and can react differently to any training tool. We want to find and use the least aggressive tools that will still produce results. The bottom line is to assess your dog and use what will work best, giving you control while still being comfortable for the dog. Experiment with what works best for you and your dog. Let us know how it goes!

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