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Dog Training Collars Explained: What You Need To Know

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

Happy Dalmatian dog with bright orange collar panting and enjoying the fresh air at beach.
Dog Training Collars

Dog training collars can be a great tool for dog owners, but they are not always the perfect solution. As a new pet owner, it can be challenging knowing where to start when it comes to them.

In this blog, our CanineJulz team will break down:

  • The different types of dog training collars

  • What they're used for

  • If they really are the right answer for training your pup

We'll also talk about when it may be appropriate to use specific collars- so read on!

Table of Contents

  1. Dog Training Collars: What To Know Beforehand

  2. Our Philosophy On Dog Collars

  3. The Different Types of Dog Training Collars

  4. Shock, Electronic, and E-Collars

  5. Buckle Collars

  6. Break-Away Collars

  7. Choke Chain or Slip Collars

  8. Head Collars

  9. Limited Slip Collars

  10. Prong Collars

  11. Martingale Collars

  12. Body Harnesses: Not Dog Training Collars At All

  13. Conclusion

People Also Ask

Are shock collars good for training dogs?

Shock collars used in the proper way with the help and guidance of a professional can prove to be more successful than other dog training methods.

While training that includes punishment tools like shock collars can teach your pup boundaries, studies show that starting off with relationship-based, positive training is essential.

Do vibration collars hurt dogs?

The short answer: No. Vibration dog training collars are designed to send a little buzz to your pup’s neck without causing pain or harm.

They do not shock your pet.

What can I use instead of a shock collar?

There are multiple alternatives to training your dog without shock collars:

  • Use a clicker

  • Reward correct behavior with treats

  • Meet good behavior with praise

  • Give them plenty of playtime and exercise

  • Enroll in obedience training

  • Create a safe space in your home using a crate

  • Leave the meditation music on while you’re gone

Do harnesses stop dogs from pulling?

Dog harnesses can help you have more control while you walk your pup and improve his or her leash skills as well.

There are dog harnesses designed to reduce pulling. By using a non-pull harness, you can make your walks with your dog more enjoyable and also keep them from hurting themselves.

Do you leave dog collar on all the time?

From a practical and safe point of view, we don't recommend leaving any type of dog training collar on your pup all the time.

Doing so could damage his or her skin on their neck and fur.

Dog Training Collars: What To Know Beforehand

Before discussing dog collars in more detail, there is one very important thing to understand.

Any collar, regardless of make or type, can hurt your pup when used improperly.

Whether it be a harness or vibration collar, an inexperienced trainer or overly-passionate owner can use techniques that result in injury.

If you do choose to use a dog collar, it needs to be fitted in a way that won't create:

  • Harm

  • Injury

  • Pain

Our Philosophy On Dog Collars

We DO NOT recommend leaving a collar on your dog when he or she is unattended. This is unnecessary and unsafe.

If you’re worried about your pup running away, we DO recommend getting them microchipped instead.

The Different Types of Dog Training Collars

When it comes to training pups with collars, there is no one size fits all type of approach. Just like people, every dog is unique.

While many pet owners have had successful training with collars, many others have not.

This is why it’s vital for you to understand:

  • What dog collars can do

  • What they can’t

  • Define the differences between each type

Shock, Electronic, and E-Collars

Also known as E-collars, these electronic devices give an electrical stimulation causing discomfort or pain to your pup when they need correcting.

In our experience, these types of collars only seem to reduce healthy self-confidence and boost confusion.

Many other professionals, such as:

  • Well-trained handlers

  • Obedience trainers

  • Seasoned veterinarians

Also agree and don’t encourage the use of shock collars.

Julie and our team have trained countless pups thought to be difficult. We can assure you that lots of love, patience, and understanding can go a long way.

Buckle Collars

Buckle collars are just that; collars that fasten around your dog’s neck with a buckle.

They’re usually made of:

  • Nylon

  • Leather

  • Other synthetic materials

These types of collars can come rolled or flat.

While they’re adjustable, they won’t tighten on your pup’s neck once fastened. Both rolled leather and nylon buckle collars have their pros and cons.

Because nylon material buckle collars don’t tighten, they’re often recommended for growing puppies. While a little more pricey, rolled leather buckle collars may provide a more comfortable fit.

Break-Away Collars

Break-away collars are a type of unique quick-release collar that can detach when a strong pull is placed on it.

However, a break-away collar won’t unfasten when attached to a leash.

Choke Chain or Slip Collars

The choke chain is a length of 1 to 2 inches with two rings at the end. It wraps around your dog's neck just under the ears. The ring connecting to the leash doesn't go under your dog's neck but over the front.

Slip collars or choke chains have 2 rings:

  1. The dead ring

  2. The live ring

When the dead ring is attached to your dog’s leash, it doesn’t tighten on his or her neck.

When the live ring is attached to the leash, the chain adjusts (slips) tighter when pulled and loosens when released.

Julie and the rest of our CanineJulz team agree that you should never leave this type of collar on your unattended pup.

Head Collars

Head collars are designed similarly to halter’s used for horses. They’re typically branded as “humane and gentle” to pet owners.

Halters for horses rest on the bridge of the nose, while dog head collars rest just below the eyes.

These types of collars sit on the muzzle, which is very sensitive and dogs use to:

  • Communicate

  • Play and eat

  • Defend themselves

Many pups are uncomfortable with head collars, which is understandable.

Any canine, being a natural predator, would feel vulnerable by having his or her muzzle covered.

Head collars (halters) aren’t muzzles.

Your pup can still:

  • Eat

  • Drink

  • Bark and bite

Limited Slip Collars

Specially designed to stop tightening before they can choke or constrict, limited slip collars are made to tighten around your pup’s neck safely.

They’re recommended for dogs that often slip out of their collars.

Prong Collars

Prong collars, also known as Pinch collars mistakenly, are also used the same as a choke collar.

While they’re also designed to correct your dog, prong collars are typically:

  • Safer

  • Gentler

  • Sturdier

These types of collars are made up of chain links with open ends turned towards your pup’s neck.

The design helps prevent your dog from pulling by applying pressure while also preventing the prongs from pinching your dog’s skin.

Martingale Collars

While similar to limited slip collars, Martingale collars don’t fasten with a buckle. They can be used for any breed of pup.

Their non-slip features make them a standard of safety at animal shelters and kennels.

Martingale collars are commonly recommended for:

  • Seeing-eye dogs

  • Mobility assistance dogs

  • Other service dogs

These types of dog training collars have 2 loops:

  1. Smaller loops know as the “control loop”

  2. Larger loops tightened by the smaller loops

Just like with prong collars, martingales apply even pressure and have limited constriction on your pup’s neck.

Body Harnesses: Not Dog Training Collars At All

A body harness for a dog is not a collar. It’s not uncommon for pet owners to use it as one to prevent their dogs from pulling on their leash.

This is not the proper way to use a body harness, especially considering that sled dogs use harnesses to pull:

  • People

  • Supplies

  • Luggage

And other things across long distances through tough weather and terrain.

The bottom line is body harnesses aren’t the best option if you’re a pet owner looking to train your dog to stop pulling.

However, they’re often a good solution than collars for small or toy breeds for training and walking purposes.


With all the dog training collars available, it can be hard to know which one is best or if you need one at all.

As a professional and ABC licensed dog trainer, Julie has a lot of experience and knowledge with collars. She can help guide you while also encouraging lasting happiness and confidence in your pup.

Are you ready to become an expert on dog training collars?

Contact our CanineJulz team to get started today!

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