Collars 101: Getting to Know the Five Types of Collars for Novice Dog Owners
Thu, April 22, 2021

Collars 101: Getting to Know the Five Types of Collars for Novice Dog Owners



All dogs need a collar as it can be used to hang their leash, license, rabies vaccination, and ID, said the Humane Society of the United States, an American non-profit organization focusing on animal protection. There are various types of collars so it’s easy to find one that suits your dog’s personality— even your own. But collars are more than décor and ID as they can be used to train your dog, discourage it from barking, keep fleas away, or protect its injuries. However, not all collars are appropriate for every dog.


The Use of Different E-Collar Types In France (2018)

26% of owners said they used an e-collar (EC) on their dog, according to Sylvia Masson, Isabelle Nigron, Emmanuel Gaultier of Elsevier, a global information analytics business. The types of E-collars they used were BAC (11.9%), EBF (4.5%), and RCC (14.2%). Only 1% of owners used all three types, with 16% using two and the remaining 83% using only one kind of e-collar.

75% of owners acquired their e-collars from the internet (40%) or from a pet/gardening store (35%). Only 9.2% of respondents got their e-collars from veterinarians and trainers. 62.8% considered receiving advice upon purchase. However, when the authors only looked at the delivery of professional information (i.e. veterinarians and trainers), only 28.2% of respondents (20% “Yes my dog trainer and 13% “Yes the shop seller”) received professional advice.

Majority of owners received non-professional advice, with 21.5% answering “Yes, I checked on the internet,” 23.9% saying “Yes a friend who used it,” 13% stating “Yes, the shop seller,” and 37.2% reporting “No, I managed on my own.” 71% of non-EC users used mostly non-aversive training methods unlike 46% of EC users. Only 5% of EC users mostly utilize aversive methods when training their dog unlike 2% of EC non-users. 49% of those who use e-collars said they combined both aversive non-aversive methods when training their dog unlike 27% of respondents not using e-collars.

51.8% of owners who use e-collars said they reported less normal behaviors, unlike owners who did not use e-collars (79.2%). Owners using ECs mentioned much more excitement (27% of dogs) and aggressive behaviors (9.4% of dogs) unlike owners who did not use e-collars, with 7.6% of dogs exhibiting and 3.7% of canines showing aggressive behavior before choosing to but the e-collar.

Dog behavior before EC use influenced the owners’ choice to use an EC, said the authors. If a canine exhibited aggressive or excitement behaviors, then an EC would more likely be used.  76.4% of owners who used an e-collar on their dog said their dog showed normal behaviors after using the collar, showing a significant improvement from the situation before (51.8%), as excessive excitement (7.6%) was reported at a much lower rate than before (27%). 7.8% of owners said their dog received less than five shocks in total and 58% of who used EC said they would recommend it to others.



What Are the Types of Collars?

1.      Martingale

It is designed for dogs with narrow heads like whippets, Greyhounds Saluki, and other sighthounds. It has a metal ring attached at each end of the material, with a separate loop of material passing through the two rings. The leash is attached to a ring on this loop.

2.      Head Collar

Similar to a horse’s halter, one strap of the collar encircles your dog’s neck and sits behind its ears. The other strap of the head collar loops around its muzzle. The leash is attached to a ring at the bottom of the muzzle loop. It is suitable for strong, energetic dogs who tend to jump and pull.

3.      Flat

A standard collar for pet canines, a flat collar consists of a buckle or plastic snap or “quick-release” closure and a ring for hanging ID tags and leash. Flat collars come in different colors and designs.

4.      Choke Chain

Made of metal links, choke chains are made to control your do by tightening its neck. While martingale collars allow you to control how much it tightens, there is no way to control this with choke chains. Hence, using this type of collar may choke or strangle your pet, including injuries to blood vessels in the eyes, injuries to the trachea and esophagus, and death. Choke chains are aversive collars.

5.      Shock Collars

Electric current passes through metal contact points to give a signal to your dog. Electric currents range from a painful shock to a mild tickling sensation. Shock collars are the least humane and most controversial training device, as there is a higher chance of abuse or misuse. Shock collars can be used to deliver shocks to punish your dog or the shocks can be purely timed. They are also considered as aversive collars.




Why Are Shock Collars Inhumane?

Proponents of shock collars said they are effective, painful training methods, reported Elizabeth Buff of One Green Planet, a website that guides people in making conscious choices that help other individuals, animals, and the planet. However, the problem with using shock collars is that it suppresses your dog’s behavior rather than addressing its root cause. An electric shock may temporarily stop your dog from barking, but the underlying reasons for said behavior are not tackled. Dogs cannot verbally express themselves so they have to bark and jump to communicate with humans.

If your dog excessively barks, it may be trying to tell you something. Maybe your pooch is bored, lonely, or anxious. If you use shock collars to stop it from barking, you are only ignoring the aforementioned issues. E-collars also cause extreme fear, anxiety, and stress. Even aggression is something to be concerned about as many breeds react to the shock by lashing out with those around them. Your dog may also associate being shocked with you— the controller of the shock collar. E-collars can erode the bond between you and your dog.


What’s a Better Way to Train Your Dog?

Many respected dog organizations and veterinarians condemn the use of shock collars, perceiving them as unnecessary and inhumane. It is better to use positive reinforcement to deal with your dog’s underlying issues and teach it to rectify those behaviors. That way, your dog will start to exhibit good behavior without jeopardizing its health and welfare.


Collars range from martingale to aversive collars like e-collars. E-collars do not address the root cause of a dog’s bad behavior, unfortunately. E-collars do more harm than good as many breeds tend to lash out when shocked. Positive reinforcement should be used to correct a dog’s bad behavior while ensuring its well-being.