What are the best dog collars? Sooner or later, many concerned and loving dog owners find themselves asking this question. I'm sure inquiring minds ponder on to when and why did we start putting collars on dogs? And while we're pondering, just when did dogs become our best friend?
The popular opinion that dog domestication happened in China or the middle east is false. Thanks to the efforts of Finland native Olaf Thalmann's DNA research, it's proven dog domestication occurred in Europe.
The belief is wild dogs, or wolves, began following nomadic tribes for scraps of food. In return, the wild dogs would provide a type of alarm system alerting the tribe of approaching wild animals or enemies. That explains the best friend moniker.
Kings, Queens, and Pharaohs initiated the practice of putting collars on dogs. It was done to prove ownership as well as another way of displaying their bling.
It was in Ancient Greece where dog collars became gruesomely practical. Farmers created spiked dog collars as a way of protecting their dog's throat from being ripped out by wolves.
Ok, that was probably more than you really wanted to know, but it wouldn't be a class without some history. On that note, let's move on to what are the best dog collars for today's dogs.
Class of 2019 Best Dog Collars
It's appropriate to say best dog collars (plural) because most likely your dog will need more than one collar. Choosing a collar requires more than picking a color and fabric.
Your choice of collars should be based on your dog's behavior while tethered to a leash when going for a walk. The goal is to have a calm, enjoyable, loose-leash walk with your dog.
Also, collars with identification are your pets' fastest ticket back to you should you become separated.
Let's take a look at our superlatives for the class of 2019 best dog collars.
If your dog is properly leash trained, is obedient, and does not pull, you may consider a flat collar as one of the best dog collars for your dog.
Flat collars are by far the most popular choice when it comes to an everyday dog collar. They come with a buckle or plastic quick-release closure and a ring for attaching identification tags and leashes.
They're available in a multitude of colors, pattern choices, and materials. If you have a princess-like dog, these collars come with bling, as well!
A flat collar should fit comfortably snug on your dog's neck. Not snug enough to choke your dog nor loose enough for your dog to wiggle it off. The rule of thumb says properly sized collars will allow you to put two fingers between the collar and your dog.
There are, however, reasons not to use a flat collar. If your dog likes to play rough, especially with other dogs, they could get their mouth caught in the collar, causing panic and potential suffocation. Dogs that play rough should wear collars with a quick release or break-away closure.
Most easily distracted
A front-clip harness is an excellent choice for dogs who do not demonstrate aggression or other behavior problems but still need some work on their loose-lease walking. Did someone say squirrel?
This style of harness has the leash attached to a clip that sits in the middle of the harness low on the dog's chest. Dogs wearing a front-clip harness make dramatic progress with pulling reduction.
Having the leash attachment low across the dog's chest lessens the chances for choking, coughing or other discomforts. Also, front attachment dog harnesses can be a positive addition to your training toolbox. It can help your dog become a calmer, more connected walking partner.
When walking your dog with a front-clip harness, you will want to take care in not letting the leash get too slack as it can easily tangle under the dog's front legs.
The back-clip harness is for dogs who have successfully mastered the loose-leash walk. It is also beneficial for short-nosed dogs, such as Pugs or Boston Terriers, small breeds, and dogs prone to tracheal collapse.
This harness fits on the dog's chest, and the leash attaches to the ring on the top of the dog's back. Of all the options, dogs adjust best to back-clip harnesses.
Owners find back-clip harnesses useful with calm dogs who are already trained to not pull on the leash. This type of leash can encourage pulling in dogs who have not mastered the loose-leash walk.
When used on an untrained dog who likes to pull, the back-clip harness can create a sled-pulling action, with you being pulled along in place of the sled. Made evident as a variation of the back-clip harness is used for dogs pulling dog sleds.
Head halter collars are a training tool for active, strong dogs along with dogs who have aggression issues. Your dog should only wear the head halter collar when you take them out on a leash.
In principle, the head collar is similar to a horse's halter. One strap of the collar fits around the dog's neck, sitting high on the head, behind the ears. The other strap forms a loop around the dog's muzzle with a ring attached at the bottom of the muzzle loop for the leash.
Because the halter is around the dog's muzzle, instead of the neck, a dog loses a great deal of leverage and will be unable to pull with the full weight of their body.
Head halter training works best when associated with treats and done over time, keeping the dog relaxed. If you do the fitting and training right, the dog will tolerate the head halter better because it's associated with treats.
If you don't make the introductions and adjustments gradually, your dog can become distressed or even depressed.
When the dog is wearing a head halter, it is essential to use gentle movements of the leash when correcting behavior. Sharp-jerk corrections have the potential of damaging the dog's neck when the dog hits the end of the leash, and the head snaps back.
Also, head halters that are too tight can cause the fur to rub off the muzzle and can even cause eye damage.
If your dog likes to jump and pull when on a leash, Martingale collars are the best dog collars for correcting this behavior. This collar allows you safe control of your dog while they learn basic commands. Martingale collars also prevent rambunctious dogs from getting out of their collars.
A Martingale collar resembles a flat collar until you look more closely. This collar is made up of two interconnected collars, one connected to the leash and the other wrapped around the dog's neck. When the dog pulls on the leash, it tightens the collar around its neck.
Martingale collars were designed to keep dogs with large necks and small heads, like whippets and greyhounds, from getting out of their collars. But it didn't take long for trainers to recognize the training benefits of this collar for most breeds of dogs.
Unlike other training collars, like choke and pinch, Martingale collars distribute corrective pressure evenly around the neck preventing neck injuries.
As with all training collars, only put them on your dog when they are on a leash, it can be dangerous if left on during play, even if supervised.
How We Reviewed Best Dog Collars
To narrow the choices for our best dog collars, we searched the internet researching and reading customer reviews as well as professional trainer reviews and opinions.
We have no business or financial ties to any of the companies on our list.
The purpose of this research was to provide you, the consumer, with sufficient factual, unbiased information so that you can make a confident, informed, and quick decision on your next dog collar purchase.
We Tabulated the Votes
We started with five categories of best dog collars. Flat, back-clip harness, front-clip harness, head halter, and Martingale collars. Due to the similar design of two categories, we ended up with four categories of best dog collars. Here are our choices for the best and runner up in each category.
The most popular is
Soft Touch luxury real leather padded dog collar
The Soft Touch luxury real leather padded dog collar is our choice for the best flat collar. This collar comes in sizes that will fit a neck measuring from 11 to 28 inches and collar widths from 3/4 inch to 1 3/4 inches. The inside of the collar is softly padded and protects your dog's neck from rubbing and irritation.
This collar not only looks impressive, but it also has solid brass hardware that will not rust and comes with a lifetime guarantee. If it ever fails due to materials or workmanship, you will receive a replacement collar.
Amazon customers rate this product 4.6 out of 5 stars. A very impressive 85 percent of reviewers rated this product a 5.0 out of 5 stars.
Our very close runner up
Custom Catch Personalized Dog Collar -Engraved Soft Leather flat collar
Our runner up is the Custom Catch Personalized Dog Collar -Engraved Soft Leather flat collar. This collar comes in widths from 1/2 inch to 1 inch and in sizes that will fit a neck measuring from 8.5 inches to 22 inches.
This collar is genuine leather, comes in 6 colors, and can be engraved up to 25 characters from a choice of 3 different fonts. No lost identification tags, with this collar, your dog will always be identifiable.
Amazon customers rated this product 4.7 out of 5 stars. An outstanding 88% of responders gave this collar a 5.0 out of 5 stars.
Most easily distracted and most dependable end up in a tie
Chai's Choice Outdoor Adventure Reflective Vest
We grouped our picks for best front and back-clip harness because both of our choices include the clip on the front and the back. That means you to use them either way.
That said, our choice for the best is Chai's Choice Outdoor Adventure Reflective Vest. This collar comes in sizes from x-small to x-large and has an ergonomic design providing ease of use in putting on and taking off.
The outer layer, a scratch-resistant oxford material, has a lining of a comfortable, lightweight mesh with soft sponge padding in chest and belly areas. Strap adjustments allow for a custom fit.
Safety features include nylon webbing with 3M reflective material for excellent visibility at night. It also has a sturdy handle for secure seatbelt attachment for riding in the car.
Amazon customers rated this product 4.4 out of 5 stars -- 71 percent of those happy folks gave this product a perfect 5.0 out of 5 star rating.
Our close runner up
Rabbitgoo's No-pull Adjustable Dog Harness
Rabbitgoo's No-pull Adjustable Dog Harness grabbed our runner up spot in the front and back-clip harness. It comes in sizes from small to extra large, with adjustable slide straps so you can create a custom fit for your dog.
The soft and breathable padding will give your dog a snug fit, so your dog feels secure and comfortable. And has two sturdy metal leash attachment points, one of the back and one on the chest.
The reflective straps ensure your dog's safety while walking in the dark
Amazon customers rated this product 4.3 out of 5 stars. Well over half, 69 percent, gave this harness 5.0 out of 5 stars.
The most involved
PetSafe® Gentle Leader® Headcollar
The PetSafe® Gentle Leader® Headcollar receives our vote for best head halter. Available in sizes from petite (under 5 pounds) to x-large (130 plus pounds).
It has adjustable nylon straps with a neoprene padded nose loop for added comfort. PetSafe® includes fitting instructions as well as a comprehensive DVD with every purchase of a head halter collar.
Amazon customers rated this product a 4.0 out of 5 stars. More than half of those, 66 percent, gave this collar a perfect score of 5.0 out of 5 stars.
Most involved runner up
Dogs My Love Dog Head Collar Halter
Our runner up for best head halter is Dogs My Love Dog Head Collar Halter. They come in 6 sizes to fit snouts from 4 inches to 16 inches.
The collar, made of soft, durable high quality 3/4 inch wide nylon, has a nose strap layered with soft neoprene for added comfort.
Amazon customers rated this product a 4.1 out of 5 stars. A respectable 62 percent of responders gave this collar 5.0 out of 5 stars.
And finally, the most spirited
Max and Neo Martingale All Nylon Dog Collar
Our pick for the best Martingale dog collar is the Max and Neo Martingale All Nylon Dog Collar. This collar comes in widths from 1/2 inch to 1 inch and sizes from x-small to x-large, fitting necks measuring from 8 inches to 33 inches.
The collar, made of two-millimeter thick nylon, has reflective stitching for improved nighttime visibility. It features a lockable nylon clasp which prevents an accidental releasing of the latch when grabbing the collar.
As if this choice isn't already head of the class, the icing on this pick is, for every collar sold Max and Neo donate a collar to a dog rescue.
Amazon customers rated this collar a 4.7 out of 5 stars. Not surprisingly, 86 percent of respondents gave this collar 5.0 out of 5 stars.
Most spirited runner up
PetSafe® Martingale Dog Collar
Our runner up goes to the PetSafe® Martingale Dog Collar. This collar comes in sizes from petite to Large and the width from 3/8 inch to 1 inch.
This training collar, made from high-quality, durable nylon, is a comfortable alternative to a choke collar.
Amazon customers gave this product 4.1 out of 5 stars. With 66 percent of those customers rating it 5.0 out of 5 stars.
Those Are Our Class of 2019 Best Dog Collars
Now that we've recognized our superlatives in the class of 2019 best dog collars, it's your turn. Which collar is best for your dog's ability to achieve that calm, enjoyable, loose-leash walk?
Remember for safety reasons, no leash, no collar. Always be mindful because each of our best dog collars can present opportunities for harm to your dog when not used as directed.
Let us know in the comments below what collar you use on your dog and how they helped improve the walks with your dog.
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