Choosing a Collar for Your Puppy

So you’ve got a new puppy. One of the first things you’ll need to do is choose a collar that the puppy will wear, either all the time or only on walks. There are numerous styles and materials of dog collars now available. The huge selection can seem overwhelming at first! In most cases, a simple flat buckle nylon collar is adequate. Some individual puppies or owners’ preferences call for a different collar type. Let’s go over some of the most common and when they might be appropriate.

Flat Nylon Collars

Flat nylon collars are the most common type of dog collar. They may either fasten with a buckle or a snap. They are relatively durable, inexpensive and come in a variety of colors or patterns. This type of collar is adequate for most puppies, but might be unsuitable for certain breeds due to the damage a flat nylon collar can do to long, silky coats.

Flat Leather Collars

Leather collars are a common alternative to the standard nylon collar. The choice is mostly aesthetic in the case of a flat leather collar.  However, leather collars are more easily damaged by chewing, so owners with more than one dog may wish to avoid leather.

Rolled Leather Collars

Rolled leather collars are appropriate for puppies with long coats that could become damaged by rubbing from a flat collar. They also offer slightly more targeted pressure on the puppy’s neck. Yanking on a collar is a lousy training method, but the dog does at least need to feel which direction his owner is going, so for puppies with thick coats a rolled leather collar may give a more clear signal.

Martingale Collars

A martingale style collar is harder to slip out of than a flat or rolled collar. These collars are frequently used for Greyhounds and similar breeds, whose heads are slim compared to their necks, making it easy for them to back out of a standard collar. This collar type should be considered for puppies that remove their collars on walks.

Hemp Collars

Hemp collars have only recently become readily available in most areas. These are similar to nylon collars, but much softer, often with a cushioned lining. Hemp collars are appropriate for puppies with sensitive skin and short fur who might suffer from rubbing or itching with a traditional nylon collar. Hemp is a renewable resource, so these collars are also a good choice for environmentally conscious pet parents.

Choke, Pinch, and Shock Collars

Any type of control collar or collar designed to deliver punishment should never be used on a puppy, period. Frankly, they’re unsafe and useless for the vast majority of adult dogs, too.

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