As THE original Hipster Hound and resident guinea pig for all new merchandise, I, Rex, know a thing or two about collars and harnesses. After trying on every type out there, I have come to the conclusion that the best one all depends on the individual dog. Is your dog a puller? Does your dog have fragile skin? Can your dog be aggressive? These are all questions that humans have to consider when choosing their dog’s collar or harness. Check out my summaries of each collar and harness type below to determine which is best for YOUR dog!
Pretty much every dog parent is familiar with a flat collar. It’s the most common type of collar, and the gold standard. Flat collars with metal buckles or quick release clasps are available in a variety of materials, colors, and styles. Many dog parents prefer buckle collars for stronger dogs, as quick release clasps tend to be less sturdy. However, there are great benefits to quick-release collars. If a dog gets caught or stuck on something, he can easily slip out of the collar and be safe once again.
Chain Slip Collar
Often called “choke chains,” these collars are intended for training purposes ONLY. When training a dog to walk on a leash, corrections are made with a quick tug on the leash, causing it to close somewhat on the dog’s neck. However, many dog trainers and experts have moved away from the choke chain method. Generally, these collars are not recommended because they could damage a dog's neck.
Metal Prong/Pinch Collar
Despite their harsh appearance, many dog parents find these collars effective for strong, stubborn dogs with a tendency to pull on the leash. Pinch collars are used for correction during training, similar to chain slip collars. Like the chain slip collars, metal prong collars should be used with caution and NEVER be left on your dog when unattended.
Head collars slightly resemble muzzles, but they have a VERY different purpose. These collars act more like a harness for the head and are intended to help train a dog to walk on a leash. When a dog pulls on the leash, the halter will cause the head to turn. This feels unnatural to us and will deter the behavior. When used properly, head collars can successfully discourage pulling and support other training.
Martingale collars are used to prevent dogs from slipping out of collars while walking on a leash. Though the collars tighten with a tug of the leash, there is a stopping mechanism to prevent complete closure on the neck. Often made out of nylon or similar material, martingale collars are available in a variety of colors and designs. These collars are especially suited for sighthounds (like Greyhounds and Whippets) but can be used on most dog breeds.
Harnesses are designed for placement around a dog’s chest and abdomen, crossing over the back. A leash can be attached to the top or front of the harness. Some dog parents prefer harnesses over collars (especially for dogs with a tendency to pull) because they put no pressure on the neck. Harnesses are ideal for dogs with medical problems in the neck and airway like pugs and bulldogs. My mom personally loves a harness since I get distracted and try to pull where I shouldn’t go. My harness can even be buckled in the car, so I stay safe while riding around town.
Where to Buy
Be sure to come on by The Hipster Hound for all your dog collar and harness needs! They have a variety of collars and harnesses, and the trained staff will help you find the perfect fit for your pup.
Rex, The Original Hipster Hound