Puppy Collars: Choosing The Right Fit, Feel, and Durability
So you’ve got a new puppy, and you’re ready to put a cute, fashionable collar on them. But where do you start? What collar is best for a puppy? And what kinds of collars will teach your puppy the best manners while on the leash?
Have no fear! We’re here to help with our guide on how to pick the suitable collar for your new four-legged friend!
Fitting Your Puppy’s New Collar
When fitting your puppy’s new collar, or harness, the fit is important not only for comfortability but for safety reasons. When your puppy’s neck is in the collar, you should be able to fit two fingers between their neck and the material of the collar. This ensures that if they pull, then the collar won’t constrict too tightly, causing a possible injury.
It’s essential to check the fit of the collar on your puppy every few months, as they grow quickly, and as they age, the collar may need to be adjusted, or a new one may need to be purchased. This can happen frequently, depending on the breed of your pup.
Collars can be made from a number of materials, so narrowing down the best material for your puppy is key in making sure they’re comfortable. The most common material is nylon, but other materials are available, like leather, canvas, and poly-covered webbings. The most appropriate material for a puppy is most likely nylon, but as your pooch matures, there are many wonderful options out there!
Collar durability is all about the materials it's made from, too. Some fabrics, like canvas, can wear over time, causing the collar to break down and loosen, or worse, break entirely. Buckle material matters, as well! Hard plastic buckles are great at first, but as they age, the plastic can become brittle and crack. Metal hardware will last a lot longer if properly taken care of. Metal hardware might seem intimidating at first, but as long as it’s just the buckle material and not a prong collar or choke collar, the risk of a metal buckle harming your pet is slim to none.
The material choice really comes down to the activity your dog will be doing and the area you’re living in. If your puppy’s collar is at risk of being wet all the time, either due to the way they play or because of the weather, then a leather collar is probably not the direction you want to lean.
Types of Collars
When choosing the style of collar for your puppy, you have to keep in mind their behaviors and needs. Different collars serve different purposes, and different breeds need different collars based on their anatomy. Check out these four best options for your new puppy based on what purposes they serve and the feel that your puppy will need!
These collars are the most widely used and are the typical collar you’ll see in stores. They’re normally made of nylon and sometimes leather, with a buckle or a clip fastener. When choosing a flat collar for a puppy, it’s recommended that you look for one with a breakaway buckle if your pup spends time off-leash so that if they become snagged on anything, they aren’t stuck - the collar buckle can quite literally break away.
Flat collars are highly recommended mostly because of the range of sizes and availability. It is important to keep in mind that if your puppy is still learning its manners while on the leash, a flat collar may not be the best choice. They don’t prevent choking if pulled too hard, and certain breeds can slip out of them.
Martingale collars are a popular option that, in a lot of ways, resemble the flat collar. They come in a variety of sizes and widths, just like the flat collar does, but they have an extra strap of material that is attached to the point that the leash attaches to.
These collars are an excellent choice for a puppy that’s still learning their leash manners. The martingale, if pulled on, will tighten to a point that poses no risk of a choking hazard but still provides some tension and control of your puppy. They’re a great starter collar! And as mentioned before, for breeds that are good at slipping out of the flat collar, these are a good option to prevent escape attempts.
Back Clip Harnesses
Arguably the best option for a rowdy puppy, the versatility of a back clip harness is unmatched and provides a lot of comfort for your puppy that’s already gotten used to leash training. The harness is held snug around the puppy’s torso, and the leash is clipped to the back.
These harnesses pose nearly no risk of choking and are generally very comfy for your pup. The fit still may need to be adjusted as your puppy grows and changes, so make sure to double-check the tightness every now and again. These are also ideal for small breeds as they grow into adulthood.
Similar to the back clip harness in style and fit, these are more specifically designed for the puppy that’s still learning how to walk while on a leash. They prevent pulling by attaching the leash to the front, providing some tension against the leash, and leading the dog in a different direction if they were to pull.
The no-pull is a great harness for dogs who might yank on the leash but are prone to injury if they pull too hard. Rather than put a strain on their neck, it will simply guide them in the direction that the leash is draped.
A Collar to Avoid…
Choke collars and prong collars do exist on the market, but they should under no circumstances be used for a puppy. You want your puppy to get used to wearing a collar and enjoy it. Prong collars and choke collars hurt dogs and could injure your puppy if they are subjected to wearing them.
But How Do I Choose One?
Take into consideration a few necessary things as you look for a collar for your puppy:
- How big will my puppy get? This question is imperative in the decision-making process. It will guide you to choosing an adjustable collar, or a harness, depending on the breed of dog and how big they’re expected to be in adulthood.
- What activities does my puppy do? Are you walking your puppy on a leash, or do you plan to? If so, you may want to make a decision to get a collar and a lead that helps you teach good leash manners. If your puppy is spending most of their time in the yard, it might be better to consider a breakaway collar over a traditional buckle.
- Is my puppy getting dirty often? This is going to have an impact on the material you choose for their collar. If your pup stays inside and stays clean, you can pick pretty much any material, but if they’re out and getting messy, you may need something that is easier to clean.
- Is my puppy an escape artist? If this is a question you’re asking yourself, or if you know that your puppy’s breed is prone to escaping collars, it’s almost an immediate answer: martingale collar!
- Does my puppy run a high risk of neck injuries? Check with your vet because some small dog breeds (some large, too) run a higher risk of self-inflicted injury when pulling. This may lead you away from a traditional collar until they understand leash etiquette.
Try Different Things
Try a variety of styles, and try a variety of materials. It’s all about finding what works best for your puppy, and eventually, the dog they become. Start your puppy off in style with a collar that will last a lifetime: one that’s durable, easy to clean, and fashionable, like the Wild One Collar.
The Wild One Collar is a prime example of a perfect dog collar, perfect for your puppy growing and learning and then loving life as an adult dog. This collar comes in sizes ranging from XS to XL to fit almost every sized puppy.
They come made with a wonderful poly-covered webbing, a strong buckle, and a strong d-ring for leash attachment. The best part? They have kits that give you the complete package, with a leash, bag holder, and collar.
The collar you get your puppy at first may not be the same style or material that you end up with. When choosing your first collar, it’s important to keep in mind that the behavior of a puppy is not set in stone and that their behavior as an adult may be slightly different, and that’s okay!
Hopefully, this handy guide helped you understand what kind of collar or harness is best for your puppy!
Finding the Best Collar for Your Puppy | Preventive Vet
Pros and Cons of Different Types of Dog Collars | Pet Helpful
The Pet Professional Guild - The Use of Choke and Prong Collars | The Pet Professional Guild
How to Choose the Perfect Puppy Collar: 11 Steps (with Pictures) | wikiHow Pets