Once was the time when all thoughtful, well-meaning, caring dog owners understood the reasons why putting a collar on their dog just made good sense. After all, there weren’t so many choices then. You chose to put a leather buckle collar on your dog and hung tags that gave name and maybe an address, showed proof of a rabies vaccination and maybe proof of your having paid a county dog tax. You chose to put a choke chain on your dog when it came time to get serious about training. When you chose to do that training, you quickly learned the difference between a collar that fit correctly and one that was too big. Sadly, many times the collar meant to help, meant to teach, meant to give more meaning to a life was responsible for taking that very life.
Let’s take a look at a four different size chain collars. All are slip or choke collars. One will be great for training and the others will be killers. Can you guess which one is the real training collar?
In this picture, our model is not exactly thrilled with having to sport four different collars, most of which do not fit. Let’s number the collars starting with the one closest to her head. We have a total of four. Have you taken a guess yet? If so, did you say that number four was the correct fit? How about number two, is it the correct fit? Maybe a trick has been pulled on you and none of the four collars is correct for training.
Look a bit closer. It should be easier now that there are only two collars to choose from in this picture. The lower collar is what we so often see these days when a dog shows up for class wearing a chain collar. It is so big it actually could qualify as a necklace.
While it is very easy to put on or take off due to its size, it is also very dangerous. Sanity could very easily get a rear foot caught under this collar and end up with a broken leg. She could get it snagged on any number of things and end up slowly choking to death. This is NOT a good collar for any pet dog at any time.
The upper collar is a good fit. It is still large enough to put on and take off without much effort on the owner’s part. It is snug enough to reduce the danger of either a catching a foot or it being snagged by some protruding object. It is of a strong enough gauge chain to withstand normal training collar wear and tear without breaking. It is a good choice for communication and therefore, training.
This picture shows the training collar Sanity wears on a daily basis. It is the same length as the properly fitted chain collar in the second picture; however, it is of a finer gauge and so really doesn’t make a good training collar for training a beginner. It is just right for a well-trained dog to wear as an everyday training collar.
In dog training, the long-range goal should always be use of the invisible collar.
Where is the collar in this picture? The collar you can’t see is actually the very best fit of all. Putting this sort of collar on your dog requries many hours of work and effort on your part. It means learning what today amounts to a new way of living. Once learned both you and your dog will have years of joy filled days with many happy adventures along the way
Once your dog is well trained and wearing this invisible collar, you are free to make use of all sorts of fun, frilly, silly, serous,or practical collars. Your dog will be able to wear any sort of collar that happens to take your fancy. All this and so much more is waiting just around the corner for both of you. All you need do to start the process is to chose a correctly fitting chain slip/training collar. Of course, you will also have to do your homework, but that is another story for another day.
Have a great recall this day and for all those days to come.