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Training Collar Measuring Tips

Measure around your dog's neck using a cloth measuring tape positioned where his collar sits. Add the number of inches indicated below to the measurement to determine your dog's neck size:

  • For pronged collars add 1 inch for a snug fit
  • For choke chain collars add 2-3 inches
  • For martingale collars add 2 inches

Tip: If you do not have a cloth tape measure, try using a piece of string and then measure the string with a ruler.

Martingale Collar

A Martingale Collar is best for:

  • "Escape artists" who tend to back out of their collars
  • Dog sports such as agility and flyball
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Prong Collar

A Prong Collar is best for:

  • Dedicated leash pullers
  • Training purposes
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Choke Chain Collar

A Choke Chain Collar is best for:

  • Training purposes
  • Committed leash pullers
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Head Collar

A Head Halter is best:

  • As a starting point for proper leash training
  • For daily management of hard-to-control dogs
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FAQs about Training Collars

What is a martingale collar and which dogs are they best suited for?

A Martingale Dog Collar has a special loop system that tightens when needed for greater control while reducing the risk of your dog backing out and escaping. They come in chain or nylon to prevent accidental hair pulling and are best for dogs with necks larger than their heads and "escape artists" who tend to free themselves by backing out of their collar.

What is a head halter? How does it prevent my dog from leash pulling?

A Head Halter is a very effective, humane tool for leash training and daily management when coupled with proper training. Unlike a regular dog collar, a head halter allows you to control your dog from his head, not his neck, so it helps prevent pulling. It's similar to a horse's halter with a band going around the back of his head, another around his nose and a leash attachment under his chin.

I tried a head halter and my dog did not like it. Will my dog ever accept it?

Getting a correct fit and properly training your dog is essential for a head halter to be effective. It's best to have a certified PetSmart trainer or other qualified trainer help you properly fit your dog with a head halter, introduce him to it, and teach you how to use it safely and effectively. Once trained, the head halter can be replaced with a traditional collar.

What is a choke chain? What are they used for?

Choke Chains (or chain slip collars) consist of a length of chain with rings at either end that tighten on a dog's neck when he pulls. They are recommended for use during training as a last resort for adult dogs (over 6 months of age) who do not respond to any other collar. Remove the choke collar when your pet is unsupervised. Ask your certified PetSmart trainer or other qualified trainer for advice on how to use a choke chain properly.

What are prong collars? What are they used for?

Prong Chains (or pinch collars) are designed for the most committed pullers. They are made of a series of interlocking links, each with two blunt prongs turned towards your dog's neck that pinch his skin when the collar is tightened. Prong collars are generally safer than choke chains because they have a built-in stop mechanism to prevent them from tightening too far. Similar to a choke chain, a prong collar should only be used after numerous failed attempts with other training aids. Ask your certified PetSmart trainer or other qualified trainer for advice on how to use a prong collar properly.

How do I keep my dog safe while using a chain slip (choke chain & prong) collar?

Chain slip collars should only be used under professional guidance as improper use can cause aggression and result in the injury of your pet. These collars are only to be used while training on a leash and should be replaced with a traditional collar immediately following training. Your dog should not wear a chain slip collar while on a tie-out, in a crate or while unsupervised. If your dog is very small or has a respiratory problem, chain slip collars are not recommended. Ask your certified PetSmart Trainer or other qualified trainer for advice on how to use a chain slip properly.