Applying a Chain Collar to Your Dog the Safe Way

So – you have just come to the conclusion that you need to train your dog a little more. You have gone and bought a lead and made the recommended measurements to ensure that it gives two to three inches of slack around the dog’s neck. Your next step is to ensure that you can apply the collar safely to the dog without causing him or her pain in order to use the tug and release method.

According to expert dog trainers, it is surprising how many dog lovers do not know how to apply this training accessory safely to their dog or bitch. This instructional article will aim to tell you more.

To your left, sit your dog down and have the chain ready over your wrist like a bracelet. You need the piece of the collar called the slide ring towards the top so that you can pull on the chain to tighten it and slip it over your dog’s head whilst the slide ring remains in this position.

The importance of the slide ring at the top is so it doesn’t do any harm to the dog. Always remember that if you see this ring at the bottom of the collar at any point, you have more than likely done something wrong, and need to re adjust.

Learning how to apply a dog collar alone is different. Acquiring help from a trainer is recommended as it can save you time, patience and potential discomfort for your dog.

Choosing Your Dog’s Collar and Lead

Pet shops can stock many types of collars and leads. Generally, your choice will depend on what you prefer, but there are a few points to take into consideration.

Leads (leashes), collars and harnesses are usually made from rope, leather, chain or nylon webbing.

Choosing Your Lead

Leather and Chain Leads: If you dog is one of the large breeds, you would be advised to select a strong lead made of leather or chain with a leather handle. Dogs that chew their leads will also benefit a chain lead.

Nylon leads: These are lightweight leads and usually washable, so they are useful to put in your pocket on a long walk or in case of an emergency.

Rope Leads: Slip leads (with a loop that goes around the dog’s neck) and showing leads are often made from soft rope.

Retractable leads: Some dogs need to be kept on their lead at all times e.g young or untrained dogs, deaf, blind or elderly dogs. Retractable leads are usually made from thin nylon rope or webbing on a spool that can extend 4 to 6 metres. This allows the dog to explore when out walking and allows you to keep control.

Choosing Your Collar

Leather collars: These are strong and durable and most dogs find them comfortable as they do not chafe the neck when fitted correctly. They are available in several styles – rolled, flat, studded etc. A leather collar 12mm wide is adequate for most dogs (larger breeds, bull terriers, greyhounds etc may need a wider collar – 2.5 to 4cm is usually suitable)

Nylon Collars: Smaller breeds are more suited to nylon collars as they are less durable than leather. They can also cause rubbing on the neck, especially if the dog pulls on the lead.

Chain Collars: These are made from several rows of chain with a buckle and leather strap. Care should be taken to use the correct size as they may pinch the skin of the dog’s neck if too narrow.

Check Chains (Choke Chain): I advise against using a check chain unless absolutely necessary as very few people know how to fit and use them correctly. Half-check collars (a nylon band with a chain attached) are minimally better. They are a training aid only and should only be used when walking or training.

Puppy’s First Collar and Lead Arrived at that momentous time when you buy your puppy’s first collar and lead? Here are some safety points to remember:-

  • Do not fasten the collar too tightly – make sure you can fit three fingers under it.
  • Never use a check chain on a young puppy – they can damage the pup’s neck.
  • Keep an eye on your puppy especially at first as sometimes they try and rub the collar off and can get it caught on anything projecting.
  • Even when the puppy is very young, its a good idea to attach the lead to the collar and make it into a game – the puppy will get used to the feel of the lead and it will be easier for you when the time comes to start training.

Finally, remember to check your dog’s collar and lead regularly for damaged stitching or wear and replace it before it breaks.

The Choke Chain Or the Chain Dog Collar

So you have a dog that just won’t stop pulling- no matter what you do or how you train them, they continue to pull (and pull hard) when being walked. You have even decided you will no longer take your dog out walking because the pulling is just too much to handle. If controlling your dog while on a leash has evaded you for what seems like the entire time you have had him/her, a chain collar or choke chain is what you need.

For those unfamiliar with a chain collar, remember that this type of collar is specifically used for training purposes (for pulling on the leash) and is not what your dog should be wearing as its permanent collar. While some do in fact use it in this regard, if you do the proper amount of research, you will find that it is discouraged. Ultimately, for a pulling dog on a leash, you need to maintain control while walking and that is what the chain collar was designed for.

Chain collars are available at different prices and in different sizes. You can buy one for small, medium and large breeds both online and at most major pet supply shops. Typically, the chain is nickel and chrome plated to prevent rusting and breakage. Once you purchase one, there should be no need to get another- they last forever.

When using a chain collar for the first time, you will be amazed at the effect it has on your dog. While there isn’t a guarantee your dog will never pull again (if it’s that rabbit in the field they want, not very much will stop them!), if used correctly, it can be extremely effective in discouraging the persistent pulling.