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Choose the right size: Your dog’s collar should be snug enough that it doesn’t slip over their head but loose enough that you can slide two fingers under the collar. For best control, your dog’s collar should sit fairly high on the neck so that when you attach the leash your dog naturally holds their head up. If fasten the collar to your dog’s neck and your pet begins coughing or visibly struggling, you need to adjust the collar immediately. If it’s not adjustable, replace it. To order the best collar from the start, measure your pet’s neck and then add two to three inches. Remember puppies are constantly growing so check their collars frequently.

Choose the Right Style: For most dogs and dog sizes, a simple leather collar or canvas collar will do nicely. Leather dog collars are considered the most durable, and often the most stylish. If you buy a leather dog collar for your puppy just remember that puppies like to chew and a leather dog collar makes an excellent teething toy. Unless you want to clean up leather mash, make sure you trim off any excess after you size the collar. You’ll also want to make sure you purchase a rounded edge leather collar if you have a longer haired dog. Rough edge collars rub against the dog’s fur, breaking the dog’s hair. In addition, the collar you choose shouldn’t be too heavy for your dog. Some dogs with breathing problems, or damage to their trachea, need a harness collar. If you have a dog breed that has known breathing issues you may want to consider a harness collar just for comfort reasons. Pinch or Prong collars are often used for training as they deliver a corrective “bite” much like a mother would deliver to her young. These pinch or prong collars should have about 4 inches of “draw” when delivering the correction or effectiveness is lost. Remember, prong or pinch collars should be used for training only and not as your dog’s regular collar.

Watch the Bling: The most important things dangling from your dog’s collar are license, name tag and any information required by your state (such as shot records). Other dangling charms and tags and various forms of bling are fine, but keep in mind that homemade chains and charms might get caught on something and potentially harm your pet. Professionally made charms are durable, and custom made to sit high on the dog's collar.

Most importantly, the collar is only as effective as the person holding the leash. If your pet is struggling to get out of their collar and straining against the leash, they might still need a new collar, but you and your walking buddy also need training classes.