The site was last updated on
24 Aug 2000
How to Put a Training
Collar on Properly (also known as a slip
collar or choke chain)
The equipment used in training
is very important. Equipment that is ill-fitting or inappropriate will only make
the training process more difficult. You want to use equipment that
applies as little force as is necessary to get the desired response from the
The training collar, also known
as a choke chain or a slip collar, is the most widely used type of
collar used for training purposes, and is meant to be used for training purposes
ONLY. There is a right and a wrong way of putting these collars on and should
only be used during a training session by experienced hands.
They are designed to briefly
tighten and apply pressure when the trainer is delivering a correction. Never
leave a dog unattended with one of these collars on as they may cause injury or
strangulation if the collar was to get caught on something. Never use a training
collar as your dog's everyday collar, and never put your dog on a tie-out with a
The Size of the Dog
When choosing the correct training collar, choose one that is well suited to the
size of the dog. If your dog is larger than a Toy breed, choose a larger-linked
chain. Avoid collars made of the small-link or jeweler-link chains, which are
used only for small breeds. Nylon slip collars are also available. They are
easier on the coat and slide more smoothly than chain collars.
The Weight of the Chain
Keep in mind that the weight of the chain is just as critical as the material
it's made out of. A heavy collar will quickly tire a small dog that is expected
to carry the extra weight around for an hour or so. The size of the chain must
be proportionate to the size of the dog.
The correct placement of the collar on the neck is important since this will
affect his response. The muscle becomes more dense closer to the shoulder area.
The dog will feel little, if anything, if the collar sits very far down on the
neck over these dense muscles. Therefore, proper placement of the collar is
higher up on the neck, just below the ears.
When determining the correct length, the rule here is that when the chain is
made into a noose, it should slide comfortable over the dog's head without
slipping up on the dog's ears when his neck is bent toward the ground.
Measuring the Dog's Neck
When measuring for proper fit, take a tape measure and place it where the collar
will go. Measure as close to the skin as possible, keeping the tape measure
snug. If the dog has lots of hair around its neck, be certain to get the tape
measure as close to the skin as possible. You want the collar to be the smallest
size that comfortably fits over the dog's head. If you have a properly fitting
collar, there should be enough room to get one finger under the collar of a
small dog, and two fingers under the collar of a large dog.
Putting the Collar on Correctly
There is a definitely a correct way and an incorrect way of putting a slip
collar on a dog's neck. With the dog on your left side, the collar will
instantly tighten and then automatically release when you quickly jerk the leash
and relax, if done correctly. When the leash is incorrectly placed around the
neck, the collar will tighten but not release automatically when you give a
There are two ways to place the
collar on your dog correctly:
1. Sit your dog in front of you,
face to face with you. Make the collar look like the letter 'P.' Slip it over
the dog's head.
2. When your dog is on your left
side, the part of the collar that you attach to your leash (the larger slip
ring) comes over the top of your dog's head.
Because a slip collar is for
training purposes only, it is assumed that your dog will be working on your left
side, which is the standard for training. However, if you prefer to have your
dog work on your right side, then you will need to do the complete opposite as
Practice putting the collar on
several times until you have it memorized.
In addition to the slip collar, every dog should have a buckle collar. Slip
chains are used for training purposes only and should never be left on the dog
when you are not with him. If you are in obedience classes, you should bring
your dog to classes with a buckle collar and it should be on the dog again
before they leave the class. Buckle collars are also the only collars that
should be used on puppies under four months of age.