This is not something I have given much thought to until someone specifically asked me the question, “is it safer to have a collar on your dog or not?” I have always had a collar on my dogs and thought that was just how it should be. So I gave this some serious thought. This person’s argument was that it was safer not to have a collar on the dog, in case the dog was swimming and got a foot up through the collar, or was hunting wide and got the collar caught on a limb or a fence.
Here are my thoughts on the matter. If your dog was a farm dog out in Arthur County, Nebraska he may not need a collar (trust me, this is some empty country, beautiful, but empty). Otherwise, dogs need collars in today’s world. Here are a few reasons why: First, a collar acts as a handle on the dog. Often times you need to get a hold of the dog, when a truck is zipping by, when you encounter a rattlesnake, meet another hunting party with dogs in the field, or any other myriad of other things you encounter. Without a collar, people end up grabbing the dog’s tail, a handful of skin, or other inhumane and less effective methods.
Second, a collar on a dog says that it is someone’s and not a stray. A collar on a dog with a reward tag and phone number is the very very best way to get a lost dog back. When you are on an extended hunting trip in Arizona or South Dakota and your dog turns up missing, the best way to get him back is to have a collar and tag. Microchips help once they hit the shelter, but the family at the farmhouse that finds him can call you directly as soon as they find him.
If your dog can get a leg through their collar, or a limb can fit up through it, the collar is way too loose. You should be just able to get three fingers under the collar. If you are using a e-training collar, it should ride even higher on the neck, right behind the head and to ensure consistent contact with the points, you should just be able to fit one finger under the collar.
In my opinion, the ability to get physical control of the dog and the information provided on the collar in case of a lost dog is well worth the small risk of a dog getting caught up by the collar in a life threatening situation.
The type of dog collar is really a matter of personal choice. I like the looks of a leather collar, but they do not hold up as long as nylon ones. As for durability, the best collars I have found are the plastic coated nylon collars. No matter which collar material I use, I prefer one with a center ring, because of the ease of clipping on a lead. I just ordered six collars from Scott’s Dog Supply and they came with engraved brass nameplates. I was pleased with the quality and their service.