With the increase in the use of Positive Reinforcement training, the buckle collar has become the most popular collar for both training and general use. They’re available in a number of different styles and collars and unlike many of the other collars on the market, an owner can train with this collar and then leave it on to hold the dog’s ID tags when they’re done.
This group of collars is referred to as Buckle Collars, because they attach around the dogs neck with a belt buckle. There are a few variations on the basic Buckle Collar, however they all essentially work the same way. They are most often made of nylon or leather and come in a flat style or a rolled style.
Two variations on the traditional Buckle collar are the Quick-Release Collar and the Breakaway Collar. The Quick-Release Collar is a basic nylon collar, but instead of a belt buckle it attaches with a plastic closure piece, similar to a luggage strap. They are designed to make it easier for owners to put them on and take them off.
The Breakaway Collar is a special type of Quick-Release Collar, designed to detach if a strong pull is placed on the collar. It was invented to prevent choking in the event that a collar is caught on something. While the Breakaway Collars are designed to detach if they are caught on something, they are manufactured to not detach if connected to a leash. This prevents a dog from breaking the collar and escaping while on a walk.
Using Buckle Collars decreases the risk of damage to a dog’s neck or trachea that is associated with many of the other training collars, because the buckle collar will not contract once it is attached. However, constant pulling on a Buckle Collar can still damage a dog’s trachea or neck. While the risk is less than that from other collars, it is important for an owner to use buckle collars properly because they still have some potential for injury if misused.
- Low risk of injury to neck or trachea.
- Owners can leave buckle collars on all the time
- Can be difficult to control high energy dogs
Fitting the Collar
When fitting a dog for a Buckle Collar you should be able fit one or two fingers between the collar and a dog’s neck. A good estimate for the length needed is to measure the circumference of a dog’s neck and then add an inch. It is important that the collar fits properly so it is not too tight as to choke the dog or too loose and let the dog slip out of the collar. The main benefit of this collar is that it will not tighten around the dog’s neck once it is locked. The belt buckle or snap-in piece will hold the collar at that length regardless of how hard a dog pulls on it. This will help prevent the choking and neck or throat injuries that are possible with other collars.
How it is Used
The Buckle Collars are used as part of the positive reinforcement training method. These collars do not allow an owner to correct a dog’s behavior like the Choke Collar or a Martingale Collar, however the buckle collar provides a very low risk of injury to your dog. This collar can be used during training and also left on the rest of the time, unlike many of the other training collars.
When to Use
Buckle collars are recommended for use with all types of dogs. According to trainers, these collars can be used safely and effectively regardless of the dog’s breed, age, or temperament. Unlike most other types of collars, Buckle Collars are recommended for use with a puppy as they will allow the puppy to get used to wearing something around his or her neck and not create a risk of injury. Unlike most other training collars, which need to be removed after training, Buckle Collars can be left on all the time to hold the dog’s tags.
There are two styles of nylon buckle collars, the standard flat style and a rolled style. The flat style will work with any breed and any type of coat, however the rolled nylon collars are recommended for fine-haired dogs such as the Boston Terrier.
Quick-Release versions are an option for owners that have trouble putting on and removing a traditional nylon collar. Breakaway Collars are an option for owners that worry about a collar getting caught on something. However, with breakaway collars there is a potential for escape.
For training purposes these collars work the best with slow, cooperative dogs that can be controlled without a need for behavior corrections. These collars should be used by anyone interested in training using positive reinforcement. If an owner has trouble controlling their dog, a buckle collar used in conjunction with a Martingale Collar during training, could provide increased control as well as maintain a low level of risk for injury.