Training Your Labrador Retriever – Choosing the Right Collar

Labrador Retriever training can be a trying experience that can be made easier with the correct collar choice. There are several types of collar that are used by trainers to make their life easier when training a boisterous Lab. Some of these collars can be helpful in certain cases, some can be outright dangerous to the dog, and some can be detrimental to training progress.

The types of collar are Flat collar, Choke Collar and Spike Collar. Flat collars come in many designs and widths. You have the choice of color, design and decoration. There are also several buckle types. Does your boy need to feel macho; you can pick a black leather collar with studs. Perhaps your little girl needs to feel a bit more dainty; a thin pink collar with a bow may be more your style. For training, a utilitarian collar made from woven nylon or leather is the best choice width should be ¾ to 1 inch and the length will vary depending on the neck of your dog. Metal buckles provide a secure way to attach the ends but the plastic clip type closure will work just as well. Make sure that the ring that is on the collar is welded, as a strong Lab, intent on chasing the local squirrel, will exert quite a bit of force on this point.

Choke and Spike collars are specified by lazy trainers. These trainers wish to get quick results; move on to the next client and with any luck, the clients will come back in the future to have the behavior problems that are created by these collars corrected. These two types of collar act by causing pain to the dog. Spike collars can actually damage the dog’s neck by piercing the skin if the correction is severe enough. Spike and choke collars have been shown to damage a dog’s larynx.

The correction provided by Spike and Choke collars is known as negative reinforcement. If the dog is not doing what you wish, they get a correction to induce them to do the correct behavior. The main problem with these collars is that negative reinforcement does not make for a happy dog. Negative reinforcement has been shown in clinical trials to have short term benefits whereas positive reinforcement provides long term results.

There is yet another form of collar that can be used to control a dog at a distance. This is the electronic collar, known as an e-collar. These come in several forms. The most common of these is provided to establish a fence around the perimeter of your yard. These collars deliver a shock to the dog when a certain condition is met. Many will provide a tone that can precede the shock or can provide a good dog indication. These collars can be effective at reducing unwanted behaviors they can also cause problems if used incorrectly. When used as an electronic fence, you must keep in mind that this only works for the dog wearing the e-collar. I will not prevent other animals from entering your property and causing problems with your dog. This collar also provides negative reinforcement and has the same problems shown with the other negative reinforcement collars.