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A dog collar is a piece of material put around the neck of a dog. A collar may be used for control, identification, fashion, or other purposes. Identification tags and medical information are often placed on dog collars. Collars are also useful for controlling a dog manually, as they provide a handle for grabbing. Collars are often used in conjunction with a leash, and a common alternative to a dog collar is a dog harness. Dog collars are the most common form of directing and teaching dogs.
Collars are made with a variety of materials, most commonly leather or nylon webbing. Less common materials can include polyester, hemp, metal, or "oilcloth" (vinyl woven with cotton). Collars can be decorated in a variety of ways with a variety of materials. The basic collars for everyday wear are:
- Buckle collars, also called flat collars, with a buckle similar to a belt buckle, or a quick-release buckle, either of which holds the collar loosely around the dog's neck. Identification is commonly attached to such a collar; it also comes with a loop to which a leash can be fastened. This is the most standard collar for dogs. A flat collar should fit comfortably tight on your dog's neck. It should not be so tight as to choke your dog nor so loose that they can slip out of it. The rule of thumb says you should be able to get two fingers underneath the collar.
- Nylon quick-release buckle collar with identification and medical tags.
- Break-away collars look similar to buckle collars, but have a safety mechanism installed that allows the dog to break free of the collar if excessive force is applied. These collars are useful in situations where a non-quick release collar could get snagged and strangle the dog.
- Safety stretch collars contain an elastic panel in the sturdy nylon collar, which allows escape from potential strangulation dangers such as branches, fences, gates and other dogs. Unlike breakaways, a stretch collar acts like a traditional collar when clipped with a leash
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