Choosing a Collar for a Big Dog

By Kea Grace

For your big dog's safety and your peace of mind, it's vital that your critter wear a collar that matches her strength, size, determination and energy level. Your oversized pooch deserves a collar that won't break or cause problems while she's out and about, enjoying the world at your side.

Items You'll Need:
• Treats
• String or soft rope/cording
• Measuring tape
• Paper
• Pen

Step #1 - Gather the materials you'll need and have them readily accessible. Bring your dog to the area you're working in and offer her a treat. If your dog sits, have your dog sit for the entire time.

Step #2 - Take the string and wrap it snugly around your dog's neck, midway between the base of her neck and the base of her skull. It should not be loose or tight. Do not add extra space or slack.

Step #3 - Mark the point where the string overlaps the end with your finger. Release your dog and give her a treat.

Step #4 - Measure the string from the end to the spot your finger marks with the tape measure. Write this measurement down so that you won't forget it.

Step #5 - Research collar options. Many large dogs benefit from a collar that is wider than average, such as 1.5 or 2 inches. Leather provides extra strength, but there are many nylon collars that are made specifically for large, strong dogs.

Step #6 - Consult sizing charts if provided on the collar label. If you're ordering your collar custom-made,

Step #7 - Customize your pooch's collar as little or as much as you'd like. Many companies that provide collars for big dogs offer embroidery, multiple color options, hardware choices and many other opportunities to personalize the collar for you and your dog's taste and style.

Warning: Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for measurements if they vary from the one's listed here. Your dog's safety depends on a well-fitting collar.

By Kea Grace

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About the Author
Since 2001, Kea Grace has published in "Dog Fancy," "Clean Run," "Front and Finish" and an international Czechoslovakian agility enthusiast magazine. Grace is the head trainer for Gimme Grace Dog Training and holds her CPDT-KA and CTDI certifications. She is a member of the APDT and is a recognized CLASS instructor. She's seeking German certification from the Goethe Institut.