Great Dane collar: Slip collar, pinch collar, choke chain, training collar, shock collar, buckle collar, clip collar or maybe not a collar at all – maybe you want a Great Dane harness. So many options! How do you choose!?
We’ve used a lot of collars and I hope you will find our experiences helpful.
The Right Collar for YOUR dog.
You know that every Dane is different – different temperaments, different emotions, different needs, which means you’ll have to determine which is the best Great Dane collar for your pup.
Different types of dog collars are needed as your Dane grows and goes through the stages of obedience training, learning to take the daily walk or simply stay in their yard.
The Early Years
When you first bring you little bundle home any puppy collar will do. (Even a cat collar would work, but that would be just wrong.) It doesn’t take long for them to grow out of that little strap that I can now wear as a bracelet. At this point the collar really doesn’t need to do much beyond look cute and offer a place to attach a lightweight lead to begin the process of leash training.
This is where the right collar will depend greatly on the needs of your dog. Every well-behaved and highly trained show dog is presented with a simple slip collar.
A Slip Collar can be made of leather, nylon rope or chain. The ones made of chain are commonly know as a “Choke Chain.” This is a good choice for a Great Dane. Due to their size and strength the choke chain (or slip chain) gives you leverage to effectively train and communicate with your gentle giant. Chain or nylon rope are best for training. The leather ones look nice but often don’t release smoothly enough for training.
The Right Size
With a slip collar it’s vital that you get the right size. If your collar is too large a crafty Dane will drop their head and let the chain drop right off. (I’ve had this happen and it’s rather embarrassing) If it’s too small it can be ineffective and may even hurt your pup.
To determine the right size measure high on your dogs neck. (Danes have a long neck that gets narrower near the head.) Now add 3” to that measurement – this is your target size. Chains normally come in 2” increments so try to find one close to that size. If your target size isn’t found go the next size up. Don’t go less than 3” plus your dogs neck size.
Lucy wears a 24″ chain when we go for a walk.
The Right Type
If your dog is large, strong, or just strong-willed you may need to use a pronged chain. We had one Dane, ironically named “Angel” that was both strong and strong-willed. She required a pronged chain for training.
Many people consider the pronged collar or “pinch collar” to be cruel or inhumane, however if used properly it can be a life saver for training a strong-willed pup how have a safer more fulfilling life long-term. If your dog pulls hard on the leash when you’re on a walk you should consider a pronged chain.
We had a Great Dane named Angel. Angel was appropriately named, she was an angel – very affectionate and snugly, but she was STRONG! We used a pinch collar with Angel until she learned how to behave on a leash. It wasn’t long using the pinch collar that taking her for a walk became less of a wrestling match and we were able to go back to a at regular slip chain. But the pinch collar served us well.
The flat collar is the typical strap type collar most people think of as a standard “dog collar.” But even here there are several varieties to consider.
First let me tell you what type of flat collar NOT to buy for your Great Dane
We had two brindle Danes, sisters from the same litter. As they got bigger I bought them a couple beautiful nylon web collars with a gorgeous brown fabric pattern that looked great against their brown and black coat. The problem was the plastic snap buckle.
I thought the snap buckle design looked cool. It would be easy to remove for their comfort when they were in the house. So I brought them home fitted them to Abbey and Angel. (You might remember Angel from the previous paragraph about pronged collars and can see where this is going) I trained them to come and sit when I announced the command, “collar” before we’d go out for a walk. Everything seemed perfect.
These two dogs even though they were sisters couldn’t have been more different in personality. Abby was gentle quiet while Angel was strong and aggressive (not in a bad way). Angel had a tendency to pull against the leash and did I mention she was strong!
Angel could pull hard enough to pop the plastic snap buckle which she did on several occasions at the most inopportune moments. So even though I loved the look and convenience of the snap buckle. I couldn’t use this collar on Angel. It probably would’ve been fine on Abby but after my experience with Angel I just didn’t trust the collar any more.
This is the type collar we landed on. We use a typical heavy nylon web collar. The belt buckle design is strong, adjustable, and secure.
If you see a collar as a fashion statement you can find flat collars in 2” or even 3” widths. These can look very regal on the long neck of a large Great Dane.
This collar is sort of a cross between a slip collar and a flat collar. The idea behind this design is to keep the collar secure as it will tighten slightly under pressure, but it doesn’t contract enough to be used as a training tool.
We’ve never used a martingale but when Abby was young she could drop her head and pull away from me and slip out of her “belt buckle” collar. Now this may be due to us not fitting it properly but I’m thinking a Martingale collar might help in this situation. I need to try one of these.
A harness is not a first choice for a Great Dane especially if your dog already has a tendency to pull on the leash. A harness will actually encourage a Dane to pull. We’ve all experienced “the lean.” If a Dane leans on you and you lean back they will lean harder. A harness puts pressure on the shoulders which makes them want to lean into it more.
If you want to control your dog you need to control the head, so a neck collar will serve you better than a harness.
What About Dog Tags?
A problem with a slip collar, slip chain or harness is there’s no place to attached your “dog tags.” (Most towns require pet to be vaccinated for rabies and display a tag as proof of vaccination.) For this reason, Lucy always wears a flat belt buckle collar to which we attach her tags, we then add a slip chain for walks.
Take the Lead
No matter which collar you choose it’s important that your Great Dane is properly trained from a very young age. We start our Danes on Puppy Class at 2 to 4 months old. For their safety and the safety of others it’s important that they learn to respond to your basic commands early.
A big dog is a big responsibility. Going through puppy training will also help you understand your dogs basic temperament and what type of treats or correction they respond to best.
Knowing your dog will help you choose what’s best for them.
What’s been your experience with collars on your Great Dane? What’s worked best for you or what’s not worked at all? We’d like to know!