What is a tactical dog collar and should you get one?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word tactical? A muscular armed forces member crouching in the desert under surveillance?

Well, yes, that’s correct. 

But this isn’t a military blog - It’s about adorable and playful dogs! And so when we talk about a tactical collar - we mean one that’s extremely durable and practical for training and walking your pet.

Think double stitching and heavy-duty buckles. A collar that has been made with heavy pullers in mind - Whether it’s a military or police dog eager to perform a task or just a large pet excited to go out for his daily walk.

Should you get one for your dog?

The fact that you’re reading this suggests that you have a large dog. And in most cases, a tactical collar is probably the way to go.

Tactical dog collars give you the control you need to safely handle your dog during walking or training sessions. There are, however, just a few things to keep in mind when making a purchase. 

After all, you want your dog to feel comfortable and safe, don’t you? 

Factors to consider

  1. Durability

Close up of a tactical dog collar

 Tactical collars are not intended to be fashion statements first. They’re made to serve a purpose and are best suited to large, strong dogs.

These guys like to run, jump, crawl, dig, play, fetch, swim and, above all, pull. 

So make sure that the collar you’re considering is durable enough to withstand anything your dog throws at it.

You’ll probably pay a bit more for a tactical dog collar, but that’s ok because it needs to last longer than your standard collar.

Make sure it's been double stitched and the buckles are made of aluminum or durable hard plastic. If it feels cheap, it probably won’t last very long. A good buckle is easy to clip on and off and won’t hurt your dog in any way.

A D-ring is a point of attachment on a dog's collar for a leash or name tag. Try to get a collar with a D-ring made of high-quality steel that won’t tear off after a few hard tugs.

2. Material

Tactical dog collar material

Cheap material will show signs of wear over time and fray at the edges. It might also stretch and not fit your dog as well as it did when you first purchased the item.

And some material can cause a dog harm as it chafes where contact is most regularly made with the skin - in the case of a collar, around your dog’s neck.

A tactical collar should be made of premium material that is strong yet comfortable for your dog, leaving no traces of irritation on their skin.

The webbing needs to be especially durable as there is a lot of tension on these points when a dog gets excited and more boisterous.

3. Size

Choosing the right size collar for your dog is crucial if you want to remain in control. 

A collar that’s too loose will be easy for your dog to slip out of or break loose, while one that’s too tight could cause your dog to choke when he pulls.

As a general rule of thumb, you should comfortably be able to slide two fingers in between your dog's collar and his neck. If there’s extra space, it’s probably too loose. If you struggle to get your fingers under the collar, it might be too tight.

Measuring your dog's neck

Getting the exact size needed for your dog is easier said than done, but here’s a hack that will make the process just a tad easier.

Use a string (preferably one that has no elasticity, as this will give you an inaccurate reading) and gently place it around your dog's neck. Allow for a little wiggle room, as you don’t want the collar to sit too tight.

Do not measure the string at the narrowest point of the dog's neck, up near his ears, or at the very broadest point closest to his shoulders.

You should try to let the string lie where a collar would naturally sit, just a few centimeters from the base of his neck.

Mark the string or make a knot in the exact spot where the two ends meet. Then using a tape measure, measure the string to give you the circumference of your dog's neck.

Keep in mind that most collars will be adjustable. So when you’re searching for one online, make sure to check the range that the collar can adjust to. 

When is a Tactical Dog Collar needed?

A dog wearing a tactical collar

Families who like to include their dogs in their active lifestyle should consider getting a tactical dog collar.

They’re great for outdoor camping or hiking in large open spaces. You’d also want a tactical collar with a good grab handle for your dog if you take him on hunting trips.

Hunting dogs have a natural drive to seek out and attack their prey. They can get over-excited and run off after the game. This can ruin the hunt or, even worse, they can get hurt in the process.

So make sure that the collar you choose is sturdy enough to keep them safe.

But it’s not just on outdoor excursions that you want to use a tactical dog collar. Some dog owners just love having complete control over their dogs when going to the park or during training.

A final thought

Tactical dog collar 7

Tactical dog collars are an essential piece of gear for any medium or large-sized dog. Get one that is tough enough to withstand any situation yet comfortable enough that your best friend won’t even know he’s wearing one.

Make sure you check out a company's size and materials guide when doing online shopping to ensure you get the right collar for your dog the first time.

Shop Sparkpaws tactical dog collar range with a matching leash.  Our collars have a quick-release buckle, neoprene padding and a control handle that is great for training and emergency situations.