While some owners balk at the idea of using an aversive training collar for their pup, others find it an effective and humane way to break bad leash habits.
The goal of using a chain collar is not to strangle or choke your dog, despite the name hinting at this, but rather to deliver a slight squeezing sensation to your dog’s neck on demand. When your dog isn’t pulling, there’s no tension applied.
If you decide to add one of these dog chain collars to your training arsenal, the most important thing is not to allow your dog to keep pulling against the choke chain. Training is the key to using this type of collar. It is not simply a behavior control device.
A chain collar doesn’t make a practical solution for dog owners with dogs that pull continuously on the leash because this can lead to pulled muscles or more serious injuries to the trachea.
Still, if you’re considering using a training collar, finding the most effective and humane choice can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Luckily, we do. We sorted through dozens of options, so you don’t have to. Take a look at our top 5 below – plus another 5 honorable mentions!
Our Top Picks
|Best Overall: Max And Neo Stainless Steel Martingale||This collar offers a great range of sizes and colors, and its steel and nylon construction is durable enough to last for years. We especially love that for every collar sold, the manufacturer donates another to a rescue shelter!||Check Price|
|Best Martingale Chain Collar: Mighty Paw Martingale Collar||We love that the Mighty Paw offers a gentle but firm correction for dogs who need a bit of training but for whom a strongly-aversive collar isn’t the right choice. The two leash attachments and reflective stitching for visibility are the cherry on top.||Check Price|
|Best Value: SGODA Dog Training Choke Collar||The SGODA choke collar is a tough, no-frills option that is great for training big dogs who need a strong hand – its simple design and rugged stainless steel construction can take a beating. It’s built to last but it won’t break the bank.||Check Price|
|Best Prong Collar: Supet Dog Prong Collar||This collar is durable and long-lasting and features an ergonomic snap closure for convenience. The smooth prong design evenly distributes pressure when your dog pulls, providing correction without being overly aversive.||Check Price|
|Best Leather Chain Collar: Mighty Paw Leather Martingale Collar||The second Mighty Paw on our list is a great choice for sighthounds, like Greyhounds, who have long necks and narrow heads. The wide leather collar helps provide a firm but humane correction without slipping.||Check Price|
How We Chose the Best Choke Collars
We began by researching dozens of training collars, collected from many different retailers, from Mighty Paw to Max and Neo, to find the choke collars pet owners loved most. From that lineup, we picked 10 to fully review.
In our review, we ranked our picks based on how effective they are as training collars, how flexible the sizing options are, whether they’re durable enough to last as long as you need for them to accomplish their purpose with your pup, and how much control you have over the intensity of sensation and your dog’s movements.
Check out our top 5 below – plus 5 honorable mentions!
READ MORE: Best Wide Dog Collars. We tested the best wide dog collars for large and extra-large breeds… here’s what we discovered!
Best Chain and Prong Collars
1. Best Overall: Max and Neo Stainless Steel Martingale Chain Collar
Material: Nylon | Width: 1 inch | Brand: Max and Neo | Features: Snap Buckle | Dogs: Small to Large Breeds
What We Liked
- Durable combo of stainless steel and nylon
- Lockable snap buckle
- Manufacturer donates to dog rescue organizations with each purchase
What We Didn’t Like
- Color can rub off into pale fur
Our overall favorite dog chain collar comes from the highly reputable Max and Neo. Marrying nylon with stainless steel, you benefit from a collar that’s built to last while also allowing you to take firm control of your dog.
The martingale design means this collar tightens as your dog pulls, but stops before it squeezes too much. It’s sturdy enough for feisty dogs but gentle enough for more moderate training. If your dog is prone to slipping his collar, this chain collar is a smart solution.
Available in a variety of sizes to suit most breeds, you can also choose from 7 bright colors. We found some scattered complaints about these colors bleeding and discoloring the dog’s fur, but we didn’t have this trouble during our testing.
For each collar this brand sells, they donate a collar to a dog rescue shelter. Pay it forward when you invest in this first-class chain training collar.SEE PRICE ON AMAZON SEE PRICE ON CHEWY
2. Runner-Up: Mighty Paw Martingale Collar
Material: Nylon and Stainless Steel | Width: 1 inch | Brand: Mighty Paw | Features: Multiple leash attachments | Dogs: Small to Large Breeds
What We Liked
- 2 integrated leash attachments
- Limited-cinch martingale design for compassionate control
- Can double as a regular collar
What We Didn’t Like
- Plastic closure clip is somewhat fragile
Next up is another martingale collar and our favorite of the martingale class lineup. Originally developed for sighthounds with long necks and small heads, this broad collar tightens if your dog pulls, but it won’t choke him as you correct his behavior.
This collar comes with a pair of leash attachments built-in, and although it works well for training purposes, it is gentle enough that you can also use this as an everyday collar.
Made from a robust nylon webbing with neat reflective stitching, this leash is comfortable and visible – a very practical choice for walks in the daytime and a good collar for nighttime walks.
While this collar’s overall build quality and hardware are impressive, the fragile plastic buckle leaves something to be desired, as we found it’s easy for a strong dog to break the connecting clip.SEE PRICE ON AMAZON
3. Best Value: SGODA Dog Training Choke Collar
Material: Stainless Steel | Width: 1.25 inches | Brand: SGODA | Features: Snap Buckle | Dogs: Large Breeds
What We Liked
- Chain collar ideal for training
- Heavy-duty 404 stainless steel construction
- Durable and aversive enough for use on large, feisty dogs
- Really affordable price point
What We Didn’t Like
- Too harsh for daily use
- Best for large breeds only
If you’re looking for a cheap dog chain collar, SGODA serves up this stainless steel collar that outperforms its budget pricing. What do you get for your money, then?
Made from 404 stainless steel, this collar can withstand some serious punishment, allowing you to take charge of larger and more energetic dogs without choking them.
Choose from an array of sizes and thicknesses to suit your dog and enjoy a premium chain collar at a rock-bottom price point.
The drawback to this collar is that we feel it’s too aggressive for daily use. This is a collar that should be used for training sessions only and discontinued once the dog has learned good walking manners.SEE PRICE ON AMAZON
4. Best Prong Collar: Supet Dog Prong Collar
Material: Stainless Steel and Nylon | Width: 1.25 inches | Brand: Supet | Features: Snap Buckle | Dogs: Small to Large Breeds
What We Liked
- Pinch collar spreads pressure evenly when your dog pulls
- Snap closure makes it a pinch to get on and off
- Durable and lasts a long time
What We Didn’t Like
- Fixed back can strain your dog’s throat if they pull too hard
Prong collars look intimidating but perform essentially the same function as a choke collar. Many pet owners dislike using these collars and we’re not here to convince you otherwise.
If you don’t mind occasionally using an aversive collar, how does this prong collar shape up?
If your dog pulls on the leash while wearing this collar, the prongs will pinch into his neck. As long as he behaves himself, they lay flush against his skin.
This is a great choice for dogs who need some gentle correction, but if your dog is very headstrong, a choke chain or a no-pull harness is a better choice.
This collar is meant to be used only for training sessions and should be discontinued as soon as the dog has learned to walk without pulling or jumping.SEE PRICE ON AMAZON
5. Best Leather Chain Collar: Mighty Paw Leather Martingale Collar
Material: Leather and Stainless Steel | Width: 1 inch | Brand: Mighty Paw | Features: Wide Strap | Dogs: Small to Large Breeds
What We Liked
- Rugged but comfortable construction
- Elegant appearance
- Trainer-supported collar
- Martingale loop design
What We Didn’t Like
- Color from leather can bleed into fur
For anyone seeking the comfort and good looks of a leather collar for their dog combined with the durability of stainless steel, Mighty Paw serves up a great martingale collar.
As with all collars styled like this, you’ll give your dog a gentle cue when he’s pulling rather than pinching his throat or choking him. When the dog pulls, the martingale loop closes delivering a slight restriction that is not abusive but encourages gentle walking.
It’s a great choice if you don’t feel comfortable with a prong collar but need some correction, or if you have a dog with a long neck and slim head, like a Greyhound.
Made by a family-owned company in the USA, this collar comes highly recommended by dog trainers and is one of the most effective leather chain collars you’ll find. It looks good and works great.
We did find the finishing on the leather can bleed into your dog’s fur, so if your dog has a paler coat, be prepared to wash them a little more often while you’re breaking this collar in!SEE PRICE ON AMAZON SEE PRICE ON CHEWY
|Products||Best Overall: Max and Neo Stainless Martingale Chain Collar||Best Martingale Collar: Mighty Paw Martingale Collar||Best Value: SGODA Dog Training Choke Collar||Best Prong Collar: Super Dog Prong Collar||Best Leather Chain: Mighty Paw Leather Martingale Collar|
Our clear favorite was the Max and Neo Stainless Steel Martingale Chain Collar. It offers incredible versatility and safety at a great price point, is adjustable enough for dogs of all sizes, gives plenty of control, and is tough enough to last for years.
READ MORE: Best Cuban Link Dog Collars. Popular among Pitbull, Doberman, and Rottweiler owners, Cuban Link collars give your dog a strong and stylish appearance. We tested the top collars for dogs of all sizes and breeds!
How to Choose the Best Choke Collar
Consider Your Dog’s Behavior
A basic choke or chain collar tightens as your dog pulls. These devices are simple but highly effective, consisting of a length of chain with a ring attached to either end.
The chain collar is not designed to strangle or choke your dog, despite the name hinting at this, but rather to deliver a slight squeezing sensation to your dog’s neck on demand.
When your dog is not pulling, there is no tension applied. The sensation is aversive but not harmful and is used as a training tool for dogs with unpredictable and feisty leash behavior.
They are not the best choice if your dog continuously pulls on the leash, as continuous (instead of intermittent) pulling against a choke chain can cause trachea damage. For a dog with a consistent pulling habit, we recommend a harness with a martingale loop and a front-connecting D-ring for the leash.
If your dog needs a training collar, but a choke collar is too strong, you might consider a prong or a martingale collar.
A prong collar operates on the same principle as a choke collar but uses a moderate pinching mechanism from the prongs when your dog pulls. As soon as your dog stops pulling, the prongs lie flat and comfortably against your pup’s neck.
On the other hand, a martingale collar has a stopping mechanism that prevents the collar from tightening past a certain point, allowing you to use much less pressure to correct your dog pulling on the leash.
Read More: The Best Dog Harnesses. Check out our list of no-pull harnesses tried and tested!
Take comfort and your dog’s neck shape into consideration when choosing a collar. The thin chain of a choke collar may not be the best choice if your dog has a long neck and slim head, but the wide band of a martingale may not provide enough pressure if you have a stocky, strong dog.
Additionally, take temperature (no one wants to wear a steel collar in freezing weather!), fur length, and thickness into consideration.
Sizing Your Dog
Each product you look at will have a sizing guide and/or chart for you to reference when choosing a size for your dog. Always take your dog’s measurements before buying a collar to ensure the best fit.
See our article How to Use a Dog Training Collar for a walkthrough to help you find the type that works best for your dog.
Here’s a brief look at the 5 options that didn’t make our list of top picks.
1. Mogoko Personalized Stainless Steel Dog Choke Chain – Considered for Best Overall
This stainless steel choke chain is a strong and effective training aid for your dog. The laser-etched doggie ID ensures your pup is instantly recognizable if he runs off and allows you to customize the collar.
However, it’s best suited for dogs who need strong correction. If you prefer a less aversive training aid, the Max and Neo Stainless Steel Martingale Chain Collar is a better pick.
2. W&W Lifetime Gold Dog Chain Collar – Considered for Best Overall
Available in a huge range of sizes, this collar comes with a clasp enclosure, and is perfect if your dog needs some correction without sacrificing the pizazz. It’s sturdy enough to withstand becoming a chew toy, as well.
However, multiple reviewers noted that the back clasp can pop open, so we prefer the reliability of the Max and Neo Stainless Steel Martingale Chain Collar.
3. W&W Lifetime Durable Training Collar – Considered for Best Value
If you want your dog looking mean in a stainless collar treated with a matte black finish, this is the collar for you. W&W Lifetime gives you a wide choice of sizes and comes with a money-back guarantee during the first 3 months after purchase.
It’s sturdy and well-priced, but the SGODA Dog Training Choke Collar has an even lower price, and its stainless steel construction doesn’t have the same tendency to discolor your dog’s fur.
4. Herm SPRENGER Ultra-Plus Prong Dog Collar – Considered for Best Prong Collar
Assuming you’re comfortable with the mechanics of this aversive collar, you’ll be impressed with the build quality. Adjustable for sizing by removing links, this is a versatile and effective training collar.
However, we found the Supet Dog Prong Collar a more universal and versatile option for more regular use.
5. Sleepy Pup Adjustable Leather Martingale – Considered for Best Leather Chain Collar
This beautiful leather collar comes in enough colors and sizes to suit all types of dog breeds and provides secure control over your pup. However, the buckle tends to break, so we found the Mighty Paw Leather Martingale to be a more reliable choice.
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