Collars and Their Meanings – By Kim Debron

Collaring is the expression used by people in the D/s lifestyle to describe the beginning of a relationship between a Dominant and a submissive.

A formal collaring ceremony which is the final step, is akin to a wedding and denotes the same level and depth of commitment between the two people involved.

There are various types of collars, and not all are used in every relationship – it really is the personal choice of the Dominant.

The different types of collars are as follows:

Collar of Protection

A collar of protection is denoted by the initials of the protecting Dominant and a small P to signify that protection.
It means that the submissive is under the protection of that particular Dominant, often due to a failed or abusive relationship, or the fact that she maybe being stalked or harassed.
Wearing a protection collar gives the submissive time to heal if needed, and the security of knowing she is safe when out and about, as she is under protection. She is literally unapproachable without the knowledge of the protecting Dominant.
Usually, it is a Dominant of high standing in the community that is approached for, or offers protection. There is no time limit on a collar of protection, it is there for as long as it is needed.

Collar of Consideration

A collar of consideration is often the very first step in a potential new relationship between a Dominant and submissive.
This collar is usually worn for an agreed period of time, and at the end of that time, it can be renegotiated, or the relationship can go to the next step, or both parties can decide to go separate ways.
A collar of consideration is not offered or accepted lightly, it denotes more than just a casual interest and both parties should understand the underlying meaning behind this commitment.
It is an indication to other Dominants that this submissive is basically off limits whilst in the “consideration” period, and it signifies the beginning of a potentially committed relationship.
It is not, however, a lifelong commitment, and there should never be any blame attached to either party, if at some stage one or other decides to withdraw from the situation.

Training collar

A training collar is the second step, and will be offered by the Dominant, usually after a consideration collar has been in place for a certain period and the next level is agreed upon.
Usually, there will have been many discussions about likes, dislikes, needs and desires, and discoveries about personalities and characteristics, with the underlying factor that there is real potential for this relationship to go deeper, and more committed than before.
A training collar is almost equivalent to an engagement ring, and usually involves the same emotions, feelings and responsibilities.
It signifies to other Dominants and submissives that this relationship is now on a more serious level, and has the potential to be a long term commitment.
The Dominant may now move into other areas of training and discipline and can often demand higher standards from the submissive than before.
The submissive, on accepting a training collar, should have a good understanding of what is required of her – and should be very much aware that her behaviour is a reflection of the training she is receiving from the Dominant whose collar she wears.
The collar is also a symbol of the devotion and commitment the submissive has for the Dominant.
At this stage, there can often be conflicts in the minds of both Dominant and submissive. The Dominant now has the added responsibility of this particular submissive, and it may well curtail His exploration of other submissives, unless of course it is agreed beforehand that there will be others involved.
The submissive can struggle to reconcile her mind to her submission, and her commitment to one person. She is no longer available for other potential Dominants, and this can lead to feelings of less personal freedom in her life than before.
Subconscious testing of the relationship’s strength is often an underlying current, as both parties want to see how strong the commitment is. Insecurities and doubts are brought to attention, and often raise their ugly heads when there is no need. These elements must be faced and conquered if the relationship is to move to the next and final step.
Honesty and trust are paramount in any relationship, but more so at this stage as this is the final building block for the ultimate final step.

A training collar can also be used in another way. A Dominant can give a training collar to a particular submissive, in order to train and mentor her in correct behaviour and protocols whilst she is searching for her ideal Dominant with whom she will then pursue a serious lifelong D/s relationship.
The mentoring Dominant will help in the search, and will give advice and training whilst doing so. This submissive is treated as if owned by the Mentoring Dominant, until such times as she is released to another.
Again, as with protection collars, it is usually a Dominant of high standing and respect that becomes a Mentor.

Formal collar

This collar which is often known as the slave collar, is the ultimate goal and final step in a D/s relationship.
A formal collar is a recognition of the bond and attachment between the Dominant and submissive and bears the same level of commitment and deep feelings as a wedding ring. It shows devotion, mutual respect, and expresses the fact that the Dominant and submissive have the same ideals and desires to share their lives.
In giving this collar, the Dominant shows His commitment to care for the submissive, and be responsible for her. Acceptance of this collar by the submissive, is an offering of her complete submission to the Dominant, she gives the whole girl to him, heart, mind body and soul, and trusts Him to with her life.
It signifies trust, respect and commitment, elements that are crucial to a successful D/s relationship.
A formal collar is often given at a ceremony in front of friends and other D/s community members. It is a deeply emotional and heartfelt time for both parties, and it is an honour to be invited to such a ceremony.

As mentioned earlier, not all dominants use all collars and sometimes combinations are used instead.

My Master uses only two basic collars.

He has a Collar of Probation, which is signified by a blue tag with His initials and a small P, the same as a protection collar.
For Master, this collar signifies any or all of a number of situations. It encompasses a consideration collar, a protection collar and a training collar, and also is used for mentoring/training. We have more than one submissive in our family, and all have started with this collar, though not all have progressed to a full collar.
For a potential new submissive, Master will offer this collar after a couple of months of discussions, and get togethers, to make sure the significance of being part of our family is understood. The probation collar will be worn for an agreed period, usually around 6 months, and then the situation will be discussed.
During this time, the submissive has to learn about D/s and come to some understanding of Master’s rules and His way of life. He has extremely high standards and does not give His probation collar out lightly.

At the end of the probation period, Master may renegotiate, the submissive may choose to withdraw, or Master will promote the submissive to His full collar which is a red tag with “Property of MJ” – the colour has changed and the P is gone.
This is a lifetime commitment, and should not be considered as anything less.
Some people may find it hard to understand that Master Joe can have fully collared submissives who have their own lives, partners etc and do not live with Him on a full time basis, yet are owned by Him.
Master Joe is a traditionalist in the world of BDSM. He advocates that BDSM is not all about sex, and that it is more about protocols, manners, and mindset. It is because of this attitude that He can happily own several submissives at a time.
At the present time, He has three female submissives, one has been His fully collared submissive for 9 years, one is new and has just received her probation collar, and the other is myself.
When i first joined the family, there were a total of 5 submissives, but situations change, people sometimes change and their desires or direction changes also, and for various reasons, they move on.
I would also add that this is a rare situation, the majority of D/s relationships are more likely to be one on one, rather than a “family” such as ours.

Master also has one other collar, which is unique and only ever given once by Him. He calls it a “full collar with trimmings”.
This is the collar i wear and it is slightly different to Master’s usual full collar.
The collar i wear has no tag, instead it has a silver plate, riveted on, with “Property of MJ” engraved on it. The plate is permanent, unlike a tag which can be removed.

We had a formal collaring ceremony, to signify my permanent place in His life, as His girl, where we exchanged vows and made a deep commitment to each other.
Master’s other submissives also took part in the ceremony, as we all consider ourselves to be a family, and it was an important milestone for everyone involved.
In addition, i have been permanently marked, like being branded except that it is a tattoo, of Master’s own design and with His initials, again signifying that i belong to Him alone. On my leg i bear a mark which is a symbol for servant or slave. These are the extra elements of my “full collar with trimmings” – they are ‘the trimmings”.

Commitment is a vital part of any D/s relationship, and the giving and wearing of a collar brings this element to the forefront. It is a physical reminder to both parties, and to others around them, of the level of commitment and the depth of the relationship, between the Dominant and the submissive. A collar is not a fashion accessory and should never be viewed as such.