Walking your dog is a wonderful way to bond with your pet, but as you may have noticed, it’s also a great way to get frustrated fast. Dogs are always very in touch with their surroundings, and easily can get excited at everything they see—squirrels, vehicles, other people and their pets. That’s one of the reasons they tend to run ahead and pull on the leash.
You can make walking with your dog safer, easier, and more fun for both of you by choosing the right leash and collar. The best leash and collar depends on the breed of your dog, your dog’s age, your dog’s personality, and other factors. You probably even want a couple of different leashes for a single dog. Different situations call for different equipment.
First, let’s talk about leashes. The leash you choose determines how far your dog can wander. Since it’s also what you hold onto, the material you choose can determine your comfort leather. Some pet owners for example prefer leather to fabric, while others find fabric more comfortable in their hand. Here are the main types of leashes and their advantages and disadvantages:
- Leather or fabric leash, four to six feet: This type of leash will limit your dog’s reach, and will be perfect for training or walking down the sidewalk.
- Chain leash: The main purpose of this type of leash is to have something for a dog that likes to chew through fabric or leather. Chain leashes can be unwieldy on your end, however, so you probably want to avoid them unless you really need one.
- Retractable leash: This is a good choice for outings in wide open areas like the dog park. Don’t use this type of leash for a puller, though, and know that retractable dog leashes are the ones that tend to get wound around peoples’ legs. Don’t use this type of leash while you and your dog are playing, and don’t use it in an area with low visibility.
- Long dog leash (10-30 feet): A long dog leash for the yard or beach or other open areas can be great for letting your dog explore, and for training your dog to come to you when you call her. These leashes pose the same difficulties as the retractable ones.
While you are shopping for leashes for your dog, you are probably also shopping for the right dog collar. Here are some of the most common types of dog collars:
- Flat buckle collar or snap collar: These are perfect everyday collars. They are comfortable and your dog can wear them at all times. They can be cute and stylish, and can carry your dog’s identification information. Some dogs however can slip out of them, and they will not help with pulling problems.
- Martingale collar: This will prevent the slipping-out issue discussed above, but will still not reduce pulling behaviors.
- Front-clip harness: These harnesses are great for reducing pulling. They can be difficult to size properly.
- Regular harness: These harnesses are ideal for dogs that have certain medical concerns, but may not be a good option for pullers, as they can actually encourage that behavior.
- Head halter: This type of collar looks similar to a muzzle, but isn’t, since it fits over your dog’s head. They are designed to reduce pulling, and can be even more effective than a front-clip harness. Many dogs take to them well and find them comfortable. Some however never take to wearing them. Whether this is a good option for your dog depends on his personality.
Avoid these types of collars:
- Choke chains: Only certified dog trainers should go anywhere near these. They can cause tracheal damage and heighten aggression if used improperly.
- Prong collars: Like choke chains, these can be easily misused, and can cause pain and worsen behavior problems.
You now should have a better idea how to select the right collar and leash for your pet. Think about your dog’s temperament. Is she a puller? Consider where you will be walking. Will you be on a sidewalk? In a dog park? You will probably do best choosing a couple of different collars and leashes which are suitable for different situations.