Which Dog Collar and Leash to Use?
Have you found the best type of equipment for you and your puppy? Do you have good response with the collar and leash you are using? There are many types of collars and a few different types of leashes that I’d like to cover in today’s article.
Collars are used for training, restraint /control while leash walking and to hold identification and immunization tags, (in case of emergencies such as an accident, run away or theft.)
Leashes are used for training, leash walking, hunting and any kind of restraint or control along with a collar or harness.
· Measure the circumference of the dog’s neck and add 2″.
· Collars should fit comfortably on the dog’s neck.
· You should be able to put 2 fingers between the collar and the dog’s neck.
There are nylon, cloth, leather, hemp, webbing and chain, (metal) collars. There may be even more types of materials used, but these are the main materials used for dog collars. For young puppies and very sensitive dogs I recommend one of the wider sized flat collars that are available. With a wider size the collar doesn’t ‘bite in’ as much when pulling occurs or corrections are made. The material the collar is made from is totally a personal choice.
As your puppy gets older, if you find you have some training issues, you may choose to try a different type of collar for when you are training, leash walking, and out and about in public places. Some dogs do require a little more bite and with those dogs you can go to a narrower flat or round collar or a metal type. If you use what is commonly called a slip collar, (or sometimes a choke chain), I highly recommend that it be removed if you are not actively training with it. They can get hooked on things and truly choke a dog that panics when closely restrained.
One note…I have found that if you take your dog into the water a lot, you may want to avoid the leather collars. They seem to develop a bad smell after getting wet a few times. (Maybe it was just my dogs, but I have found it to be true with more than one dog.)
There are also the ‘metal prong’ collars that I have seen people use, which I do not recommend unless ALL other options are exhausted first. There is also the halter type of leads. I personally have no experience with the halter type leads but I have friends who swear by them for their BIG dogs. They couldn’t get them to lead comfortably until they started to use the halter lead and then they started to actually enjoy going for walks with their dogs.
Webbing, rope, chain, flexy type leads and combinations of different materials are all used for making leashes and leads for dogs. For leash walking and training, I like to use a 6 foot nylon or leather leash. I personally don’t use the flexy type leashes because I like my pups to stay near me and to just walk. They are allowed to go off and sniff around only when I stop and tell them they can ‘take a break’. Flexy leashes work well for a lot of people though. A lot just depends on the way you walk with your pup and whether you are training or not.
While training, the best type of leash gives you the most control. Unless you are specifically training for something like fetch or the recall, a 6 foot leash is all you should need. For games and training for the recall, may want to have a longer leash to use. A leash of 15 or 20 feet is a nice length for that type of training.
If you plan to teach your pup to stay tied to an object you will need a chain leash. A nylon or rope one will not do. A puppy can chew through a rope or nylon lead in a matter of seconds. Don’t be fooled into thinking yours won’t chew the leash and then you’re running across town looking for the little guy. Better to be safe. To train him to tie out, use a chain that he can not chew through, for his safety and your peace of mind.
One more note I’d like to bring up: There are many other types of collars out there that may or may not be something you will want to check into. There are collars for hunting that help you to track you dogs movements. There are also collars that give a dog a shock or a squirt of something in their face when they misbehave or while training for something specific like extreme barking. There are also show collars and studded collars just to name a few. These are all very specific types of collars that are used in very specific circumstances. This article leans not so much toward the specific types of equipment, but more towards the general purpose collars and leashes used in an everyday setting.
There is another option that some people choose and that is a harness. Again, just like in the collars, there is a large array of materials and types of harnesses. What harness you will use or purchase will largely depend on what you plan to do with your dog and how she responds to it. Some small dogs don’t need much for a harness, but if you plan to train for search and rescue or for hunting, you may want to get a more substantial type of harness to use. A more complete discussion on dog harnesses is something for another day, another article.
Sue Lee Ringwelski