Category Archives: dog collars

How to Choose the Right Collar and Lead for Your Dog

collar maja dumatBy Langley Cornwell

Using the right dog collar and lead is important. It’s a tool you probably utilize every day when you take your pup out of the house; it’s required by law in most areas. And if your dogs are anything like mine, it’s the one thing (besides their CANIDAE dog food!) they have the biggest reaction to. When I pull out their leashes, it’s on. The house is filled with doggie happiness.

Choosing the right products are confusing, though. I remember a time when there weren’t so many options. Basic collars and leashes were the only things on the market, and the only choices you had were color and pattern. Times have changed and now there are so many options it can be overwhelming. Even more confusing—everyone has a strong opinion about what is “best.” With all the options and opinions out there, how do you decide?

Like most things, it depends on your purpose and your dog. Here are a few useful options on the market today.

Basic Collar and Leash

The basic collar fits comfortably around your dog’s neck and either buckles or snaps together. The basic leash is usually flat, 6-feet long and made of woven cotton or nylon. Regardless of the type of dog collar and lead you use on a daily basis, it’s good to have a basic set on hand. The basic leash is useful because of its versatility. Aside from the ability to walk your dog with it, in an emergency situation you can make a slip lead or a muzzle out of it.

This combination is best for calm, easygoing dogs without obedience problems. The basic collar and leash are not helpful for training purposes, so if that’s what you need, keep reading.

Snap-around Collar or Slip Lead

For dogs that require a few corrections along the walk, many experts recommend either a snap-around collar or a slip lead. These tools work great if your dog is easily distracted by joggers, bicyclers, squirrels, other dogs, etc., because the collar allows for quick corrections.

The snap-around collar can be fitted for your particular dog, while a slip lead is generic. Used correctly, a snap-around collar should fit high on your dog’s neck, just below her ears. It should be snug but not tight. On the other hand, slip leads are easy to put on and can be used for any size dog. Try both options and see which one you and your dog respond the best to.

With either a snap-around collar or slip lead, you must be cautious. These options should only be used for training purposes and not as your dog’s regular collar or lead.

collar kimberly gauthierHarness and Flat Lead

A harness and flat lead are the best option for brachycephalic dogs: Pugs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Boxers, Bulldogs, Shih Tzus and other breeds with pushed-in faces. They are also recommended for dog breeds that are likely to have throat or trachea problems like Pomeranians, and dogs with long, slender necks, like Greyhounds.

A standard harness that rubs between a dog’s front legs can stimulate her instinct to pull, which is good if you want your dog to pull you while you skate or ride your bike. If that’s not your goal, then look for a harness with a non-pull design which goes high around her chest and behind her front legs (instead of between her legs).

These are just some of the hundreds of the collar and lead options available today. You may have to try a few different types before you settle on what works best. In all cases, the leash and collar are important communication vehicles between you and your four-legged friend, and should be used with love and respect. For safety’s sake, when you are not training your dog make sure she has on a standard collar with ID tags attached.

What about you? Please tell us what’s your favorite dog collar and leash, and why?

Top photo by Maja Dumat
Bottom photo by Kimberly Gauthier

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Five Reasons to Use a Dog Harness

By Laurie Darroch

Your dog may need more than just a simple collar and leash to wear for a walk or an outing. They may need to use a harness as well. A harness helps with control and safety issues. Take these five reasons into consideration when you are deciding whether or not to purchase a harness for your dog.

Size of the Dog

Large or muscular dogs can be very strong. A harness can give you more control with your dog when you are out and about, even if your dog is not fully trained in good leash behavior.

Some smaller dog breeds may be more delicate and prone to injury. Wearing a harness disperses the pressure from one smaller area on the neck, to the back and the body. It spreads the stress over a larger surface area.

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Is Your Dog’s Collar on Securely?

By Tamara McRill

Putting on a dog collar should be an easy task, right? Pick one that fits your dog’s unique personality, slip it around his neck (not too tight), fasten, give your woofer an affectionate head rub and you’re good to go. At least that’s what I always thought, but it turns out there’s more that goes into making sure your dog’s collar is on nice and secure.

I found this out the hard and heart-stopping way, with my chocolate Labrador, Wuppy. We were all geared up to take a walk in our new neighborhood, which is super exciting when you’re a dog that loves the adventure of new locations. When Wuppy and I set off, he bounced right out of his collar!

See, Wuppy has a generous waddle – the loose skin around a dog’s neck – which, combined with his bouncy behavior makes keeping him in his dog collar a little tricky. Luckily for me, our older dog, Cody, was also in the yard with Mike. So Wuppy bolted straight to the two objects of his hero worship.

Go By Feel, Not Sight

The first thing I learned when I started researching how to properly make sure my dog’s collar was secure was that I was doing it wrong. No shocker there – he did escape. I was looking at Wuppy’s collar to see if it looked like it was loose enough, when I should have been feeling it.

A good rule of thumb for flat collars, which are the most common, is to make sure you can get two fingers underneath it. You simply slide your fingers in between the collar and your dog’s neck. If there is more space than that, try tightening it up a notch until it is tight enough to comfortably allow your fingers underneath. If you can’t get two fingers under the collar, then loosen it up because you could be accidentally hurting your dog’s throat.

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Unique “Message” Collars Can Make Dog Walking Safer

By Linda Cole

I have yet to find a dog who doesn’t enjoy going on walks. However, the problem is that not all dogs are leash trained, nor are they all friendly. Sometimes, a meeting between two dogs doesn’t go as well as both owners expected. I recently heard about a new idea in collars, leashes and harnesses, with messages that can help make dog walking safer for dogs, their owners and other people.

A company in the United Kingdom has come up with a simple way to send a clear signal to people approaching with their dog or someone just walking that tells them if a dog is friendly, isn’t interested in making a new friend, or needs space to stay calm. Dexil’s Friendly Dog Collars were designed to let strangers know what a dog’s temperament is like before they are near him. The purpose of the collars is to hopefully cut down on dog-on-dog encounters and dogs biting people who simply want to pet them. It’s a system based on a traffic light.

You can get a collar, lead or harness with a simple message embroidered in black on them. A green collar with the word “Friendly” means that the dog is good with adults, kids and other dogs. Orange with “No Dogs” means he’s happy to meet people, but he’s not good with other dogs. Red with “Caution” means to stay away, and do not approach this dog. He needs his space and doesn’t want you to pet him.

Other messages are available, including two for special needs pets. A gold color signifies a “Nervous” dog that may be unpredictable if approached. White is for a “Blind Dog” that may be limited in his sight or completely blind. White is also used for “Deaf Dog,” which means he’s hard of hearing or completely deaf. Blue says “Training,” for dogs being trained by their owner, so please do not disturb. Yellow is a good one for shelters and rescue groups; it says “Adopt Me.”

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