By 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.
Harness 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
Read more articles by Langley Cornwell