Choosing a collar and leash for your dog

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The right dog collar and leash will make all the difference.
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Dog walking can actually be pleasurable if your dog is properly equipped.

Your dog regularly needs to be walked, particularly if he is shut up in the house all day while you are at work.
And, yes, even if his name is Cujo and walking him is akin to mud wrestling with a Herculean opponent, you still need to do it. You will find that your walks, or as some would describe them, pulls will be more successful and maybe even downright pleasurable if you and your dog are outfitted with the proper dog walking equipment by carefully choosing a collar and leash for your dog.

Select the appropriate dog collar and leash for your particular dog. Not all dogs are the same. Some require a little more guidance and control than others. The size of your dog and his temperament and rambunctious factor are also important determinants when selecting a collar and leash.

Your dog needs to be comfortable. If he is not, he is going to respond with bad behavior. Fixed circumference collars are usually recommended, regardless of the size your pooch. This kind of collar will not tighten when you tug on the leash. Fixed circumference collars come in cotton, nylon and leather. Always allow enough room to slip two fingers under the collar. In addition to this collar, dogs should be equipped with a buckle collar that holds their rabies shot information, ID tags and their license.


You may need to use a correction collar if your dog has a short attention span or is easily distracted. When your dog pulls on the leash, or when you pull on it, the collar tightens and this stops your from doing whatever it is he is doing. When you are not walking your dog, remove the corrective collar because a dog can get strangled on this type of collar when unsupervised. If you have a Yorkshire Terrier or a greyhound, or any dog that has a delicate windpipe, be extra careful when choosing a collar and leash and do not use a correction collar.

A dual action collar is a flat nylon collar that can be attached to the lead in one of two ways: You can attach the lead to both metal rings and the collar serves as a normal pre sized collar or you can attach the lead to the singular lead and the collar will then function as a gentle pinch collar.


If your dog is aggressive or fearful, using a head halter will work well. Halters give the handler more control and when the handles pulls up on the leash the mouth of your dog will be forcibly shut. If your dog has kennel cough or a delicate windpipe choose a body harness instead of a head halter. However, the body harness does not give the handler ideal control.

Retractable leashes are quite popular because it gives your dog some rope, so to speak, and the dog can play and explore. Using a retractable leash is a good way to teach your dog to come when you call for him. Your ability to control your dog is severely limited with a retractable leash, so they are not recommended in busy pedestrian areas, or for dogs who lunge and pull.


If you opt for a retractable leash when choosing a collar and leash for your dog, pick one that has a non-slip handle so you can easily grasp it and have good control of your canine. Another feature is quick release, which enables you to put on the brakes and lock the leash into a fixed position. This can be done with one hand.


Consider getting a leash that has reflective tape on it so that you and your dog can be seen at night. If you walk your dog in the rain, reflective tape is also a good safety precaution. Some types of rope or synthetic leashes have reflective or glow-in-the-dark properties.


Remember that the size of your dog is going to be a critical factor regarding the type of leash that you purchase.  


If your dog is frequently in water, nylon collars are a good choice. They are durable and washable. However, if your dog is an incorrigible chewer, do not buy a nylon collar. It will not last through the night. Sporting collars are colorful and visible. This is the kind of collar you need to buy if you have a hunting dog.


Leather collars wear well and last. Leather also softens the oils in the skin of your pet. Choose a rolled leather collar instead of a round one if you have a long haired dog. This type of collar prevents his hair from lying flat against the coat.


Choke chain, prong collars or training collars are only intended for training. These collars should only be used by an experienced trainer. The choke chain quickly tightens and applies pressure when the dog is being corrected. Do not use a choke chain collar on a dog that is tied. It can strangle him. A good option to a choke chain is a martingale collar, which has a chain loop threaded through each end of a fabric or web collar. This collar will tighten, but only to the circumference of the fabric. Many trainers consider this type of collar more humane than the traditional metal link choke collar.


Training and obedience classes are an excellent start to learning how to walk with your dog. An experienced instructor will help evaluate your dog's breed and temperament and make recommendations for choosing a collar and leash in the most effective combination.


References: Selecting the right dog collar and leash

Leerburg: How to fit a prong collar

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