Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Collars & Leashes - A Match Made In Heaven?

Dress Your Dog For Success

We live in a neighborhood with a lot of foot traffic, bikers, and dog walkers.  I often look out my window and see people walking their dogs with the most interesting leash and collar combos. It's obvious that the average dog guardian doesn't know that best way to "dress" their dog for walking success. I'm the last person to pass judgement, there was a time when I too didn't know what was best for my dog, so they simply wore flat buckle collars. Now I use different collar choices for different situations, but my dogs always have a flat buckle collar on for safety. A flat buckle collar is an easy way to ensure I can always can grab my dogs collar if need be and their tags are present.  Here's some different options that will dress your dog for walking success!


Wear This, Not That...


Everyday Attire:
Features- Flat Buckle Collar, and 4 to 6 foot nylon leash. Safe for dogs and owners. Sturdy, reliable, washable. Ideal for most dog breeds.

Downfalls- Won't discourage pulling. Some dog can slip a flat buckle collar. Not ideal for dogs with small heads and high flight risks (such as fearful dogs.)


Flat Buckle Collar


Puller Attire:
Features- No Pull Harness, and 4 to 6 foot nylon leash. Safe for dogs and owners. Sturdy, reliable, washable. Ideal for many dog breeds. Discourages pulling, without correcting or hurting the dog. Makes walking strong dogs much easier. Sized properly, dogs can't slip the harness. Removes tension from the neck, decreasing the dogs desire to pull and preventing neck injury.
Downfalls- Not ideal for small breed dogs. Often difficult to size large breed dogs and big barrel chested dogs. Some harnesses loosen overtime and need to be monitored closely. Chaffing can occur with short coated dogs.

No Pull Harness


Close Encounter Attire:
Features- Head Harness, and 4 to 6 foot nylon leash. Sturdy and washable. Discourages pulling by applying gentle pressure to the top of the dogs nose. Works well in tight situations like the vet's office, particularly with reactive dogs, where handlers may need more control. Humane if used properly.
Downfalls- Not ideal for short-nosed breeds. Can cause neck injuries if used improperly or if a dog becomes extremely reactive with jumping/lunging.  Head harnesses should not be used for correcting dogs.

Head Harness 


Flighty Attire:
Features- Martingale collar, and 4 to 6 foot nylon leash. Sturdy, washable, and reduces the risk of the dog slipping their collar. As the dog pulls, jumps, dashes, panics or back-peddles the collar slides tighter so the dog cannot slip the collar. Humane if used properly.
Downfalls- Does not discourage dogs from pulling. Can cause neck injuries if used improperly. This type of collar could get  stuck on objects, tightening as the dog tries to free itself, the outcome could be catastrophic.



Martingale Collar


Dress For Stress & Strain?

No Pull Harness and Retractable Leash
Why it doesn't work: The harness is intended to discourage pulling while the retractable leash encourages dogs to run freely, pulling without boundaries until they hit the end of the roll out leash.



No Pull Harness and Retractable Leash



Head Harness and Retractable Leash
Why it doesn't work: The head harness is intended to discourage pulling while the retractable leash encourages dogs to run freely, pulling without boundaries until they hit the end of the roll out leash. Hitting the end of the retractable leash while using a head harness could cause injury to a dog.


Head Harness and Retractable Leash



Prong/Pinch Collar and Retractable Leashes or ANY Leash
Why it doesn't work: Prong Collars are painful to dogs and can injure dogs. Prong collars don't teach dogs how to walk on a leash, but gives the dog a painful correction when the dog naturally pulls or does something the owner/handler feels is wrong. The use of these collars can be dangerous to a dog's physical well being and mental well being. This type of collar enforces fear in dogs, in some cases causing dogs to become reactive (barking/lunging/growling) towards people and/or dogs after a repetitions of corrections.


Prong Collar


Electronic Collars (E-Collars) aka Shock Collars
Why it doesn't work: Shock Collars are aversive to dogs because dogs are receiving an electronic shock. These collars can cause injury. Like prong collars these devices don't teach dogs how to walk on a leash. The use of these collars can be dangerous to a dogs physical well being and mental well being. Dogs with fear based behavioral problems often have increased anxiety, fear and aggression with the use of shock collars and prong type collars. 


Shock Collar

"A dog is one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk." O. A.

It's not fun walking an unruly dog on leash.  The good news, it's fairly easy to to teach your dog to walk on a leash.  Even better,  there is equipment (collars, leashes  and harnesses) that are humane and effective in helping you achieve the peaceful walk you dream about with your dog.

I'd like to know, what are your favorite brands of collars and leashes? How have they helped your dog on walks?




Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to be used as a training guide. Please contact a local positive based trainer for hands on help.

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