Dog Collars and Leashes: More than a fashion statement

Dog CollarA dog collar and leash is much more than a fashion statement for your dog. These essential pieces of equipment contribute to the training of your pet and their overall management, behavior, and control. With the right collar and the right fit, both you and your dog can have enjoyable and comfortable experience out walking in the park and in other public areas.

When considering what collar and leash combination is best, some important questions to ask yourself are:

  • Is this leash comfortable on my hand and wrist? Is it easy to grip and maintain control of the leash, or is there a danger of losing the leash?


  • Do I feel comfortable utilizing this leash? Am I able to appropriately and clearly communicate directions to my dog?


  • Does my dog seem comfortable in his collar or harness? Or is he scratching it or showing signs of wanting to get out of it?


  • Is the collar causing hair loss or skin irritation to my pet? Is it too tight? (Does it imprint on my dog’s neck?) Is it too loose? (Is it too easy to slip out of? Does it slide too easily around my dog’s neck or slip over my dog’s head?)

Does the leash or collar pose any dangers to my dog? For example, is my dog very active in its movements and more likely to be entangled in a retractable or long leash?

There is no one-type-fits-all collar and leash for dogs. Your pet’s breed, size, activity level, age, temperament, and personal comfort preference are all unique. It’s very possible that you’ll try out some different types of collars and harnesses before you find the right one.

Read over the following descriptions to help you decide what types of collars are right for you and your dog.

Basic Collar:

A simple circle of fabric, chain, leather, or nylon material. This type of collar can be worn all the time and can have identification and other information tags affixed to it.

Slip Collar:

A loop collar in which one end loops through a ring at the other end of the collar and is attached to the leash. Any tension on the leash will cause the collar to tighten.

Martingale Collar: A “U” of material affixed at both ends to a smaller loop of material. The large “U” goes around the dog’s neck and the leash is attached to the smaller loop. When tension is placed on the leash, the smaller loop is pulled out, drawing both ends of the “U” closer together, thus tightening the collar around the dog’s neck. Once the tension is released, the collar returns to its comfortable fit. This collar is also called a greyhound collar since it is useful on dog breeds whose heads are smaller than their necks and for whom it is too easy to slip out of a basic collar.

Head Halter: This type of halter consists of a loop over the dog’s snout that connects under the dog’s chin to another loop running high around the dog’s neck, as close to behind the ears as possible. More complex models of this harness can also connect to a dog’s basic collar around the neck. The leash attaches to the connecting ring under the dog’s chin, or it may attach at the back of the neck. If the dog pulls against the leash, the tension on the connecting ring causes pressure on the snout loop, pulling the dog’s nose in the direction of the leash, making it difficult for the dog to continue pulling in the opposite direction. The loop around the ears ensures that the snout loop does not slip forward off the dog’s nose.

Sporn Training Harness: This type of harness is a basic collar with two straps that run from the front of the collar, loop under the dog’s front legs, and attach to the collar and leash at the base of the neck. Tension on the leash causes pressure to be put in the joints of the dog’s front legs.

 Front Clip Harness: The basic front clip harness consists of a loop that runs around the dog’s shoulders and under its belly (just behind the front legs) and a second strap running across the dog’s chest to prevent the loop from slipping off the dog’s shoulders and down it’s back. The leash is secured to a ring or loop on the harness chest strap.

Regular Harness: A regular dog harness has the same shape of a front clip harness, but its leash attachment is located at the back of the dog’s neck or between its shoulder blades.

Differences in harnesses:

A front clip harness encourages you to lead your dog from the front or side. When tension is placed on the leash, the dog is turned toward you.

A Sporn harness connects in the back, so you gain control only by having a short hand on the leash when the dog is next to you or if the dog pulls out in front of you. When tension is placed on this halter, it pulls against the dog’s collar around the neck and lifts the straps under the dog’s legs. This may actually cause the dog to pull harder and work against the tension, increasing the pressure and lifting the front legs off the ground.

Regular harness: The regular harness connects the leash in the back. The main pressure caused by tension applies against the dog’s chest rather than the neck or legs. This harness is preferred for dogs with breathing or neck problems who should not have pressure put on their neck by collars. The shape of this harness actually encourages dogs to pull against it because it sits against the cst and shoulders where dogs are able to exert a good amount of force. Dog sled harnesses are similar in form to the regular dog harness.



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