Types of Collars, Harness and Leash - How to Choose the Right One?
Choosing a collar, harness and leash for your dog used to be a relatively simple task. But with the advent of modern times, there have been many more options that can be difficult to choose from. Which option is best for your dog?
Here, we guide you to choose the ideal dog collars, leashes, and harnesses for your little pet companion.
A piece of material worn around a dog's neck is called a collar. A great dog collar is sturdy, suitably fitted, comfortable, and, most importantly, it can keep up with your dog's lifestyle. You should buy a collar that is best suited for your dog's breed and behaviour whether you're ready to take them for a walk or as a statement.
There are 4 types of Collars
- Flat Collar
- Slip Collar / Choke Collar
- Martingale Collar
- Head Collar
- Prong / Pinch Collar
1. Flat Collar
A flat collar is the most basic dog collar and pretty much every dog owner is familiar with it. A simple, basic design loops around your dog's neck and closes with a plastic clasp. It could also be shaped like a belt with metal loops.
- A flat collar is best for well-mannered dogs who do not pull when walking.
- They are gentle enough for everyday use, provided it's properly fitted.
- Most flat collars come in various sizes and can be easily adjusted as needed.
- A flat collar might not be suitable for over-excited dogs or dogs who tend to pull.
- It can strangle and strain your dog's neck or easily slip out, letting your dog run in the opposite direction and easily escape.
2. Slip Collar / Choke Collar
A slip collar simply slips over your dog’s neck.
- Slip collars are best suited for large, strong and untrained dogs.
- These collars keep dogs that may be a danger to others or themselves from escaping and assist in keeping them under control.
- The slip design increases the risk of neck and trachea damage.
- If not used properly or with care, it can be fatal.
- If you take the collar for better control, it is important not leave your dog unassisted in this collar.
3. Martingale Collar
A martingale collar is a hybrid between a flat collar and a slip collar.
- The collar is designed in a special way that consists of two loops that allows it to rest loosely on your dog's neck, when there is no tension.
- When the dog tries to flee, this collar gets somewhat tighter around its neck; however, when the dog settles down, it becomes looser.
If this collar intrigues you, check our article "What is a Martingale Collar" where we tell you everything you need to know about a Martingale Collar.
- Since this collar runs the risk of becoming tangled or hooked to other objects, martingale is only appropriate for walking and should never be worn unsupervised.
- It is also not suitable for small breeds or dogs that have a weak neck. A harness will then be a better choice for such dogs.
4. Head Collar
The head collar, also known as a head halter, is a type of collar that is used to control the dog's head rather than the neck. It is designed in such a way that it fits over your dog's snout and attaches behind the ears.
- It is great equipment for teaching your dog to walk without pulling.
- In this type of collar, the dog's own momentum is used to restrain him.
- It will enable your dog to eventually learn how to walk with a loose leash and be less distracted.
- Some dogs are hesitant to wear a head collar and might attempt to remove it. However, in such cases you can use treats as an incentive to get your dog to wear it.
- It is also important to take care and try not to harshly jerk your dog’s head as it can cause severe injuries.
5. Prong or Pinch Collar
The prong collar is a series of chains that are connected to each other with the needles ends facing the dog’s neck. This collar is rather a controversial choice.
- It can be an effective tool for training difficult and tough dogs.
- This type of collar may only be used for correcting severely aggressive dogs or heavy pullers.
- It may not be a right choice as it has an abusive design that causes your dog undue discomfort and neck injury.
- It is similar to a martingale collar, however the primary loop around the dog's neck is composed of prongs that poke the dog when pulled, inciting a bite.
Also, we strongly encourage you to consult a professional trainer first before you decide to use a prong collar for your dog.
A harness is designed to relieve tension on your dog's neck. It slips around your dog's front legs and snaps securely behind the upper portion of your dog's back. There are 4 main types of dog harnesses:
- front-clip harness
- back-clip harness
- dual-clip harness
- step-in harness
1. Back-Clip Harness
Back clip harnesses are one of the most basic and adaptable options that are available. The harness places the D-ring for leash attachment on the dog's back, hence the name.
- Back clip dog harnesses are easier for dogs to adjust to than other forms of dog harnesses.
- Small dog breeds with delicate throats or necks would benefit from the back clip dog harness.
- One major con of the back-clip harness is, it may aggravate pulling issues because dogs move in the opposite direction of force exerted, so if you're pulling on top, they'll pull forward.
2. Front-Clip Harness
The front clip and back clip dog harnesses are similar in design, except that the D-ring for leash attachment is located on your dog's chest.
- If your dog is a puller, a front clip harness is recommended.
- The main disadvantage of this type of leash is that it could easily get caught in your dog's legs because the D-ring for leash attachment is on the front.
3. Dual-Clip Harness
Depending on your dog's behaviour, you can attach the leash to the front or back of your dog with a dual-clip harness.
- If you have a double-ended leash, you can attach it to both clips at the same time, thereby gaining complete control over your dog.
- With a dual-clip harness, the pressure is applied uniformly and on many spots throughout the body which prevents yanking-related neck injuries.
4. Step-In Harness
For dogs who dread having a harness put on over their heads, a step-in harness is perfect. After your dog steps into the two loops formed by the straps of the harness, pull the side straps up and secure them around your dog's back.
- Step-in harnesses are very simple to use and are also easily adjustable.
- They are usually best for smaller dog breeds.
- If your dog is easily excited or uncooperative, getting them into this harness may be a bit of a task for you.
A leash is a rope or other similar material that is used to control an animal by fastening it to a collar, harness, or halter. For daily walks and exercise, any leash will suffice, but if your dog has a unique behaviour or you're attempting to teach them a specific ability, there are specific leashes designed to meet your needs.
There are 4 types of Leashes -
- Standard Leash
- Retractable Leash
- Adjustable Leash
- Chain Leash
1. Standard Leash
The most common type of dog leash is the standard leash. It's commonly constructed of nylon or leather and comes in various thicknesses.
- It is easy to use as these leashes will attach to the dog’s collar with a simple metal clasp.
- Since the majority of standard leashes have a flat structure. you might want to explore a round rope construction if you have a sturdy or strong dog.
2. Retractable Leash
A retractable leash is a very adjustable leash, i.e., you can adjust the length of the leash to give your dog freedom of mobility.
- They function similar to a measuring tape, with an extendable nylon cord and a locking mechanism in the plastic handle that allows you to secure the leash at various lengths.
- Retractable leashes enhance tugging behaviours in dogs, so we only recommend them for dogs who have already been trained to walk well on a leash.
3. Adjustable Leash
Adjustable leashes are a combination of standard leashes and retractable leashes.
- Adjustable leashes allow you to customize the length of the leash.
- They are ideal for training since they may be lengthened as your dog improves.
- These leashes are significantly shorter than retractable leashes, ranging from three to six feet in length.
4. Chain Leash
A chain leash is a string of metal that is used as a leash in place of fabric.
- Mostly useful for large, strong and aggressive dogs as they are tough, resilient and almost indestructible.
- Due to its metal construction, this leash is heavy to carry in comparison to the other leashes.
The Bottom Line
"In ideal conditions, you want to have a trained dog and not have to use anything but a flat collar but at times, we are not perfect pet parents"
When choosing a collar, remember the ideal is to have your dog walk alongside you without pulling or lunging, and a flat or standard collar should be sufficient.
The rest of the collars are used to control bad behaviours that should be corrected with training your dog over time.
You can always consult a professional to teach your dog to walk nicely on a leash, or to teach you how to use any of these devices.
We hope that this blog has helped you decide which collar, leash or harness will be perfect for your furry mate!
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