Choosing the Right Collar and Leash
When you become a dog parent, you want to pamper your pup to no end — as you should! You’d get them high-quality food, buy new toys whenever you can, and take them for loads of playtime. But there’s one aspect where many pet parents tend to drop the ball — dog collars and leashes. After all, this is just a basic accessory, right?
Getting the right collar and leash for your pup is crucial to ensure its safety and comfort.
Watching your furry ball of energy running amok, chasing butterflies and squirrels, is cute. But — and there’s always a but, quips Charlie — there’s also a question of safety. Dogs are inquisitive animals, and if you let them, they’ll go off on an adventure outside for hours on end!
So, impulse control is essential — and the right accessories can help you with that.
Dogs are curious creatures, so it’s easy to lose control of them when they see or hear something interesting.
When that happens, they’ll throw caution to the wind and ignore your commands — and there all goes all the success you’ve had with training.
That is why investing in a collar and leash is so important.
And it’s not just a matter of restraint. These safety essentials will allow your canine to indulge in play while giving you peace of mind. For example, if your pet doesn’t heed your cues, you can give its leash a slight tug to reinforce the command and help your pet make the desired association.
Plus, collars offer a convenient place to hang identification tags. So, if the unimaginable happens and your dog door-dashes, it will give the person who finds them all the information they need to reunite your furry friend with you!
With the array of safety accessories for dogs available today, finding the right one for your pet can get challenging.
But don’t fret; Charlie’s here to make this endeavor as simple and straightforward as possible!
A choke collar is made of metal chains that sit loosely around your dog’s neck and is typically used to correct unwanted behaviors. This collar tightens around your dog’s neck when the leash is pulled, choking your dog and forcing it to relax to loosen the tension.
As you can’t limit how tightly it can be pulled, Charlie’s not a fan of this one!
A prong collar is a metal collar made of links, with small, blunt “prongs” inside the collar. They sit against your dog’s neck and dig into their skin when they try to pull tension on the leash, effectively keeping pets on their best behavior.
However, because they work by inflicting pain, Charlie strongly advises against using them.
A flat collar, or standard collar, is everyone’s go-to — and for good reason! This collar comes in different types, with a quick-release buckle being the most popular choice. It fits snuggly and is easy to attach and remove with the buckle or snap closure. Some flat collars also come with light-reflective strips for walking at night.
This breakaway collar, for example, features a quick-release mechanism that ensures your dog’s safety while also declaring just how spoiled your best bud is!
A head halter collar has two straps — one that goes around your dog’s neck behind its ears and another that goes around its nose and attaches to the leash. So, each time your dog pulls, it will cause its neck to turn towards you, controlling the amount of pulling power your dog has.
A martingale collar, or limited-slip or no-slip collar, is best suited for dogs with slender necks and smaller heads. It has a small chain linked to the collar rings, which tightens the leash evenly when pulled. This makes it virtually impossible for your dog to get loose and eliminates choking and other health risks.
A retractable dog leash works much like a measuring tape. The handle has a mechanism that allows you to release and retract the line as needed. But it’s not the best option when it comes to your dog’s safety.
Why Charlie advises against using them:
- They are pretty thin, so they can easily get tangled, causing injuries to your dog’s neck, throat, and spine. It can lead to breathing issues and comes with a risk of possible strangulation, which can be very painful for your dog.
- Depending on your dog’s size and strength, yanking the leash could cut off the circulation to your fingers or hand and may even result in finger amputation. This extends to dogs as well; they can also get tangled with the leash, causing injuries and, in some cases, even broken bones.
- The handle makes a lot of noise if accidentally dropped, which can cause your noise-sensitive dog to break loose and make uninvited contact with other pets and people.
- The locking mechanism can malfunction, especially in high-stress situations. If it gets stuck at the wrong time, it can be dangerous for everyone involved.
- Their length can cause your dog to impose on the personal space of other pets, which can make your pet seem threatening to those who are anxious. And since you can’t retract the leash fast enough, it may lead to risky situations.
- The cord is very narrow, so if you yank it suddenly to control your dog, it can cause you to sustain rope burns on the arms, legs, and other parts of the body.
Plus, if there’s too much slack on this leash, it gives your pet too much freedom of movement. This can make your dog feel as if it’s in control, which can encourage pulling. If it pulls hard enough, it could snap the lead, which would “retract” towards the handler, hitting them straight in the face and causing eye injuries.
An adjustable leash, or a multi-function leash, is the jack of all leashes. It has built-in loops and clips along the leash, allowing you to adjust the length and make it as short or as long as you want!
Slip leads, often called training leads, have a metal ring at the end, which you can use to make a loop and slip it around your dog’s neck — no collar needed! It offers easy on-off placement and tightens when your dog pulls at it, helping deter the behavior.
A standard leash, or a flat leash, has a loop on one end for you to grip and a clasp at the other, which attaches to your dog’s collar. Available in varying widths, lengths, and materials, this type of leash is one of the most basic and functional leashes you can opt for.
Charlie’s a fan of this plaid silicone dog lead. It’s perfect for giving your dog enough freedom of movement while still being sturdy enough to restrain your dog and prevent accidents!
How to Size Your Dog for the Right Collar
This guide will help you pick the right collar for your pup.
|Dog Weight||Collar Size|
|Up to 5 pounds||XXS|
Best suited for: Yorkshire Terrier and Chihuahua
|6-10 pounds||X Small|
Best suited for: Shih Tzu and Pomerians
Best suited for: Miniature Australian Shepherd
Best suited for: French Bulldogs and Pugs
Best suited for: Boxer
|76 pounds and above||X Large|
Best suited for: Doberman, Husky, and English Bulldog
*Make sure you check that you can fit two fingers under the collar so that it’s not too tight. Also, watch for wear and tear to deter your dog from making a surprise dash.
Collars and leashes ensure your pup’s safety while giving them varying levels of freedom of movement, keeping both you and your pooch happy. If you’re unsure what type of collar or leash would work best for your pet, you can ask a store employee or the veterinarian for expert advice.