Collars, Leashes and Harnesses
Not only for your pet’s safety and for the safety of those around you, but because it’s usually the law…leash up!
That’s right, most U.S. cities require that while out walking, dogs are kept under control and wear I. D. tags that show proof of rabies shots.
Since Fido should be leashed and probably has to be leashed, then it only makes sense that you should make sure you have the right walking accessories for your pet.
And hey, while you’re at it, you may as well make sure he looks his best too!
So what’s it gonna be? Neck collar or Harness?
To help you make an informed decision, here are a few points to consider.
What’s the difference?
Everyday collars (as opposed to metal training collars which are not discussed in this article) come in a variety of colors and prints in both leather and nylon. Because they’re cost effective when the need to replace them for a bigger size arises, nylon collars are more practical for growing puppies. Since leather collars are stronger, more durable and longer lasting, they tend to cost a bit more and are best suited for the full grown dog.
Opt for a buckle collar rather than the snap-shut kind. The buckled collars stay closed while the snap-shut ones are more likely to come undone.
Be sure to fit the collar properly.
The rule of thumb, so to speak, is the “two-finger-fit.” What that means is that the collar should be tight enough for you to fit two fingers between it and your dog’s neck. Too loose and it may slip off – too tight and – well, let’s just say that you wouldn’t like wearing a tight collar around your neck all day; would you?
Another option, and what I consider to be a kinder, gentler one, is the harness. While harnesses may not be ideal for training purposes because they don’t provide the instant control that a tug of a collar does, they are a great alternative to a neck collar.
Older dogs especially, due to aches and pains and neck issues, can really benefit from the harness because it attaches around the chest rather than putting pressure on the neck.
Just like collars, leashes (leads) come in leather and nylon. They’re also available in cotton. Again, like the nylon collar, nylon leads work best for puppies. They’re lightweight and easily replaced without breaking the bank. Do expect to replace the first one because eventually, your puppy will discover they make GREAT chew toys. Again, expect to replace the first one – and quite honestly, maybe the second one as well.
As your dog matures to full grown height and weight, you might consider switching to the leather variety. Not only is the leather more comfortable in your hand, it’s also a wise investment that will last a long, long time.
When choosing the length of your lead remember this – Leads are Control. You are the boss and the closer your dog is to you, the more control you have over him.
If you’ve got a wide open, safe environment in which you’re comfortable allowing your dog to venture about fifteen free-feeling feet from you, then by all means, purchase a retractable leash. Remember, these leashes and those distances are best saved for open spaces where your dog can’t turn corners before you or run into danger that you can’t see coming.