When choosing the perfect collar or harness for your pup, it may seem like a daunting task. There are tons of different types of leading and training devices to choose from, it is important to educate yourself on the different devices and choose the best fit for you and your furry friend.
Flat or Rolled Collar
The most common type of dog collar is a flat or rolled collar — this is the most basic collar that includes identification tags along with the owners information. Although these are the most common collars, there are some hazards when it comes to dogs rough housing while wearing these collars. For example, if two dogs are playing in a rough manner and one gets his/her mouth attached to the collar, it could cause panic in one or both dogs causing one to pull away abruptly. When this happens, it is possible for the pup to strain their neck or even suffocate from the strain and pressure. These flat or rolled collars are seen everywhere from taking a stroll on the beach with your furry friend to a simple walk around the block. Next time you take your dog to a dog park or a situation where they might play roughly with other dogs, maybe opt for a break-away collar.
Break- Away Collar
Break away collars look very similar to the traditional flat or rolled collar but they also have a small releasable clip that breaks away when a dog is caught on something. These collars are designed to fix the issue of dogs playing or roaming and getting stuck on objects which can cause injury. The most common objects dogs find themselves stuck onto picnic tables, cooling/heating vents, sticks, underside of vehicles, crates and while playing with other dogs. Break-away collars are designed for safety of your pup and peace of mind for the owner knowing they avoid strangulation and other injury while wearing this innovative collar.
These collars provide less pressure on your dogs neck (compared to a traditional choke chain) because the prongs are spaced out evenly which distributes pressure evenly. The mechanics of the prong collar make it an instructional tool to teach dogs appropriate leash behavior. Additionally, these prong collars make it so less force is needed to control your dog compared to the traditional flat or rolled collar. There are a few downsides to the prong collar — for example, if you are taking your pup for a walk with a prong collar and your dog is excited, the pressure from the collar can lead to dog to react even more riled up which in turn provides the opposite effect to teaching the dog appropriate dog walking behavior. Also, the dog can associate getting excited or seeing and wanting to play with other dogs are negative because they feel pain while excitedly trying to interact with the other canines. Lastly, there are more gentle harnesses and leashes on the market that effectively train your pup.
Easy Walk Harness
This harness is a gentle training tool that helps teach the canine directional control leading the dog from their chest instead of neck. By leading your pup by the chest, it takes away the possibility of neck injury by yanking on a traditional flat collar could potentially cause. One downside to this harness is that it limits the dogs ability to fully utilize their shoulders which on one side is helpful if the dog is larger than you because you need to control a heafy part of their body, but it could be negative if you pup is engaging in athletic activities that requires full shoulder strength.
Walk In-Sync Harness
This harness attaches in the front of the dog and connects behind the two front legs and over the back. This harness in no way hinders shoulder movement which is positive for dogs who are involved in athletic activities, compared to the Easy Walk harness. This harness also supports directional control since the leash covers the core of the pup’s body so it is easier to maneuver you dog in the correct direction when taking him/her on a walk. This harness is distributed over the bulk of the pup’s body which means there is less chance of a neck strain or injury.
These head halters cover the dog’s mouth and connects to a leash which is designed as a training tool for dogs that helps direct their attention back to you — the owner. Since it is a natural instinct to follow where your head is pointing, this head halter allows the owner to remind the dog to keep their attention on the owner instead of getting distracted by outside stimuli. This halter is not always recommended for full-time use because often times the dog is uncomfortable wearing a head device. Additionally, this harness requires owner training as well to teach the dog proper behavior while wearing this device which usually includes positive and negative reinforcement. For example, when the dog is pulling and feels tightness around its nose, the pup learns from this uncomfortable feeling that the owner has stopped walking and the dog diverts their attention to their owner. This harness is a great tool for training and after your dog has developed the proper skills, dog owners usually trade this head halter in for a different collar. (Common Brands include: Gentle Leader and/or Halti)
All these harness and collar options might seem like a lot of information to take in, but each has positive and negative points. Just keep in mind every dog is different and has different temperaments so no one collar is better than another. You can further your research by going to YouTube, there will be instructions on how to properly use each device for both your safety as well as your dogs. Try out a few of the collars listed above to see which one is the best fit for you and your pup!
Written By: Alexa Martin (A DOTR Professional)