Choosing the Right Collar or Harness for Your Dog

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These days, there is a very wide array of dog collars, harnesses, and other contraptions made to help you walk your dog more easily. Store shelves are full of training and walking implements, and it can be confusing for owners trying to select the best one for their canine buddy.

This guide will help you decide what type is right for you and your dog!

 

  1. Flat-buckle collar. This is the most basic piece of dog-related equipment — a plain collar that snaps or buckles closed. Many people use this type of collar to keep identification and rabies tags on their dogs. This is a great option for dogs that aren’t prone to slipping out of the collar and that walk nicely on a leash.


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  2. Martingale collar. This type of collar is a limited slip-type collar. It does tighten around your dog’s neck when there is tension on the leash, but it can only tighten as much as the adjustment allows. This helps protect against throat damage that can occur with traditional choke chains. This type of collar is perfect for dogs that tend to back out of their collars. You can see in the photo that the leash attaches to the control loop, which can tighten or loosen with tension on the leash.


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  3. Body harness. A standard body harness with a back attachment is a popular choice for use with small dogs. A body harness prevents potential throat damage if your dog pulls, and makes it less likely that your leash will get caught under your dog’s legs. A body harness can offer more control than a plain collar, but requires a lot more strength from you, depending on the size of your dog. If you are using a long-line for exercise and added freedom, you should attach it to a body harness instead of a collar for your dog’s safety. This photo shows a typical standard body harness with leash attachment on the back.


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  4. Front-hook harness. These look like a standard body harness, but the leash attaches to a ring situated on the front of a dog’s chest. This type of harness is used for walking. When your dog pulls on the leash, the harness gives you leverage, since it is attached to the front of your dog’s body.


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  5. Head halter. This is a tool that was inspired by a horse’s halter. A head halter allows you to control your dog’s head, working just like a horse halter does on a horse. This tool gives you the most control while walking your dog. This is a good choice for very large dogs that pull, even with a front-hook harness. The head halter also gives you leverage, but requires less strength from the handler. You should never use any sort of long-line with a head halter because your dog can injure himself if a leash suddenly stops him.


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