We get a lot of questions about what the best walking equipment is, so here is some information on the different items.
Collars: Collars are fine to walk with if your dog is not a puller. If your dog is a puller we recommend a harness or head halter so now damage to the trachea is done.
Flat Buckle: Walking your dog on a flat collar is fine if you have a dog who does not pull or frighten easily. Dogs who frighten and try to pull away from you can easily slip out of a flat buckle collar. I
Martingale: Martingale collars are fine to walk with but again if your dog is not a puller. We use martingales a lot with our rescue dogs so they cannot easily slip out of collar should they become spooked. Martingale collars should only be used for walks and taken off afterwards during play, hiking or any other scenario where the chance of them getting hung up on something and strangling may occur. True Story - Once I had my dog get his martingale collar caught on the frame under my bed!
Harnesses: There are many models of harnesses out there. Which one is best for your dog is very dependent on your dog.
Easy Walk Or Sensible - If you have a puller, front clip harnesses (Easy Walks) are great for reducing pulling. As the dog pulls, the harness turns their body towards the leash, thereby not allowing them to pull. Easy Walk Harnesses are what we prefer to use for most size dogs over 15 pounds. It is very important that a harness is fitted correctly!
Back clip harnesses are a great tool to use that won’t damage the neck or trachea, but if you have a puller you will need to actively work to teach them not to pull, just as you would with a flat collar. The style of back clip harness you need will depend on dog body type, dog behavior, and personal preference. Step In Harnesses are our equipment of choice for small dogs under 15 pounds.
Head Halters: Head halters are a great tool for dogs who like to pull. Head halters (Gentle Leaders), loop around the snout and hook behind the ears, similar to a horse halter. If you have control of the dog’s head, they won’t be able to use their body weight to pull you. Some dogs find head halters uncomfortable at first, so you may need to desensitize them to wearing one, but once they are used to it, it’s great.
Leashes: Standard flat leashes are perfectly great for walking. We do not recommend retractable leashes. They teach your dog to pull, can be dangerous for humans and dogs, and reduce the amount of control you have over where your dog goes.
Still have questions about what equipment is best for you? Stop by and let one of our experienced staff help you make a decision or show you how to use your equipment properly!