Dog Equipment

Posted by Sheena Neil on Thursday, April 3, 2014

There is a large variety of leashes, collars, and harnesses for dogs. Some of them can be quite specialized, such as harnesses for activities and sports like skijoring or dog carting.

Let's first look at collars. 
Flat buckle collars are the most common type. They will have a D ring to attach your dogs tags to.
While they are a useful way to display your dogs identification, they typically are not the best choice for walking your dog. Only dogs who have been trained Loose Leash Walking should be walked on a flat buckle collar. Flat collars can, overtime cause damage to a dogs trachea and/or neck if they are pulling on walks.
..."according to a study in the 
Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association in 2006, pressure generated when dogs pull while wearing these collars raises the pressure in the eye. As a result, it may worsen the clinical signs or disease progression in dogs with glaucoma, thin corneas, and other eye conditions where the pressure in the eye is an issue" from Which Types of Collars and Harnesses are Safe For Your Dog?

Choke chains, pinch, and prong collars.
These styles carry the same risks as Flat Buckle collars, potentially causing damage to the trachea and/or eyes.
Keystone Training does not allow these types of collars in our group or private classes.
These collars are typically used by Traditional trainers to give the dog collar corrections or leash pops.
Since Keystone Training never uses these methods, but rather positive reinforcement, we have no need for a 'correction device'.

Martingale or Half-choke collars.
Same risks as above. These are accepted by Keystone Training only when Flat Buckle collars slip off of a dogs neck. And again, the dog should not be walked on this style of collar if they are not walking on a loose leash yet.

What are the alternatives?

There are just as many varieties of body harness as there are collars.

A standard body harness can be a great alternative for smaller dogs as it takes the pressure off of their throats and necks. Photo Here.

However, this style can actually encourage larger and stronger dogs to pull MORE. A standard harness gives them the ability to use their shoulders and body weight to pull, instead of just their neck like they would in a Flat collar.

For larger/stronger dogs there are several harnesses marketed to help stop pulling. These are not all created equally. One style may help one dog yet create other problems for a different dog.

For some examples of styles and brands check out Dr. Sophia Yins blog 'Which Types of Collars and Harnesses are Safe for Your Dog?

As a general rule, a front-clip harness is preferred over a back-clip style.

Some harnesses (no-pull) will cinch up on the dogs shoulders. Be sure that your dog does not have any pain or injuries in the shoulders before choosing this style.

Head Halters.
Head Halters are similar to those worn by horses. They give the walker more control over what direction the dog is facing. This allows you to more easily 'turn' the dog away from a distraction and bring focus back to you.

Dogs should be TRAINED to accept head halters (and muzzles). Having a foreign object placed on the face and in their line of view can be very stressful and aversive to dogs.

For instruction on teaching a dog to accept a Head Halter (or muzzle) watch this video here.

Head Halters should be used for management only, not for training. By design, they do deliver aversive stimulus. These halters/collars are not a replacement for training your dog to walk on a loose lead. For more info Click Here.

Finally, we need to clip something to our collar or harness of choice.

Most popular and most recommended is a standard 6 foot nylon or leather leash.

If your dog has a tendency to pull or lunge we recommend using a hands-free leash system. Hands-free leashes buckle or clip around your waist. This saves the walkers shoulders and potentially their wrist and fingers should the dog lunge while the leash is wrapped around your hand or thumb.

When choosing a hands-free leash it is important to take into consideration your dogs behaviour (do they tend to lunge or pull REALLY hard), and your dogs strength and weight.

Most brands will have a metal collar clip but plastic buckles for around your waist.

For heavy/strong dogs a metal buckle should be chosen as plastic buckles run the risk of snapping.

Please understand that all of these options are SAFETY devices only. They should be used to keep your dog close to you while you work on training proper Loose Leash Walking and reliable recalls. All equipment has the potential of breaking and failing.

Where to buy:
In Lloydminster Pet Planet has a wide variety of harnesses and head halters. They also carry hands-free leashes

The Lloydminster Animal Hospital carries Easy Walk Harnesses and Gentle Leaders. Their staff is trained to fit harnesses and haters properly.

The Lloydminster Companion Animal Care Centre also carries Easy Walk Harnesses and Gentle Leaders.

In Wainwright Wags and Wiggles Pet Store also carries a variety of harnesses and head halters, as well as hands-free leashes.

In my experience all locations will happily help you with your purchases. If you do not see something on the shelves just ask.
Staff will be happy to do their best to order the proper equipment and proper sizes.

Tags: leashes  collars  tags  harnesses  head halters  muzzles  equipment  walking 

About Me

Sheena Neil Owner/Trainer Keystone Training