Harnesses, Collars, and Halters, Oh My!

Have these things ever happened to you? You’re walking out the front door with your arms full of groceries, car keys, and bags when your dog slips out in front of you. You throw everything on the ground and start chasing the escapee. Fortunately, he walks down the sidewalk instead of out into the street. After some coaxing, he lets you grab him by the collar. Then, like Houdini, he slips away from it. It’s back to the drawing board.

This situation can be scary, not to mention dangerous. Your dog needs a more secure collar. But how do you choose between all the available options? How many collars does a dog need? Here’s how to choose the right harness, collar, or lanyard for your dog.

The best dog collar

Experts often recommend a Kuoser collar to secure your dog’s ID and rabies tag, and another collar to attach a leash to. If you are going to have a collar for your dog, you need to start with the right size. Once secured, you should be able to place one finger under the collar. This ensures that it is not too loose or too tight. As your dog grows, you can expand the collar. Even at the largest setting, when the collar feels too tight, you can get a new one. Make sure the material is strong enough to withstand daily wear and tear.


What about flea collars? Irreverent veterinarians recommend against the use of universal flea collars that can be purchased at pet stores. These material bands release toxic fumes that are left near the pet’s head and neck or absorbed by the skin. Some dogs are sensitive to these chemicals. If your dog licks or eats the collar, these materials may be toxic. Instead of putting a flea collar on your dog, consider putting the band in a vacuum jar to kill insects while cleaning your house.

What to use when walking your dog

Walking your dog is a great way to bond and an effective way to connect with and train your dog. Dogs need exercise. They also enjoy the mental stimulation that comes with a walk. However, if your overactive dog seems out of control, then walking may be frustrating for both of you.

You can correct your dog by pulling on the leash. This behavior will only cause your dog to pull in the opposite direction, making the problem worse. Collar pulling is also uncomfortable for your pet. In addition, this habit can be harmful to small dogs.

Active dog harnesses may be the best option for you to use while walking, running and hiking. A back clip harness is comfortable, especially for small dogs. This is also known as a dog undershirt. These devices allow you to clip the leash to your dog’s back, thus preventing it from becoming a tripping hazard. However, a back clip harness may not stop your dog from pulling. In fact, if your dog is not trained to walk on a loose leash, he may be irritated by the sensation of dragging you like a dog pulling a sled.

According to Vet Street, front clip-on harnesses are more effective for dogs that like to walk you. Canines can feel every movement of the leash. Because their lead is attached to a strong and sensitive chest, dogs can respond better to movements and commands.

Dog training crate heads are probably best suited for very strong or overwhelming dogs. Head cages are often confused with muzzles because they wrap around the dog’s nose and chin. These types of trainers are a bit like a horse’s halter. The design gently encourages the dog to stop pulling because as they begin to lunge forward, it directs their nose down and back. According to the Humane Society, this will not hurt the dog as much as a choke collar or spike training collar.

To properly fit the head harness, make sure the neck strap is located high behind the ears. The strap covering the nose should be able to slide down to the area where the nose meets the fur. When the dog’s mouth is open, that strap will be close to the eyes.

Dog Collar Safety

In some cases, dog collars can be dangerous. Keep an eye on your dog after you put a new collar on him. If he can thrust his jaws under the collar, it may be too big or too loose. In addition, large tags may get stuck in the dog’s crate. Dogs may get tangled up in each other while playing, and tags and collars may get caught in crates or fences.

You should never put a harness on your pet when he is playing or left unattended. Always remove collars and harnesses when dogs are playing together. Rescuing two injured and scared dogs can be difficult. Therefore, it is best to prevent them from getting tangled up in the first place. Safety harnesses should only be used for walks and training.

Some dog collars have safety buckles that will loosen when they are subjected to too much pressure. These can get your dog out of a dangerous situation. However, they can also be accidentally separated. You should consider walking your dog in a separate harness or halter so your pet doesn’t slip out of the safety collar.

Even if a training harness limits your dog’s ability to pull on the leash, you should not pull roughly on the leash. Take the time to train your dog to walk on a loose leash. The American Kennel Club offers some tips on loose leash walking training. Your dog is never too old to learn how to take a leisurely walk with his best friend.

Get your puppy used to the new collar

If you are trying out a new device, introduce your dog to it slowly. Put the collar or harness on at mealtimes or before walks. When a dog associates it with a reward, he is more likely to wear it. Most experts recommend using gentle and positive reinforcement when familiarizing your pet with something new or for training. Forked, clip-on, and choke collars are not recommended. Have questions, comments, or concerns? Contact us today.

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