Dog Trainer’s Guide to Choosing a Collar & Leash

Off you go to the pet superstore to select a collar and leash for your new dog. An hour later, you’re still standing in front of a huge display wall filled with every color, size and style of leashes, collars, harnesses, vests and assorted paraphernalia.

How are you supposed to choose, especially when you don’t really know one type from another?

Today, the Innovative K9 team offers some professional insights into selecting the best accessories for your dog.

How to Choose the Right Dog Collar

Selecting the right collar poses one of the biggest challenges for new dog owners. Chances are, you’ll need to buy a few different sizes and types of collars over the course of your dog’s life. And, with literally hundreds of options to choose from, you’ll need to give this some thought – and probably consult with your dog trainer.

One of the most popular collar styles among professional dog trainers is the martingale style. This design makes it virtually impossible for your pet to slip his collar while placing the least possible pressure on his neck and trachea. Martingale designs are ideal for dogs with large necks (or small heads), as they can’t simply back out of them like they can other styles.

Before purchasing a training collar (e.g., prong- or chain-slip style), take the time to talk to your trainer. Many trainers prefer specific types of collars for different purposes but it’s critical that they teach you how to use them before you attempt it yourself. You could seriously injure your pet if you aren’t well-versed in the use of these and other training aids.

How to Choose the Right Type & Size Leash

We’ll get it out of the way right now – do not purchase or use a retractable leash. They’re potentially dangerous and they do more harm than good when it comes to training your dog.

A standard, clip-on leash is typically the best way to go, although you’re likely to see slip leads as well as variety of other gimmicky designs. Choose a width that matches your pet’s size – the larger and stronger the dog, the wider the leash should be. Above all, choose a high-quality leash that has a strong clip.

Most leashes range between four and six feet, with six being the most common option. Nylon is the standard material choice; however, you could choose a leather or chain leash if you prefer – chain is a great option if Fido is a leash chewer.

Harnesses & Collar/Leash Alternatives

Some pet owners swear by alternatives to traditional collars and leashes, such as the so-called “head collars” and body harnesses.

These products are designed for specialty purposes and can provide a boost to your training regimen in the right circumstances. However, it’s a good idea to consult with your dog trainer before you spend the money. Although some are beneficial, others are all hype and no value. And, unless a specialty harness is fitted correctly, it could hurt your pet or allow him to escape during a walk.

Here at Innovative K9 Academy, we highly suggest talking to us before selecting a collar and leash for your pet. We can recommend the right size, style and materials to help you get the results you seek. We are Salt Lake City’s preferred pet training academy, offering all types of dog and puppy training. Contact us today to learn more.