These days, dog owners have a lot of options when purchasing dog walking equipment. Here are some suggestions to help you decide what to use.
For those teaching their dog to walk nicely on a leash, I recommend a front-clasping harness. Though there are pros and cons to each, Premier Pet’s Easy Walk harness and those made by Softouch Concepts are both good options. Many people also see an improvement in their dogs’ pulling behavior using the Sporn harness. Although this harness clasps in the back, rather than tugging backward, the padded parts under the dog’s front legs tighten a bit.
Many people have found head halters to be helpful in getting their dogs to stop pulling. In some cases, a head halter may jump-start your leash training. However, it is not my first choice because: most dogs really don’t like it, so it requires that you take the time to acclimate your dog: it forces dogs to focus on their owners rather than teaching that it pays to do so: and it can come off, so it is usually necessary to use a collar and second leash as well.
If your dog walks nicely on leash and you prefer a flat buckle collar to a harness, that is fine. When fitting a collar, make sure that you can not pull it over your dog’s head. As long as you can fit two to three fingers under it, it is not too tight. There are some dogs whose heads are not sufficiently wider than their necks to allow for this configuration. In this case, many people use a martingale collar; the type often seen on greyhounds. These collars tighten when your dog pulls, so as not to slip over his head. However, they can only tighten to a limited degree, so they are unlikely to harm or traumatize your dog the way a choke chain can.
There are numerous accoutrements you can purchase to make your walks easier and more fun. If you are training your dog on walks, you will probably want a treat pouch and clicker. Many varieties of both poop bags and poop bag holders are now available. You can also purchase a small pouch for your dog’s ID tags so they aren’t so noisy. If you have reason to be concerned about dog fights, you can purchase a citronella spray, such as Premier’s Spray Shield to carry just in case.
All the available equipment options can be confusing; but if you know what you’re looking for, picking out gear for your pup can be lots of fun!
Guest Contributor–Danielle Grand has spent the last decade working to parlay her affinity for animals into a dog training career. While earning her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she was involved in an experimental study on canine cognition. She has also obtained her dog training certification from Animal Behavior College and attended numerous dog training seminars conducted by respected behaviorists. At home in New York’s capital region, she works closely with colleagues and mentors to expand her expertise; she hopes to help forge strong, happy relationships between many dogs and their humans.