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How to Choose the Perfect Collar, Harness and Leash for Your Puppy


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Choosing the right collar for your puppy can be overwhelming as they come in a variety of materials, colours and designs. The most important factors are that the collar or harness fits properly and is the correct size and weight for your puppy. After all your puppies harness or collar is one of the most important tools for getting out and about and teaching vital leash manners.

How to measure your puppy for a collar or harness

Before you begin looking for a collar for your new puppy, it is important to know the size of your puppies neck. So it is important to measure your dogs neck, with a flexible measuring tape. You also need to account for the fact that you should be able to fit two fingers between your dogs neck and their collar. This means that it is tight enough that it will not slip over their head but not so tight that it will strangle their dog.

Also keep in mind that puppies grow quickly, so it is extremely important to adjust the size of his collar as he gets bigger. Check the collar’s fit frequently during your dog’s first year of life and periodically after that. You should be able to slip two fingers comfortably underneath of the collar.

What type of collar is best for my puppy

Flat collar

The most common type of collar on the market is a flat or standard collar, these collars are easy to put on and take off and usually come with plastic or metal clasps or buckles. This is a great option for most dogs

Martingale or training collar

Martingale collars are a safer and more comfortable alternative to choker chain, these collars available in full fabric designs and half fabric and half chain styles. Martingale collars or limited slip collars are particularly popular with greyhound owners or other breeds with a narrow head that my be more like to slip out of a normal collar. These collars tighten around your dog’s neck when there is tension on the leash, but it they can only tighten as much as the adjustment allows. These collars can also be helpful with training puppies to walk nicely on the leash.

Head collar/halter

A head halter was inspired by a horses halter and is a tool that can be used for strong dogs or puppies that like to pull on the leash. They work exactly like a horse halter giving you control over your dogs head meaning you need less strength

How to pick a harness for your puppy

Back clip harness

Harnesses can be a great tool if you have a strong puppy, or a brachycephalic breed like a bull dog or pug, since harness take away the pressure on your puppies neck. The most common type of dog harness has a clip on the back of the harness between the dogs shoulder blades. These harnesses are also suitable for dogs or puppies that may be prone to slipping out of a regular collar. These harnesses are good for training puppies to walk on the leash as they protect a puppies fragile neck and are a lot of more comfortable for a puppy to wear than a regular collar.

Front clip harness

Another popular style of harness is the front clip or no pull harness - where the leash attaches in the centre of the dog's chest. This style of harness gives the owner more control over the dog and the direction they are moving in. These harnesses are great for puppies that are over enthusiastic or lack leash manners, as they help by steering the dog back towards the owner when they try to pull. But when using these harnesses ti is important to keep the leash tight as if too much slack is given it can easy tangle under the dog's front legs.

What type of leash is best for my puppy

Walking leash

Like collars there are many types of leashes available, in different lengths, fabrics, collars and designs. Picking a leash is pretty straight forward just keep in mind the thickness and strength of the leash to ensure it is suitable for your fast growing puppy. Start your puppy off on a shorter leash, this will allow the owner to take control and help with training. Very short leashes are useful for off-leash training to add some weight and replicate the feel of a leash and to grab hold of, if correction is required.

Long leash or long line

When training your puppy recall, to come when called a extremely helpful tool is a long line. These products are like a regular leash but longer and made from a strong and lightweight rope or cord that varies in length from 5 to 15 metres. They are the essential aid for training recall allowing the dog to feel free but still be under your control.

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Written by The Team

A team of specialists with backgrounds in animal nursing, animal care, and all things pet related.