The fist and probably most important decision you have to consider when getting a dog is “What Collar Will I Use?” With so much information out there, it can be a daunting task. People will give you so much confusing information and you could make a bad choice.
To start with, I avoid using contraptions that are not collars and things that “make the job easier” in particular when I feel that device puts the dog at risk, this includes head harnesses, harnesses that cinch the dog into walking slower and the like. I stick to the basics that help the dog learn in a fair manner. This can include choke colors, martingales, pinch collars and slip leads. Used properly there is no risk to your dog for injury and more importantly there is little to no risk of your dog escaping the leash and being killed by a car.
To start with puppies should have flat collars or martingales and you must be very careful in very young and very old dogs not to put stress on the neck, as it can be very dangerous.
I don’t ascribe to the theory that bulldogs or any specific breed needs a harness because their necks are too weak. Used properly, a martingale or choke chain / pinch collar can work on any dog, however, If there is a specific dog, then have that dog examined by a veterinarian to check. It is rare that most any dog can’t be trained using a basic martingale type collar.
In the video below I discuss the basics to my choice of leash / collars including the slip lead, the choke chain, the martingale and the pinch collar. There are other videos available that show the proper use for training and I will be posting more of these as well. This video is designed to teach you and inform you of the best options for your dog and how to fit them to your dog’s neck.
You will note that I never recommend using a harness to control a dog that pulls. The only time I recommend using a harness is:
- if you WANT your dog to pull.
- if your dog has severe cervical injuries that prevent you from using a neck type collar to control your dog.
Fitting a collar on your dog is imperative. I often see people who have collars that are much too big. For example people who use a large pinch collar and then slip it over the dog’s head. Pinch collars should always be fitted snug on the dog’s neck and they must sit up high or else they can cause skin injuries, in particular if they twist.
Choke chains should fit over your dog’s head but not be so loose that they can shake the collar off of their heads.
I also like the slip lead as an overall safe way to handle a dog. I talk about them in the video. They come in various lengths and protect the dog very well. They have a leather stopper on them and can be dropped when dogs first play with each other for assurance in case you need to grab one. I use these in all of my shelter training work.
The most important part with any training tool is proper use. Dogs should NEVER walk on a tight or even snug leash. I will be adding videos on this topic soon, but for now I wanted to share this video is step #1, getting the right collar.