There are so many collars & leashes available, how do you choose the best collar and leash for you and your dog.
Well, I'm going to make it easy for you! And what's more, I'm not writing this article so I can get a commission from the products I recommend, this article is me sharing what I've learned in my years as a dog trainer working with many different dogs. Any links included are brands and products I recommend because I use these myself. There is no benefit to me, so you can be sure that the information is accurate.
Quality is Important
There are many choices when it comes to collars. How do you choose the material a collar is made from?
Cotton, leather, biothane, nylon and even imitation leather. To be fair, most of these materials are OK, except for imitation leather. I have never found imitation leather to last well at all. It can easily be confused with Biothane though, so make sure you look out specifically for the word "biothane" when buying your dog a collar. Nothing lasts forever, but we at least want a collar that will last a good few years.. My personal preferences are Nylon or Biothane as both are easy to clean.
I love a good leather collar and especially nicely detailed, fancy collars. You can also get fancy biothane collars, Raven's unicorn collar is a biothane one.
What about hardware?
Hardware is the material the collar's clips, D-rings (that you clip your leash to) and buckles are made from. The best quality you can get is Stainless Steel or Brass. Other materials rust especially if your dog swims or goes to the beach. After I had a dog who snapped a brand new leather harness, I definitely make sure I buy items that have stainless or brass hardware and are stitched rather than riveted.
Buckle Collar vs Limited Slip Collar
Our dogs are way more likely to get out of and lose a plain buckle collar. A limited slip collar usually has a small chain that tightens as our dog pulls. Some people use this for training, but it's a really good feature to protect your dog from slipping their collar and running into traffic if they should get a fright. Especially for dogs with small heads compared to their necks like Malinois, Dobermanns, Border Collies, etc.
I've also seen limited slip collars called a "Utility Control Chain Collar" or a "Martingale Collar" or a "Half Slip Collar".
There is nothing worse than your dog getting a fright and running away. It is truly the most stressful experience anyone can have.
How Wide Should Your Collar Be?
The thinner the collar, the harsher it is, so get a nice wide collar for your dog that will distribute the pressure around your dog's neck evenly.
What Should You Know
If you're like me, who love fancy studded dog collars, bear in mind that you may not be able to compete with these in Rally-O (Rally Obedience). If you like competing in Rally-O just a plain leather, biothane or nylon collar is allowed.
What do I Use?
What do my dogs wear everyday? I like the Rogz brand of collars (and their "Control Dog Harness"), they come in a range or colours. If you have a very strong dog, these collars with their plastic clips may break too easily.
It's better to spend a little more on a quality collar and leash that's going to keep your dog safe than buying something cheap and having to replace it a few months later. The cheaper collars really are that bad. If you're in New Zealand, I've got some links below of quality gear that I buy and recommend:
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