One of the most common questions that many people have about the training process is the best type of equipment to be used.
This is certainly understandable as a major component in successful training is the equipment that you use. There are many types of dog collars, leashes, muzzles, and crates.
Here is a short list of the most popular types of dog collars on the market and why each one is different.
Flat or Buckle Collar
This type of collar is fit around the dog's neck. These are available in a variety of materials such as nylon, leather, and cloth.
If your dog is a good walker, this is probably the only type of collar you need. However if your dog pulls when you walk, it is not recommended. The reason for this is that when your dog pulls against his leash, he is going to choke and hurt himself.
Halter or Head Collar
This is a neck and muzzle collar which works like a halter on a horse, ie: when you pull his head one way, his body will follow in that direction.
This dog collar provides a great deal of control over which direction you want your dog to go. It is also good since the design will not hurt your dog's neck because you don't need any force to make it work.
Often dogs put up quite a fuss with this type of collar as it is somewhat uncomfortable for him to wear. They may try to remove the collar with their paws or refuse to walk and just stand there.
This collar looks quite similar to a regular collar except that it tightens only to a certain point. You can slip this collar over your dog's head and snap it around his neck, so it is easy to put on. It also gives you a fair amount of control.
An advantage to a Martingale collar is that it can not be easily removed from the dog's neck-even if he is pulling backwards. It has a restricted range of tightness that prevents the dog from choking. However, the Martingale does not work effectively if the dog is a consistent puller.
This type of collar should only be used for aggression training because the collar tightens around your dog's neck when you jerk it and released when you let up. A choke collar can be quite dangerous if you don't use it properly as you could hurt your dog's neck and cause physical and emotional trauma.
This type of device is usually made up of a soft material that wraps around your dogs chest, shoulders and back, and has a leash attachment on the top. It is different from a leash in that it distributes the force of your dog's pulling across his chest and shoulders rather than around his neck. The only downfall of this is that it can cause some dogs to pull even harder.
There are lots of different harness styles, just make sure you get one that is comfortable and fits your dog properly. Harnesses are usually pain free and are great for dogs who may have had a neck injury or for dogs like Pugs who have an inherent tendency towards a collapsed trachea.
This is a good collar for dogs that pull. It may look scary and barbaric, but it is really very safe and effective to use. The collar looks similar to a choke collar but it has evenly spaced prongs around it so that when you pull it, it creates an even pressure around the neck by pinching the skin. There is no direct pressure on the trachea as there is with a choke collar.
The prong collar shows your dog who is in control without actually ever hurting him. It is not recommended it for puppies or very aggressive dogs, but it seems to work great when you are trying to teach your dog the proper way to walk.
It is a long, drawn out process training your dog to walk properly, but hopefully with the use of the right collars (and a lot of time and patience!) you will have your dog walking like a show dog in no time at all! In an upcoming article I will take a look at the differences between various leashes, and help you find the right one for your dog.