3 Tips for Purchasing Proper Dogs Walking Equipment
Training your dog well can be challenging, but having the right gear will make it immensely easier and less frustrating.
1. Vet assist
Talk to your vet before buying walking equipment. Your vet will know your pet almost as well as you do and can recommend the type of walking equipment you may need. Trust the vet’s expertise when it comes to selecting a collar and leash for your dog’s specific body type or weight. Your vet can assist you with tips to avoid neck conditions that can arise from an improper collar.
2. Proper collar and leash
Buy the proper collar and leash for your pet. There is a wide variety of collars and leashes available on the market, but not all of them are suitable for your animal. For example, a traditional buckle collar and hook leash are typically used when there is little issue with walking your dog. For those that have more difficulty with a non-cooperative pet, there is a variety of more restrictive collars and leashes available.
Flat Collar: Walking your dog on a flat collar is fine if you have a dog who does not pull. If you have a puller, it’s best to use a head halter or harness, so no damage is done to the trachea or neck from pulling. We do not recommend prong or choke collars. If you do a lot of outdoor activities with your dog, such as hiking, we would recommend a harness. In the case of an emergency where your dog gets snagged on a tree or rock, flat collars can do a lot of damage and strangulate your dog.
Harnesses: There are many models of harnesses out there. Which one is best for your dog is very dependent on your dog. If you have a puller, front clip harnesses (Easy Walks) are great for reducing pulling. As the dog pulls, the harness turns their body towards the leash, thereby not allowing them to pull. Back clip harnesses are a great tool to use that won’t damage the neck or trachea, but if you have a puller, you will need to actively work to teach them not to pull, just as you would with a flat collar. The style of back clip harness you need will depend on dog body type, dog behavior, and personal preference.
Head Halters: Head halters are a great tool for dogs who like to pull. Head halters (Gentle Leaders), loop around the snout and hook behind the ears, similar to a horse halter. If you have control of the dog’s head, they won’t be able to use their body weight to pull you. Some dogs find head halters uncomfortable at first, so you may need to desensitize them to wearing one, but once they are used to it, it’s great.
Leashes: Standard flat leashes are perfectly great for walking. We do not recommend retractable leashes. They teach your dog to pull, can be dangerous for humans and dogs, and reduce the amount of control you have over where your dog goes.
3. Special equipment
Consider the clicker device for training. This device is highly regarded as a safe and effective method for dog training. Use the clicker to reinforce good behavior and communicates in a clear, concise way to the dog. The click sound, followed by a treat, communicates to the dog that it has done the right thing. The clicker method is effective in training a dog to walk and other areas of training as well, such as barking, potty-training, and tricks. Use the clicker, followed by a treat, for the following steps:
Begin with putting the leash on.
When your dog stops resisting the leash.
As the dog walks behind you or beside you.
Repeat periodically throughout the walk.
When returning home, remove the leash.