I watch dogs walk their owners and even drag them down the hallway at the clinic on a daily basis. So, I thought I would take the time and write a short article about the subject. There are many types of collars, and some actually are better than others.
Flat collars are the most popular and common collars you see on dogs. These collars are called this as they sit flt around the pet's neck. A flat collar is great for pets who already have good leash manners. They are also appropriate when a pet does not walk on a leash but needs identification, such as a nameplate or Rabies tag. These are not the best collars for training a dog to a leash.
Head collars (like a Gentle Leader) are by far the best type of collar for leash training or even controlling a large dog. These collars fit over the muzzle and clip behind the head. The leash is then clipped to a ring below the dog's mouth. These collars control the head and make training and controlling a dog much easier. The dog will have to become used to the collar (like any collar and leash) before just throwing it on and going for a walk. The best way to do this is by holding it over your hand and coaxing the pet to slip it's nose through by holding a treat on the other side. Another benefit of these collars is that they do not apply pressure to the dogs throat. For this very reason choker chains and "pinch" collars are not recommended. The trachea or "wind pipe" is actually a fairly delicate organ and too much pressure can cause damage. Choker chains also rarely help control the pet and now you have a pet who still pulls but can't breathe.
Harnesses are not technically a collar but are becoming more and more popular. I especially love the use of harnesses in smaller dogs. Many smaller dogs have even more delicate tracheae and the pressured applied by a human to a leash around the neck of a 5 pound dog can be crushing. Many types of harness exist but the best have padding, and do not cut into the armpits.
The best way to fit a flat collar is to lie your first two fingers flat against the dogs neck and secure it snugly. If you can not fit two fingers flat under the dog's collar it is too tight. If you have much more space than two fingers it is too lose and could slip off if the dog pulls. This is especially important when applying a flea and tick collar such as Seresto. These collars will not be effective if not properly fitted. To assure proper fit (and especially in growing dogs), the two finger test should be performed at least once per week.
Finally, leashes. Flat leashes of 6-8 ft are by far superior to longer leashes and especially to retractable leashes. Retractable leashes make controlling a pet very difficult. The small cords are prone to breakage and the catches often fail. Either of these can lead to fatal accidents. The key is to be able to keep your pet close at all times and retractable leashes fail to do this effectively. I once had a neighbor who walked her dogs with retractable leashes. It was always nerve-racking to watch her frantically attempt to reel her dogs in as they narrowly avoided being hit by a car.
If you have any questions, comments or need help finding and fitting the right collar and leash please contact us or come see us. We are more than happy to help you keep your four-legged friend safe and stylish.
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Tuesday 8:00am - 5:30pm
Wednesday 8:00am - 5:30pm
Thursday 8:00am - 5:30pm
Friday 8:00am - 5:30pm
Saturday 9:00am - 12:00pm
511 S City Blvd
Waycross, GA 31501
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