If you are a dog owner, I’m sure you know the overwhelming feeling of wandering through the aisles of a pet supply store, or pouring over the thousands of options for collars, leashes, and harnesses online. Well, those days are over, because we have done the work for you! Here's a helpful list of dog collars, leashes, and harnesses for dogs that we have put to the test. When it comes to recommending dog walking products, the criteria we take into consideration is durability, safety, and effectiveness. We love these products either because we use them ourselves or our clients do!
There are thousands of collars on the market today developed for a variety of uses. Generally, we recommend a flat collar with either a buckle or a quick release snap. Occasionally, a martingale dog collar is necessary for dogs with wide necks or small heads, like greyhounds, and they have a limited slip feature to prevent the collar from slipping over a dog's head.
There are a few collars on the market that we do not recommend, such as: shock collars, citronella anti-barking collars, and "no-pull" choke or prong collars, so you won't see aversive products like these on our list. Instead, we recommend using the items below along with positive reinforcement training techniques.
The Lifetime Collar by The Atlas Pet Company is a great design and made to used with a harness. It slips easily over your dog's head and it is super durable—so durable in fact, they offer a lifetime guarantee! It comes in many gorgeous colors and we just love it. Guess what! They also make a pretty amazing leash that will match your fabulous collar. Enter code "tullys" for 15% off your order!
Quick release collars are very important for dogs who play with their friends on a regular basis at dog daycare or at the dog park. Occasionally, dogs can get stuck together collar-to-collar or mouth-to-collar so being able to quickly release the collar is essential. Our favorite brand is Blueberry, mainly because of the wide array or color options. If style is important to you, then this collar is the way to go! They also have martingales available for those of you with greyhounds, whippets, or any other wide-necked, small headed breeds!
I use a padded leather collar for both of my dogs because these collars provide comfort and durability. My dog's don't spend a lot of time playing with other dogs, so the buckle collars are just fine for us. If your dog enjoys regular romps with other dogs, see the quick release dog collar mentioned above. We strongly recommend adding an ID tag or customizing the collar with your contact information on it in case your dog ever runs off, even if she has a microchip!
I have a very strong and muscular pitbull mix named Ziggy Starpup. I've tried many of the most popular “no-pull” front range harnesses with him, and while none of these products alone will make your dog the perfect “loose-leash walker”, a couple of them will definitely get you started on the right foot!
If your arm is aching after each walk with your dog because he is yanking you in every direction, it may be because you are either using a regular collar or a harness that clips in the back between the shoulder blades. When you attach the leash to just a collar and your dog is a puller, you are doing long term damage to their neck. If you are using a back-clipping harness, you might even be aciencouraging your dog to pull (especially if you have a dog who was bred to pull a sled!)
The PetSafe Easy Walk Harness is—in my opinion—the best front range harness. You have two options for this harness: the regular Easy Walk harness and the deluxe version. I like the deluxe version better because the extra padding makes for a more comfortable experience for your pup. There are many reasons I love the Easy-Walk Harness and recommend it to my clients. First, it's so simple! The harness is only three straps and is easy to put on, especially for dogs that are sensitive about things going over their heads. There is a martingale-style loop on the front strap that prevents the harness from twisting or moving around. The Easy Walk harness comes in eight sizes, with in-between sizes available to ensure the perfect fit for your pup. And even then, the straps are very adjustable and can fit just about any size dog.
This harness is wonderful for hiking! While it doesn’t discourage pulling quite as well as the Easy Walk, it is extremely sturdy and has two options for attaching your leash, and both attachments are robust. To discourage pulling, hook your leash to the front clip. I use this for Ziggy when we hike because it is much more robust and better suited for a rugged terrain. It has plenty of padding on the underside to prevent chafing, so it is very comfy for your pup!
I use the Freedom Harness with my own dog for our every day walks. I always recommend it for larger, deep-chested dogs as it provides more safety and control. The Freedom Harness comes with a double ended leash, so that you have the option to attach to both the front and back rings for more safety and control if you'd like. While it isn't quite as effective at preventing pulling as the Easy Walk harness, it is a great option for very strong dogs, or dogs who are adept escape artists.
A leash is one of the most important tools we ever use with our dogs. So what is the best leash? There are many options out there—some are better than others, of course! We almost never recommend a retractable leash because it isn't a consistent length and can work against any loose leash walking training you are doing. Also, they can be a safety hazard—the cord is usually very thin and can choke a dog or cause friction burns on your arms or legs. A fixed-length (and four to six foot) leash is what we recommend.
The Kurgo Quantum is one of my favorite leashes. It has a very easy hands-free option—you can attach it to your body in multiple ways—leaving your hands free to answer your phone, give your dog hand signal commands, and reward her! Hands-free leashes are extremely convenient for training, jogging, or temporarily tethering your dog to a tree or other inanimate object. One last perk: it can be used as a double dog leash because it has two attachment clips!
Found My Animal is one of my favorite brands because of their products' durability and extensive color options. They also encourage rescue over purchase and feature adoptable dogs on their website. The leashes themselves are great because you can easily tether your dogs to something, you can vary the length, or attach it to your body in a variety of ways.
We learned about The Buddy System from the late veterinarian/animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin, who recommended it for training, walking, and running activites. This leash is similar to the Kurgo Quantum, but it has a separate belt with two attachments for leashes. It is durable and the length is adjustable, it allows the dog handler to reward good behaviors in a timely fashion and to pay more attention to how their movements affect their dog's response. It's hands-free and a very effective leash!
Whatever collar, leash, and harness combination you choose, remember to include positive reinforcement based training for the very best behavior from your dog! Always use any of the items recommended in the way they were intended. For example, collars fit best when there is room for two fingers between the dog's neck and the collar.
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