Amanda was raised with dogs and has kept dogs all her life. "Dogs aren't just pets," she says, "They're workmates, friends, and family."
A Collar and Leash Are Legal Requirements
If you're a dog owner, you'll appreciate how important it is to choose the right collar and leash for your hound. In many regions, it's illegal to take your dog into public places unless he's under control, which means on a leash. There's a dizzying array of dog collars and leashes available to buy in high street stores and online. While style and color are important and down to your individual taste, from your dog's perspective, the most important factors to consider when choosing a dog collar and leash are comfort and fitness.
How to Choose the Right Collar and Leash for Your Dog
No matter how well-trained your dog may be, his natural hunting or defensive instincts could kick in and override his education given a strong enough stimulus. Even the best-behaved hound can revert to nature and become a danger to other dogs, animals, or even people. That's the reason most regions need you to keep dogs on a leash in public places or where there's livestock. A good dog collar and leash combination has to fulfill two requirements:
- Fit the dog comfortably and securely
- Allow the dog-owner to have easy and complete control
The collar and leash are not just for when you're walking out with your dog. They are also an essential aid to training and security. Choosing the right collar and leash can seem like a daunting task. But a few simple considerations will make the task easier.
Which Collar Is Right for Your Dog?
When you choose a collar for your dog, size and fit are the most important considerations. The collar should be of a durable and lightweight material. Chain collars can be dangerous, as they can get snagged and may present health risks. Leather collars are traditional, but they can be heavy, stretch, and become smelly when they're wet. Synthetic collars are easy to clean, last a long time, and are light and comfortable.
The best collars are adjustable. You should fit the collar so your dog can't slip out of it, but it does not restrict breathing or cause your animal discomfort. As a general rule, the collar should turn freely around the neck, and there should be enough room between the collar and your dog's skin for you slip a finger between them.
Pros and Cons of Collars and Leashes
Attractive, natural material
Heavy and stretchy when wet. Dogs can chew through them
Can be dangerous if it snags. Too heavy for smaller dogs
Synthetic webbing collar
Strong, chew-proof, waterproof, comfortable
Attractive, natural material
Heavy and stretchy when wet. Dogs may chew through it
Heavy, difficult to handle, potentially dangerous if it snags
Synthetic cord leash
Strong, flexible, resilient, often retractable allowing greater flexibility
Mechanisms can fail in cheaper versions
Should Your Dog Leash Be Leather, Chain, or Cord?
- Leather Leashes: Leashes come in different sizes and materials. Leather leashes are strong and have a pleasant, organic feel. But dogs have chewed through them. They can also become heavy and stretch if they get wet. Leather leashes come in fixed lengths. They are also the most costly.
- Chain Leashes: Chain leashes are heavier and very strong. But like chain collars, they can snag and may present a risk to your dog's health. For smaller dogs, they can weigh too much. As with leather leashes, you cannot adjust the length except by wrapping the leash around your hands which can be uncomfortable.
- Synthetic Cord: A leash made of synthetic cord is durable, weatherproof, and can also be retractable, allowing you to adjust the length of the leash from the handle to give your animal more freedom to roam or keep him tight to heel as needed. You can also wash synthetic leashes with soapy water if they become soiled.
The Advantages of Multipurpose Retractable Leashes
If you buy leather or chain leashes, you should buy at least two, a short one for close training, and a longer one for recreational walks and runs. Many synthetic retractable leashes can extend from less than a yard up to 30 feet, so you'll need only one for both purposes.
You may also wish to choose a reflective collar and leash if you are likely to be out in the dark. If you travel with your dog in the car, belt-leashes lock into your car's seatbelt mechanism, keeping your hound safe and stopping him distracting you while you're driving.
Color and Style Should Be the Last Consideration
The last consideration should be the color and style. That's up to you and unlikely to matter to your dog. A well-fitted, comfortable collar and leash are excellent training aids. They keep your dog under control, other animals safe, and you within the law.
© 2018 Amanda Littlejohn
Amanda Littlejohn (author) on September 25, 2018:
Hi Shelley. Thanks!
Yes, dogs make great companions and for many they provide the necessary motivation to get out there and get some exercise! And regular exercise is good for mental health. Plus, dog-walkers tend to stop and talk to each other and so there's that social aspect, too.
FlourishAnyway from USA on September 24, 2018:
The table in particular was helpful. I am a cat lady but I sure wish I could borrow someone’s dog to walk! I see neighbors walking their dogs and everyone looks pretty happy.