Dog collars are important; they should be worn at all times. Collars carry your dog's emergency information and, in an urgent situation, can be used to help remove him from danger.
Collars can be useful in a training situation, indoors preferably, where the environment can be controlled. They can be used just to give a dog a gentle nudge in the right direction, but collars just should not be used to pull a dog or to stop a dog from pulling. That hurts a dog, can choke him, and puts strain on the sensitive muscles and cartilage in a dog's neck. In some dogs, like pugs, pulling hard on their collars can even cause eye strain.
Besides, you know that when you pull a dog back, he automatically pulls forward; it's in a dog's DNA I think.
Martingale collars are a way to avoid putting strain on the front of the neck when a dog pulls, as a special loop of chain or fabric balances the strain around the entire neck, but these collars are only meant to be used with a leash for walking or running. If worn while just hanging out, they can catch on other objects and hurt your dog.
As the strain is still focused around the neck, the martingales should really only be used to train broad-necked dogs like Pit Bulls or Rottweilers and I wouldn't use them on puppies of any breed. If you decide to use a martingale collar, please read these safety tips first.
Harnesses are being chosen over collars more and more by professional trainers, and there are a variety of new designs for harnesses that match different physical builds and breed-typical behaviors. These harnesses are designed to help you train your dog not to pull. The ones I recommend are padded for extra comfort.
It is important to measure your dog carefully before ordering; don't just assume 'size medium' or 'large,' because each harness is shaped a bit differently. Here is a good video made by Kurgo Products that provides general instructions on measuring your dogs for harnesses and collars.
No matter how well a dog is trained to walk by your side, something unexpected can cause him to suddenly lunge. These harnesses will help keep your dog safe and secure.
One of the most popular harnesses on Amazon, the Rabbitgoo No Pull Dog Harness provides options for casual walking and training, by placing two leash clips on the harness - one on the back for casual walks and the other on the front of the harness for training. Harnesses that have front clips draw your dog to the side towards you when she pulls. It's a pull on the dog's core, not the neck, and a gentle tug is all you need for your dog to respond. (I don't know why, but it seems to be in a dog's DNA to keep pulling in the opposite direction when you tug on his neck!)
As you'll note from the image above, the harness has a handle on the top in case you need to get control of your dog right away.
Other highlights include strong and weatherproof materials, breathable fabric, and reflective straps.
Measure your dog carefully for the harness. Customers say though that the harness runs a bit small, so if you're in between sizes go with the larger one.
Don't let these small dogs fool you, the EXPAWLORER Best No-Pull Dog Harness comes in five sizes from x-small to x-large, and in five colors - green, gray, pink, orange, and red.
The EXPAWLORER Best is a lightweight but sturdy strapped harness with both chest and back d-rings for leashes. The oxford nylon straps are sponge-backed to provide more comfort to your dog. (I'm a big fan of providing cushioning for harness straps.)
I like the fact that these harnesses have plenty of strap length for adjustments, and in four areas!
Definitely measure your dog carefully before purchasing. Though the EXPAWLORER Best No-Pull Dog Harness is a very highly rated harness, some customers report this harness runs small.
This Big Dog Harness by EXPAWLORER is very sturdy and handsome too! You will notice that the front strap is narrower than the harnesses above and that kind of strap is okay to use for broad-chested dogs as their physiques can support a slight pull in this area. The pull would come from the leash attached to the back of the harness; there is no leash hook attached to the front strap.
Here are the features of the EXPAWLORER Big Dog Soft Reflective No Pull Harness:
The Big Dog is my choice for big, gentle giants, those who are not normally pullers, not aggressive, nor high strung. My favorite part of this harness is the handle, which definitely gives you confidence that if the unexpected happens, you can quickly and securely get control. The strap is reinforced with a strong nylon grip.
The Big Dog Soft Harness comes in three sizes - Medium, Large, and Extra Large - and in six colors - black, blue, purple, orange, pink, and red.
Make sure you measure your dog carefully around the chest. Customers report that sizes are true to the measurements in the sizing diagram below.
Kurgo is an excellent brand, particularly for the canine who loves the outdoors. The Kurgo Tru-Fit No Pull Dog Harness is one of several Kurgo harnesses. It does have a front leash hook so you can use it for training, but it also has a hook on the back. The position of the collar band is low enough to protect the fragile neck area when you attach the leash to the back link. This harness also boasts five adjustment points for the optimal fit for your dog.
There is good padding in this harness and strong materials. Kurgo products have a lifetime guarantee, so you know its materials are good quality.
Note, you get a 10" attachment to your dog's car seat belt! (If you're interested in a Kurgo harness and belt that has been crash tested, check out this version of the Kurgo Tru-Fit.)
Again, carefully measure. Here is the Kurgo harness sizing chart from X-Small to X-Large...
I have to admit saving my personal favorite for last. I love the Headlight Harness for its bold headlight and bright reflective bands and all the other features which control your dog comfortably while you're training or walking. But I wrote a whole blog about the Headlight recently, so I'm going to refer you to my blog for the lowdown: The Headlight Harness Has Everything You'd Want In A Dog Harness.
These are my top 5 dog harnesses which are great for walking, running, hiking, training, and just about everything you do with your dog outside the house. There is no reason why you shouldn't use a harness on your dog at all times when you are outdoors. Most of the fabrics are lightweight and breathable. They are provide a more stable hold when attached to your safety belts.
Make sure you remove the harness when your dog is in the house. If you need a lightweight harness to help lift a dog with weak legs, try the Labra Veterinarian Approved Dog Canine K9 Sling Lift, but don't leave it on your dog when she's at rest. Slide the sling underneath her when she's ready to get up.
There are several other no-pull harnesses that are popular with owners. If you are undecided about the ones covered above, here are some others whose customer reviews are good; you might consider them.
That's the buzz for today!