Leash and collar or lead and harness? This frequently asked question is often answered with a series of questions to better understand the needs of your furry friend, including size, breed, and personality. With so many options, it can be an overwhelming process to choose which option is best for you and your pup. So let’s examine the differences of each so you can guide your canine companions with confidence using the best restraints for your pup.  

Collar: The commonly used, collar, is a must-have for all pet owners – even if you decide to use alternative methods for leisurely strolls. It is strongly recommended that your dog have on a collar at all times for identification, in case of separation. While there are many types of collars, the most important factor when picking one out is going to be the size and overall fit. It is important that the collar sits snuggly on the neck, but not overly tightened. A good rule of “thumb” is to use the two finger test to allow for a proper fit for your pet. If your dog is experiencing difficulty breathing or coughing, adjust the collar, as it is likely too tight. 

Harness: While the harness is used for all dogs of every shape and size, the harness is especially beneficial in dogs that often pull or jump. It has been suggested by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that the harness can remediate cases of extreme pulling, which makes it an excellent choice for training and larger dogs.

Leash: Leashes come in all patterns, colors, sizes, grips, and types. A commonly asked question we hear often, “Which leash is better for my dog, retractable or fixed?” The answer depends on your pup and their level of training. For quick trips to the vet, a short fixed leash is best due to increased traffic of other animals, as well as their overall stress and excitement levels during the visit. Canines lacking healthy socialization skills should likewise be kept close. Also, if your dog tends to wander, using an adjustable leash could lead to a potentially dangerous situation, like running onto a busy street. However, if your pooch is friendly and well trained, the retractable may be the right choice for you.

Lead: Don’t be fooled by this verbiage, a lead is the commonly used English word for leash. When deciding on the best lead for your pet, it is important to consider the following: material strength, length, comfort and positioning, chew resistance, and overall purpose. These factors will vary upon the size, breed, and temperament of your dog.

In conclusion, have patience and a calm attitude while teaching leash ettiquette. Remember that restraint and leash training often takes time, practice, and also reward with praise and a treat or two after a well-behaved walk.

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