When you have a dog, there are certain items that become readily available in your home. Your pup’s favorite food and treats, as well as squeaky toys or tennis balls for fetch, help to keep your dog happy and healthy. Just as important as a frisbee or chew toy are the collars and leashes you choose for your dog. Making the right choice can make going on a walk a pleasant, and safe, experience.

At Charleston Dog Training, we see clients who aren’t confident they have been using the right collar or leash. To make it even more confusing, the best leash and collar choices can vary from dog to dog or even owner to owner. Here is what you need to know to make the best decisions possible.

Say No to Retractable Leashes

Retractable leashes are popular among many dog owners, but we never recommend them. Unfortunately, retractable leashes set inconsistent boundaries for the dog, which can be confusing for him and for you. Further, retractable leashes can be unreliable, snapping with minimal force and leaving your dog running down the street without you.

Say Yes to Short and Long Leash Options

During your neighborhood walks, use a leash that is no more than 6 feet long. This distance allows your dog some room to sniff independently while assuring you are nearby to give verbal commands and positive reinforcement. For more training practice, consider a long leash for backyard or beach sessions. A longer leash allows for your dog to practice feeling independent while still offering you the chance to correct any bad behavior.

Ditch the Harness

Some owners choose to hook a leash to a harness, in the hopes it will decrease pulling or lunging. However, a harness can increase that bad behavior, tricking the dog into thinking it needs to work to pull you along. Harnesses can cause serious shoulder injury as well. Avoid this option at all costs, choosing to decrease pulling and lunging by practicing good leash obedience.

Consider a Collar Made for Communication

At Charleston Dog Training, we have had the opportunity to work with multiple types of collars. We tend to use ones that give us the chance to communicate with the dogs we work with. Give us a call to learn more about our collar recommendations based on your situation.

Leashes and collars are meant to keep you and your dog safe while outside of your home. Without proper obedience training, though, your dog will be unsure about their expectations. Give us a call to find out how your dog can learn good leash manners and more obedience commands.

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