Choosing the Right Leash or Harness for Your Dog
Collars, leashes, and harnesses are some of the most important equipment to have for your dog. With so many different types available, choosing the right type of harness or leash for your pet can be confusing. So, what type of leash is best for dogs? Is a harness better? It all depends on your dog, their size, and how well they are trained.
Different Kinds of Dog Leashes
Dog leashes come in a variety of colors and styles, and most are made from leather, nylon, rope, or chain. Nylon and rope leashes are fairly sturdy and can be washed, but if your dog is a chewer that loves to gnaw on the leash, you may want to opt for leather or durable rope. The design of the leash will mostly depend on your dog’s breed and size. For large dogs, choose a leash that goes on a headcollar for the best control. What kind of leash is best for a small dog? For tiny lightweight pooches, a no-pull dog harness is the best choice. Here are the most common types of dog leashes:
- Standard Leash – Featuring a loop handle and a metal collar clip, a standard leash is best for training and everyday use. Look for a leash with a padded handle for comfort.
- Adjustable Leash – Similar in design to standard leashes, adjustable leads have several loops to shorten or lengthen the leash. These are great for training, as you can vary the length to improve your control.
- Retractable Leash – This type of leash allows your dog to roam further away from you without taking them off the lead. Most retractable leashes can extend up to 26 feet and can be locked at the desired length. Use this type of leash with well-trained dogs, otherwise, you’re teaching your dog that pulling at the leash works.
- Slip Lead – Acting as a collar and a leash in one, a slip lead has a loop at one end designed to slip over the dog’s head, and then tighten. If your dog tends to pull, avoid use as the collar portion can choke off the airway. Conversely, allow it to remain too loose, and the dog can easily slip free of the leash, so be sure they’re wearing a collar with ID tags.
The Best Type of Leash for a Dog That Pulls
Some dogs get overexcited or are overprotective, which results in them pulling on the leash, which can damage the dog’s throat. Others simply need additional training to break the pulling habit. Do not use a leash that tightens around the dog’s neck or chest, as it can cause injury. Training experts recommend that you consider a no-pull harness vest for better control instead.
What is the Best Type of Harness for a Dog?
The best type of harness for dogs that pull will depend on the size and weight of the dog. Harnesses are more comfortable for dogs and provide more control than a collar and leash configuration, especially with dogs that tend to pull or lunge. Harnesses take the weight and pressure off the dog’s collar and neck and redistribute it onto their shoulders, chest, and back, reducing the risks of neck strain or choking. Vest or strap style harnesses will include a front-clip, back-clip, or dual-clip system. The best type of harness for small dogs should have a back clip design to prevent them from getting tangled. To get the best harness for big dogs, choose a front clip or dual clip design for more control.
When it comes to choosing the right harness, the fit is vitally important for your dog’s comfort and safety. If the harness is too tight, the dog’s movement is too restricted and can cause injury. Too loose, and the dog can slip free or injure itself trying. The right harness for your pooch will fit snugly around the dog’s torso and fasten in the back. To judge the fit, use the finger test. For smaller dogs, you should be able to slip a finger between the harness and the dog. Any more than that, and you run the risk that the dog can slip out of the harness. For larger dogs, two fingers are ideal for determining the fit. Your veterinarian or local pet store professional can help you determine the right size and fit if you’re unsure.
No matter what kind of leash or harness you choose for your dog, it should be well-made with a secure clasp and include a reflective strip for visibility at night. It should also be easy to put on and take off, and washability is another plus, especially for dogs that like to get down and roll in the dirt or mud.
Want more ideas on different types and brands of harnesses for dogs and their benefits? Check out this extensive list from NYMag. If you have questions about choosing the right type of leash or harness for your pet, talk to your veterinarian.