Basic Needs

Durable Dog Collars, Harnesses

Much the same as dog crates, you want to look for dog collars that are durable. You want collars that will last your pup for years to come. Whether you need a collar, harness, or both, if you plan on keeping your pup for the duration of his life, buying a durable dog collar or harness is well worth the initial investment.

Leather vs Nylon

Nylon collars and harnesses may be a good start when your pup is very young, as he will grow quickly and some of these grow at least a little bit with your pup. But nylon, no matter how soft, can rub the hair and skin on a pup–especially that almost cotton-like fur on a little guy. So I suggest you do not leave these on full time.

When your little friend is ready to begin training, such as walking on a leash, basic obedience, it is a better idea to invest in a durable leather collar. Leather is pliable, yet strong. The more your dog has it on, his natural oils actually soften the leather. As long as you clean them periodically with the appropriate stuff (I use bag balm or saddle soap), leather collars and leashes will even outlast your dog! The collar in the photo (below) I bought from Leerburg 16 years ago and has lasted 3 dogs!

Hanani leather collar

Similarly, leather leashes are more durable and easier on your hands. And, hey, the leash has to match the collar, right? The 6-foot leather leash is a great all-around, for training, simple walks and everything you may need to do with your pooch. I do keep nylon leashes on hand, though. Usually for use as a “drag leash”, which I will explain in a later post. For daily use and training, however–as long as you do not, as it pains me to see some folks do, let your pup chew on it–leather leashes are the way to go!

Harnesses

Lots of folks nowadays seem to lean toward harnesses for everyday use. Though I am not a huge fan, harnesses do have their place and, when used properly, can be successful training tools. Please note, however, I am *not* talking about those head harnesses. With all due respect, that is one of the silliest ideas I have seen in my many years with dogs. That’s all I say there, for now.

Young puppies do well on harnesses because they are untrained as of yet and the more important issue at that stage is simply keeping them near, and getting them accustomed to being tethered to you. Harnessing puppies also keeps their neck soft–meaning, they do not get the opportunity to pull hard, repeatedly and thus end up a bit desensitized in that area. Later on, if you chose to continue with a harness, I still advocate leather. Again, they’re most durable, last longer and are most comfortable for your dog’s skin. I mean, c’mon. Skin on skin, or nylon on skin. Which would you rather wear?

Some harnesses are built for specific purposes, usually for working or sporting dogs. You can stroll through the list of various styles once you have a plan to train your pup for her new job. Pictured below is typically known as an “agitation harness.” More often trainers use this type for dogs in protection or police work. They work fabulous in search training as well. The harness Hanani is sporting in the photo was also bought from Leerburg in 2002. You can see for yourself that with proper care, these truly are well worth the investment!

Hanani leather harness

Have Fun!

In this day and age where we can take our four-leggers pretty much everywhere, there are more opportunities to have fun with your pup! When Jamie and I first brought Hanani home from the airport, we stopped by a pet shop to grab some necessities. To take her in the store with us was a big help, sizing her for a harness, and made our first jaunt together memorable 🙂

Free Dog Tips

Key #1: Leather is always better! More durable, last longer and most comfortable for your pooch.

Key #2: Never let your pup chew on the leash or collar. Creating bad habits is not the way to raising a good dog!

Key #3: Consider all tools for your pup as an investment. You want to get the most for your buck!

Key #4: Always have fun with your pup!

 

 

Categories: Basic Needs

5 replies »

  1. So happy to be here and I’m learning a lot already. As far as training goes, my almost 5 month old DS Gunner is bad about pulling and jumping on me when I try to walk him. I’ve had people tell me to try everything from a e collar to a prong to a harness. What is best to use? I have Gunner in a puppy obedience class right now, he is doing fairly good considering there are these tiny yappy pups he’d love to get his teeth on lol and he does good at home. But trying to walk him at home or in class is a nightmare.

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    • Ha! What fun, Paula! At 5 mos old he is prime to begin to learn–and retain–good training. It is great you have him in a puppy class, even if for only the social skills he needs. Good move there. As far as his behavior, you are right to expect him at his age to begin to respond to you. Key word here is *begin*. More important than tools to control him is to help him develop his focus. As you well know, DS’s are FULL of energy and go after everything that moves! It’s how they are wired. The key is to help them learn to focus that energy on you. The greatest tool here you can use is your voice and your own determination. You could start with him just in your house, off lead, and teach him through game playing. I use both treats and toys for rewards. For example: Play tug with him for a minute or two and as you do, get him in “heal” position. While he is there only hold your end of the tug rope–do not shake it, etc. Reach over and pet his head, tell him “good heal.” Wait a minute, then bust out in some tug time–that is his “reward” for getting in position. Do that a few times. Then each time he gets in position, take a few steps, adding more the more he gets it. As soon as he takes steps with you–in position–praise him, then bust out in some tug time for a minute or less. Next session, start with you holding the tug. *If he starts jumping up on or toward you, turn your head or your entire body away from him. (Dogs turn away from each other when they want to say, “chill out” or “I’m not down with that.”) Give him no attention until he calms with all 4 on the floor. They’ll usually sit trying to figure out what’s up. As soon as he calms or sits, praise him! When he is calm get his attention with the tug rope. Tell him, “Gunner, heal” with the rope by your left hip. As soon as he is in position, pause for a second, then praise him again. This process can be repeated on or off lead. With treats or tug. If you use the tug, get a rope that you will use only for training. Soon as he sees it, eventually, he will get excited! Later, when he does well consistently around the house, take him where there are distractions. Don’t expect him to endure those distractions right away! But he will refocus with your consistency. Have fun with him! He’s a pup and that’s all pups want. You just need to help him understand your version of fun 😉 You’ll be great, and have an awesome dog!

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      • That is advice, nobody else has suggested anything like that before, thank you. I totally understand that just like with kids it takes time to learn things and that Gunner is a puppy. I need to find a longer rope toy, because he likes to bite his way up to my hand when we play tug lol. But I am most definitely going to try your advice! Thank you again!

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      • Well, thanx for the compliment! I am blessed to be of help! Please bear with me, as this site is so new. In the near future I plan on uploading photos and videos of some of the things I learned to do with my pups. So check back often 🙂

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