How To Choose The Best Lead And Collar For a Dog
The choice of lead and collar or what you use on your dog to train it can have either a good or a very bad effect on your dog, choose carefully and choose wisely when deciding how to train and control your dog
What Choices Do You Have: Imagine the lead and collar is an aerial to your dog, sending constant messages to your puppy or adult dog.
Well, that is exactly what your leads and collars do. It should not just be used for taking the dog for a walk.
In fact, it is one of the most important aids for training dogs and puppies. Therefore, is important that you choose wisely.
Many leads are made by manufacturers with just an eye to profit, rather than being user-friendly and the right length.
I find that most of the leads sold on the market are far too short. The average is 3 feet long when it should be at least 5.6 feet long, and be of a material that is easily washed and is kind to the hands and to the dog.
Why would they produce leads only 3ft long? Simple, to save on material and cost. The clips and rings are normally not made in the UK, and often rust, break and the leads fray.
The right choice of lead and collar is critical for all types of training requirements from walking to heel to sit-stay, jumping up and the off command All training should be started on the lead.
Extendable Leads: The choice of lead you start with can have an effect on your dog for the remainder of their lives.
Let me give an example, you choose an extendable lead and what do you get?
Firstly you get a dog that pulls on the lead because the extendable lead teaches them that very quickly.
Secondly, you get a lead that is potentially dangerous to dogs, yourself and other people., and thirdly you get a dog that is effectively out of control.
The dog runs around you and the cord on the lead wraps around your leg. The dog keeps running and you can get a very serious friction burn that can go down to the bone.
This can happen to you or to other people if your dog runs around them. I have known dogs that have had a leg amputated because the lead wrapped around their own leg and when the friction started they ran faster to try and get away from it. Causing deep burns sometimes down to the bone that wouldn’t heal and the leg had to be removed.
People can end up with serious injuries like broken legs and arms from tripping over them. The injuries that are shown in the picture above are all children though lots of adults are also injured
My personal belief is they are a menace and you should have special insurance to use one. If I could I would ban them all. A couple of came into my shop recently they had been in Bushy Park a large Royal Park just behind my store and told me that they had just seen a cyclist run into an extendable lead and dragged the dog along the path injuring. It was not the cyclist’s fault.
Halti’s and Harnesses: I see many dogs with a Halti or a Harness. Why? Does the dog like them? I think you will find the answer is a resounding NO! In the case of head restraints like the Halti, They pull down the head so the chin comes down to the chest when the dog pulls.
Try it? pull your chin down on your chest and see how it feels. Can you breathe? Do you feel comfortable? They also tighten around the muzzle one of the most sensitive parts of a dog causing pain and severe discomfort.
Many dogs have hair rubbed down to the skin, blisters and abrasions and infections where they have ridden up and rubbed against the eyes.
And these are supposed to be the kind alternative they are the opposite of kind I believe they are abusive?
Harnesses compress the chest and the lungs, and tighten under the armpits of the front legs, nipping the sensitive skin under what would be our armpits.
They also change the centre of balance and causes the dog to be pulled slightly sideways. There is one further reason not to use a harness, you cannot control a dog from the middle of its back.
You can always tell if a so-called “Training Aid” works by pain and discomfort. Dogs do not happily have a harness put on, many will shy away and are wary of the discomfort and pain they know is coming.
Simply take it off and put on a normal lead and collar. if the dog still pulls then you know that it works by hurting your dog, therefore the words Training Aids are actually incorrect. they do not train anything, they just cause pain, discomfort and ultimately resentment.
I am sure that is not what you wanted for your dog. Perhaps you were not aware of how they work?. They do not work by magic and are not manufactured by Harry Potter.
The only reason I would ever use a harness is for recall training adult dogs by use of a long training lead. That means the sudden stop when using the recall and whistle technique could seriously injure a dogs neck, as could a dog tethered in a car in an accident. Therefore I sell them in my store but only for that purpose.
Starting Early: I teach a method that works in minutes see Walking to Heel at the bottom of this page , which actually trains the dog to walk to heel, rather than just impedes and hurts it. Dog’s even as a puppy can be taken off the lead and it should walk next to you once you have trained it properly. (But never when there is traffic or near roads) Many thousands of dogs and their owners have benefited from my training methods which are simple and easy to follow. Plus I have a DVD that shows my methods clearly working with dogs that I have never worked with before.
Choosing The Right Lead: I made the decision to manufacture my own leads to my exacting standards quite simply because I could not buy a good lead or collar in the shops
All my leads and collars are made of an amazing material called cushion web.
My lead material and the clips and rings are all made in the UK.
The leads are very soft on the hands and it does not cut into the fingers or burn your hand if you drag your hand down it.
The length is 5ft 8.5 inches long and they can be clipped by means of the O-ring to go down to half that length.
That makes these leads very versatile, for instance, you can half the length if you want to hold the lead one-handed. Especially handy if you have shopping or a pram etc
I have also made a lead that is only 12 inches long which is a great house or outside lead and is very useful for the larger dog. Labrador and above. I also use it as the last lead I leave on when training recall with a junior or adult dog. See my article Recall Training Dogs. Which comes up 1st in any Google search.
My standard leads and collars come in matching colours. Orange, Purple, Green, Pink, Blue, Red, and Black. I have added a thinner lead and collar similar to my classic standard leads that are mainly for smaller dogs so they can enjoy these totally British made leads and collars.
These leads and collars are 24mm wide and the thinner lighter ones are 19mm. That would be approximately 1 inch for the standards and 3/4 of an inch for the thinner ones. all are 5.8 inches long.
New Leads: I have also added a special edition red white and blue lead and my own brand of slip leads. Including an ultra-skinny one. which I use all the time as they will even fit in a purse. I can slip five of them in one pocket and not know they are even there. I always start dogs on a lead and collar before changing to a slip lead and my techniques show this is the best way to get brilliant loose lead walking.
It is not only the colours or the material that makes them so good for training everything from the sit-stay to walking to heel. It is the length that is vital. Most leads are three or four feet long and are not versatile enough for all breeds. Because of the length of the leads, I manufacture it makes initial training far easier. Once you have trained the dog you can switch to a slip lead which I have now started to sell my own brand.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to train walking to heel with a rope slip lead. You need a good training lead initially.
and of course, I sell matching collars for my normal leads shown above that are soft and gentle on your dog’s neck.
These collars are about an inch wide that is so they spread the pressure and energy over a wider area if the dog lunges or pulls. If it is thin then it acts like a garrot and can damage the nerves and the cartilage in the neck. Once you have trained the dog not to pull or lunge then you can use the thin collars or slip leads but not before.
I also sell a very short lead for larger dogs and for leaving on whilst training dogs to recall.
I also sell a 25-foot recall training lead in quality canvas webbing, I also sell a one for a larger dog in heavier material with a soft feel touch.
These leads are not meant to be held though they do have a quality soft feel handle. They are there to be dragged behind the dog and teaches recall by standing on the lead and blowing a recall whistle at the same time.
Given time, this sets the brain of the dog to believe it is the whistle that is stopping it not the lead as you are not holding it. This is how gundog trainers, train the dogs not to run after pheasants, rabbits or any animal or bird without permission until you give the release command.
With the right tools and guidance, training can become very easy. However, it is worth remembering that the lead and collar is your greatest training aid.
©Stan Rawlinson. May 2014
Updated January 2021
Further Reading and information
These are a couple of comments that arrived in the last few days strangely enough both were from America
The lead Jingler and Collar combo have arrived. The quality of your dog lead is so superior to what I have seen in any of the pet stores here it is more than worth it. The playpens I have seen are made in China and are not of good quality. The cost for yours in US dollars is $96.99 plus a small transaction fee. I assume that the shipping is the same cost of the playpen. How much are they quoting you for the shipping?
Good Morning Stan,
I received “Royal Mail” this week; thank you. I am very excited about the quality of the materials, and your techniques. My yellow lab, Daisy, is 2.5 years–due to her “energy level” I am her 5th home 🙂
“We’ve” only been together for 8 months. We live on a large property that includes forest, a few small pastures, creeks, thickets, ditches, and assorted wildlife. It is a perfect setting for a young, enthusiastic lab. I have kept Daisy on leash as she learns to walk with me, basic obedience skills, and how to deal with nature’s distractions 🙂
With the help of your training gear and instructions, I believe her sit stays, and recalls will soon be “rock solid.”
Your collars, leashes are lovely–and the silver jinglers are very attractive with the black and purple fabrics. Thank you, thank you.
Kindest thoughts for a wonderful spring. Thank you for sharing extensive knowledge.
Your Michigan fan,