Signs of spring are all around us. What better time to grab a leash and take your best friend for a walk!
By the tail end of winter, Bowzer is surely bored with the back yard or those brisk ‘hurry up and go’ walks. So now is a great time to renew that loving bond with your dog by getting outdoors. Your dog will enjoy all the new spring scents and you both can benefit from the exercise!
Walking the dog requires just two simple tools: a leash and a collar. You may not have put much thought into choosing these items in the past, but you should. A leash and collar play a very important role in controlling your pet and keeping them out of harm’s way.
Leashes (or leads) connect you to your pet. They come in a variety of lengths, materials and styles. Pet parents typically have a preference of lead for comfort and convenience.
But our focus here is choosing the collar or harness that the leash attaches to. This key “active wear” for dogs requires some careful thought as it’s the equivalent of great walking shoes for humans! Keep in mind, a collar wraps around your dog’s neck, so you want to be sure to choose carefully. Material, functionality, and fit are critical factors to consider when choosing the right one for your best friend.
For maximum enjoyment on walks or adventures with your canine, chose a collar or harness that takes their breed, size, activity level, and personality into consideration. The following recommendations are intended for leisure walks and outings with your dog. (Training collars should be discussed with a professional dog trainer.)
But before digging into the Best of the Best, please remember that any collar or harness you choose should have the following features:
1) Secure closure, either a buckle or a snap closure that doesn’t wiggle when closed
2) Durable metals or plastics - no rusty hardware or weakened plastic
3) A secure ring or place to attach your dog’s identification and license
4) A proper fit
Fitting your Fido properly with a collar is also essential for comfort and safety. A good rule of thumb for most collars (excluding choke chain/prong collars) is that you should be able to fit two fingers comfortably between your dog’s neck and the collar. Too tight may cause discomfort or difficulty breathing; too loose and your pet may be able to slip out of it. And please remember, if you have a young dog that is still growing (18 months or less), check the collar’s fit weekly so that it doesn’t become too snug as they grow!
My final collar comment before getting to the goods - keep a comfy collar with identification tags on your pet AT ALL TIMES. You never know when they might slip out an open door or fence. Identification tags are the quickest way for someone to identify your pet and return them to you. (A microchip for ID is essential too - it’s permanent!)