Collars - Choosing & Fit CHOOSING A DOG COLLAR
Choosing the right dog collar is about function as well as personal preference. You can express your personal style with a variety of dog collars for everyday use. Collars with metal buckles or quick release clasps are available in a variety of materials, colors and styles. Many pet owners prefer buckle collars for stronger dogs, as quick release clasps tend to be less sturdy. Consider your dog’s size, temperament and favorite activities – are they a couch potato or a water hound? Does your dog have behavior problems? You may want to learn about specialty dog training collars such as martingales. Martingale collars tighten in response to how hard a dog pulls, then relax and loosen while he is at rest. Martingale collars are especially helpful for dogs whose heads are narrower than their necks, as they risk slipping out of ordinary dog collars. They are also recommended as a puppy collar for those who are not sensitive to the touch of regular flat dog collars.
Every dog needs a collar, chiefly because he needs something to hang his ID, license, and rabies vaccination tag on (and leash, of course).
Always be sure your dog's collar has a name tag (ID Tag) with your current contact information even though they may have a chip inserted, if a neighbor finds your pup they are more likely to be returned quicker with an ID tag.
Size and Fit: You should be able to fit two fingers between the dog collar and your dog’s neck. To measure your dog’s neck size for a collar, use a cloth measuring tape or string and slide your two fingers underneath it. For growing puppies, check the collar’s fit frequently and consider an adjustable collar. Most dog collars come in two widths – one inch wide for medium to large dogs and narrower ½” to ¾” wide for small dogs.
Dog Collar Material Considerations: Most dog collars are made from leather, nylon or ribbon stitched onto nylon webbing. High quality leather dog collars will last a long time if cared for.
- Leather & Pleather Rolled leather collars are durable and less likely to cause hair loss or parting and help prevent chafing and are great for dogs with long hair, the hair will not get tangled around the collar.
- Nylon webbing and ribbon dog collars are colorful, stylish and long-lasting. They are especially nice for puppies because they adjust as your puppy grows and they aren’t as heavy. If you take your dog for evening walks, consider changing into a reflective dog collar.
- Cotton & Fabric
- Rubber & poly
- Eco-Friendly Bamboo webbing is naturally anti-bacterial and odor resistant, more absorbent and fast drying than other natural fabrics, breathable, and 100% biodegradable!
- Ultra Suede dog collars are lightweight and come in a large selection of colors. They can be plain or embellished with crystals and/or appliques. These are usually for the smaller pups.
- Break-Away Collars: These collars are also for everyday use, but have a special safety feature to prevent choking. However, they can still be used for walking on a leash. The collar will break away if the loop becomes caught on something and your dog pulls away. When a leash is hooked onto both loops, you can walk your dog without the risk of the collar breaking away.
- Show Collars are slip collars typically made out of a braided material such as leather, nylon or metal. These collars should not be confused with chain slip collars.
- Lighted collar (or collar light, dog light) is a collar that emits light in order to make a dog more visible in the dark to their owners and more importantly, nearby motorists. It should be noted that it is not designed to help a dog see at night, as it is well documented that dogs have very good vision in low light conditions. Most lighted collars utilize one or more light emitting diodes for the light source and can be of virtually any color, although red and blue are most common. Power is provided by one or more batteries, most common types being AAA and lithium coin cells to minimize the added weight to the collar.
Why Use A Martingale Collar? Martingale Collars have 2 loops. The smaller of the loops is called the "Control Loop". This is the portion of the collar that is attached to the leash and tightens when it is pulled. The second loop is the adjustment loop. This is the part of the dog collar that you adjust to the right size to fit your dog. Dog trainers prefer Martingale Collars because of the gentle choke. Martingales are much more humane then a choke chain. For this reason Martingale collars make great training collars for all breeds. AKC Dog Show Owners prefer the Martingale Collar because it does not damage the fur and will not crush the trachea. Martingale collars are also known as Greyhound Collars or Humane Choke Collars. The Martingale Dog Collar was designed for Sighthounds (ie, Greyhounds, Whippets, Italian Greyhounds, Borzoi, Saluki, etc) because their necks are larger than their head and they can slip out of traditional side release dog collars; these collars have gained popularity as training dog collars with other breeds in the recent past because trainers prefer the humane choke aspects.
Dog Harnesses: Harnesses, which go around the neck and around the shoulders behind the front legs, are recommended for dogs who have upper respiratory disease or diseases of the throat or trachea, such as a collapsed trachea. If a dog with a collar pulls on the leash, it places pressure on the throat and trachea, causing irritation and coughing. Harnesses relieve that pressure. A leash can be attached to the top of the harness. Some dog owners prefer harnesses over collars, especially for dogs with a tendency to pull, because they put no pressure on the neck. Some trainers feel that harnesses only encourage pulling and that leash-and-collar training should be enforced. Harnesses are ideal for dogs with medical problems in the neck and airway.
Types Of Harnesses:
- Step-In Harnesses
Step-in harnesses are rapidly becoming dog owners’ favorites – for good reason. Step-ins are easy to use, choke-free, adjustable, comfortable and come in a variety of patterns and sizes. Almost all Step-in Harnesses have: two straps collected by a buckle at the ends, with a perpendicular strap between, forming the spaces for the dog’s front legs. The dog steps into the harness (hence the name), the ends are brought up over the dog’s back and the buckle is clasped. Easy!
What it is: Just as the name implies, this type of harness provides a simple step-in, snap-and-go, no-frills option for all pets. The harness consists of two lightweight straps separated by a thin perpendicular strap in the middle so that you can lay the harness down flat and simply have your pet "step in” the holes separated by the perpendicular strap, then pull the sides up and snap the closure on top the back.
Best fit for: Obedient dogs of all shapes and sizes. Because this style of harness is adjustable, it is easy to custom-adjust it to fit your pooch.
- Standard or Roman also called a Tinkie or Walking
Standard (or Roman) harnesses are the ones most people are familiar with. In the past, with straps going every-which-way, unclear back and front, etc. Standard Harnesses may have been difficult to use. Not anymore. The style has been updated by many manufacturers so these harnesses are comfortable for dogs to wear and easy to put on. The Standard Harness slips over the dog’s head, one leg goes into the “armhole,” the bottom strap is brought around and buckled. Straps can be adjusted for a custom fit. Most harnesses use a “parachute clasp” which snaps shut, so your dog won’t have time to wiggle away. If you haven’t tried a Roman harness in a while, it may be the time to revisit this old favorite with a modern twist! What it is: The standard harness slips over the head and provides a snap closure around the body of your pet. The neck enclosure provides added weight distribution and full body control. In addition, the adjustable shoulder straps allow pups with a tendency toward neck strain the comfort of pain-free walks.
Best fit for: Small breeds and well-behaved, low-energy pets. The standard harness is a two-step process (over-head and body strap) and overly eager pets may not have the patience for it.
- The Vest-type Harness is exploding in popularity for good reason – no pressure on your dog’s neck. The D-ring for the leash is on the dog’s back, far away from the dog’s vulnerable throat. There are a variety of styles to choose among; functional, sporty, trendy and fun.
Most of the sportier vest harnesses, like the Puppia Soft Harness, do not adjust at the neck. Vest harnesses come in a wide range of sizes, so most dogs, especially those under 25 lbs., will find a good fit. Measure your dog’s girth, just behind his front legs. To put it on your dog: Slip the harness over your dog’s neck, draw one paw through the “armhole,” bring the strap around under his tummy and clasp.
- The Backpack Harness allows even little dogs to help out! Let her carry her own “poop bag” for a change!
- Car harness
What it is: Providing safe and easy car travel, car harnesses look much like regular harnesses with the bonus of a built-in seat-belt loop for click-and-go traveling. A top option for pets who love to ride in the back seat, car harnesses easily turn into a regular harness, making this the only accessory you need for your pet. Best fit for: Pets with active lifestyles. Pet parents who love taking their pups on road trips and other adventures will benefit from the ease of a built-in seat belt that allows them to enjoy easy car rides.
- No-pull harness
What it is: Designed with the untrained dog in mind, the no-pull harness typically features a two-snap process: one band that goes around the belly and one that goes around the chest. Rather than bands that go around the neck or shoulders, this type of harness strategically places the band in front of the chest. The leash hook, or D-ring, is also placed in the front to discourage pulling and tugging, and giving you more control over your pet's movement.
- Best fit for: Puppies and dogs working on leash training.
Material – you should consider only one thing as main factor in this dilemma decision.
For wet weather and high humidly climate, please choose nylon dog harness, for dry weather it is less important, both nylon and leather will do. It is important to mention that constant occasional usage of leather conditioner will allow you to use leather harness in wet weather as well. Please treat your product well for long years of enjoyable usage.
- No-pull harness: What it is: Designed with the untrained dog in mind, the no-pull harness typically features a two-snap process: one band that goes around the belly and one that goes around the chest. Rather than bands that go around the neck or shoulders, this type of harness strategically places the band in front of the chest. The leash hook, or D-ring, is also placed in the front to discourage pulling and tugging, and giving you more control over your pet's movement. Best fit for: Puppies and dogs working on leash training.
Boot & Shoes
Dog boots & shoes protects dog's feet and their floor's surfaces, while being warm, functional, and staying in place during wear. Dog boots that are protective of your dog's feet from hot and cold, burs and thorns, hard and jagged terrains, hot asphalt, rain, snow, mud, ice, and all of mother nature's attacks on tender paws and pads. Is trail running hard on a dog's feet? Trail running is hard on everyone's feet. Rocks, roots, mud, snow or ice can be torturous. Generally, dogs' paws become conditioned to run on familiar surfaces after a few weeks but at the beginning of a season, new terrain and changing environmental conditions can cause stone bruising, cuts and blistered pads. What about running on pavement in urban settings? Pavement comes in thousands of textures and can be extremely abrasive. Hot in summer, freezing in winter and often riddled with glass and sharp metal debris. Laced with oils, solvents and de-icing chemicals, this would be the last place I would let my dog walk or run without dog shoes.
Does snow and/or ice pose a problem for dog's feet? Yes, certain conditions produce sticky, wet snow. In these conditions the snow will ball up in-between the dogs toes and cause irritation, cuts and tenderness. Dogs often chew at this frozen snow, pulling out fur and in some cases chunks of their pads. Granular or frozen snow on the other hand is equivalent to course sandpaper and is extremely abrasive on pads. As more people take their dogs snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on groomed or hard-packed trails, it is especially important to protect their pads. Another hazard would be razor sharp ski and snowboard edges. I have seen several and heard of many more severely cut paws, pads and ankles from frolicking dogs that venture too close to skis and snowboards.
How much hiking or running is too much on a dog's feet? Conditioning is key! Any amount of exercise can be too much if the dogs are not conditioned to the surfaces they are walking or running on. We suggest using protective dog booties anytime your dog is in a new environment. Dogs are accustomed to running around "bare foot" in their normal daily environment. But just as humans are susceptible to hot, cold, sharp, abrasive, or caustic surfaces, so are dogs. Be aware and you won't have to carry a lame dog out of the back country.
How can you tell if a dog's feet are sore or injured? If you are in tune with your dog's activity level and personality, you will be able to tell that your dog may be staying off his feet or favoring a paw. Of course it is best to be attentive to the details of your dog's actions after any sustained or excessive exercise. Look for the obvious cuts, blisters or in extreme cases a "sloughed" pad. Less noticeable will be abraded or thin pads. In this case look for small wet dots the size of a ballpoint pen or moist areas on the pads. These are areas where the pad has worn down to the capillaries. This condition is painful, as there is very little pad left on which to walk.
What are some tips for treating a dog's bruised or cut pads? When treating a cut pad, the first step is to make certain that there are no foreign objects left in the wound. Splinters, gravel and glass are just a few things to look for. Flush the wound with the sterile eye-skin wash or use a saline solution (1-tsp. salt to a quart of warm water) and dry the paw. You may want to apply an antibiotic ointment then wrap the paw starting with a non-stick pad. A bootie will protect the dressing and keep the area clean between dressing changes.
For bruised pads try to reduce activity to allow the pads to heal more rapidly. If left to their own, dogs will often regulate their activity to facilitate quicker healing. Of course the best measure is prevention. Always carry a set of dog booties so that you have the choice of putting them on your pup before the going gets tough.
Thanks to dog-specific gear that allows dogs to keep up with our own gear-enhanced activities, man's best friend can now accompany us on our adventures. Pets are exposed to situations and conditions that they may not confront on a daily basis. These new ever-changing environmental conditions can cause pads, which are perfectly conditioned for one environment, to become blistered and cut in the new environment. Critters that are adapted to mountainous regions often suffer paw lacerations when asked to perform in lower elevations. Conversely, the lower elevation dwelling dogs will often have difficulty in mountainous and snow environments. Hot asphalt, decomposing granite, shale, lava, scree, chemicals (snow-melters), abrasive sand, grain stubble, ice and snow are just a few of the conditions that can keep your dog out of action for several days.
How do you size dog booties? Size does matter. Incorrectly sized dog booties will not perform well. On our site each product has a size chart for a set of four boots. Once you have selected the size based on the chart we always suggest actually fitting the booties on the dog to make certain of a good fit. How do you get a dog used to new dog booties? For most dogs, footwear is a new concept. The first time your dog tries on a pair of Dog Shoes, it will be difficult not to laugh, as the dog will do a little dance, this is normal. Once you have the booties in place go out and engage in your pup's favorite activity: chasing a ball, catching a flying disk or just running. After about 15 minutes double-check the closure on the boots and adjust. This is considered the "break in" period where the upper softens and conforms to the dog's paws. After the break in period you and your buddy are ready to explore. Use common sense and allow some time for your dog to become accustomed to the booties on daily walks. Just as you would never go out on a big hike with new hiking boots, start off on easy hikes and work into the big ones with your dog's new footwear.