Dogs come in all shapes, sizes and variations, with unique breed traits and personalities. There’s an equal array of variations on how they’ll behave on walks, how strong they are and how much you’ll need to control them if they lose it at the sight of another dog, a human who hates being licked hello, or the neighbour’s cat.
Oh yes, and then there’s age, and what stage of training your puppy or dog is at, and whether it’s taking you for a walk, or being dragged out under duress. And, if you have adopted a grown dog, there’s whether it was a previously loved (and trained) dog, or a previously unloved and/or untrained dog.
There’s also you. You’ll need a different kind of leash and collar combo if you are 4 foot 5 and your dog is a Great Dane that hasn’t yet grown into its paws, than what you’d need if you are 6 foot something and your dog is a portly old Schnauzer hanging back for a chance to play dead so you’ll give up and carry it back home to the couch.
Do you need a military-grade chain leash and collar designed for repurposed, formerly rabid, Dobermans and delinquent Labradors? Or a fabric leash and body-collar get-up that will keep your sausage dog on all four feet at all times during your drag-a-thon to the end of the street?
‘One size does not fit all’! The wrong type of leash and collar combo could be a recipe for disaster – or worse – injure your dog.
There are several different kinds and combinations, as well as training leashes and collars, so the best way to choose the right one is to ask your dog trainer. Here are some of the basics though, to give you an idea:
Nylon leashes and collars: Strong and the most common type but might cut into your dog’s neck or your hand if they tend to pull. Not ideal for bounding puppies or dogs with two second memories.
Fabric leashes and collars: Less apt to injure your dog or you if they pull hard but not as strong as nylon – good for human-pulling puppies, but not for dogs capable of snapping them. Not for Zeus and Apollo either.
Chain collars: Good for big dogs only as they are heavy. Chain collars can pack a bite without causing injury if you need to bring ‘Arnie’ the Rottweiler up short and fast, or the clinking promise of a bite if you need to periodically remind ‘Arnie’ or ‘Marley’ (or Zeus and Apollo) of who’s boss.
The Standard Dog Leash: As the name suggests – it’s the ordinary, every-day dog leash most people use. Just short enough to keep Rover from getting the cat or jumping on Boo Radley and other dog-slobber-fearing pedestrians, and just long enough for you to loop it around your arm for Rover to tear it out of its shoulder socket. Works just fine 99% of the time, and also for the other 1% of the time when it turns out that Rover is not actually powerful enough to dismember you – or get very far dragging you across the road on bleeding knees.
The Retracteable Leash: Extends as needed to around 20 feet. Good for walking your dog on the beach or in other places where you need to let me him leave your side to explore and run a bit, while still able to keep him in check. Good for pups in a world full of new smells that must be followed – as long as there’s space and it’s safe for them.
Retracteable vs Standard Leashes: Get both or opt for a standard leash only and find a free-range dog beach. Retracteable leashes are not good for walking explorers along the street, or in any place or situation where your dog might get under a car, or wrap it around a pole, a rock, or someone’s legs – whether exploring enthusiastically, or on a mad dash. In the latter case, you’ll be powerless to control them for a whole 20 metres – and a lot of nasty can happen in 20 metres! AND not all of it filled with joy and laughter.