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  • Heidi

Choosing The Right Collar and Leash For Your Dog

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

As a pet owner, there is lots of different information about what is best for your pet. It can be hard to sort through all of this information, so we are going to go through some different types of collars and what they are made to do.

Flat Collar

Flat collars are simple and properly used with dogs who do not pull, lunge or react on leash. This is because it is easy for a dog to slip out of a flat collar. It is also hard on a dog's throat if they pull using a flat collar, which can eventually lead to problems in the eye.

Martingale Collar

A martingale collar is flat with a chain loop attaching in the middle. The chain makes it impossible to slip out of, while not tightening enough to choke or harm the dogs neck in any way. Martingale collar are the safest collars on the market, while also allowing the handler to make safe corrections in behavior such as leash manners. When used with proper training technique the martingale can completely eliminate pulling behaviors.


The harness was made as a tool to make pulling a load easier for a dog, like sled dogs. Harnesses are trickier to escape from than flat collars however, not impossible. In an attempt to discourage pulling on harnesses, the no pull harness (also known as the easy walk, which is clipped at the front) was created. If used for too long without proper training, it can permanently affect the way your dog walks. A harness is not an effective tool to train your dog as you have much less control and they make pulling more comfortable for the dog.

Prong Collar

A prong collar is metal with prongs sitting on the dogs neck. When strained, these prongs put pressure on the dogs neck making it uncomfortable for the dog. Prong collars must be used by an experienced handler or they can inflict pain and injury on the animal. You can find prong collars used often in police force training.

Halti/Gentle Leader

A halti or a gentle leader wraps around the dog's nose and back of the head. These haltis are made to correct pulling behaviour. The theory is that controlling the head controls the rest of the body. Haltis are capable of helping with a dog who pulls, but often when you remove the halti the problem is still there. Dog also usually do not enjoy these tools, avoid wanting to wear them and try to rub them off due to discomfort.

<-- Halti Gentle Leader -->

Ultimately, the decision of what training tool works for your dog is best made by you, their owner! But as always, it is important to know all of your options before doing so and to make sure you make the safe choice.

Going along with collars, of course, are leashes! There are many types of leashes to pick from including a flat 6 foot, flexi leashes, bungee leashes and long flat leashes. Without a doubt, for regular walks, we at Complete K9 recommend and personally use 6 foot flat leashes. While flexi leashes and longer flat leashes may seem nice to give your dogs a larger space to roam, they are not safe for city walking. Flexi leashes are extremely dangerous in most situations and we recommend avoided them all together. A bungee leash may be helpful for running with your pooch, but they are difficult to give corrections with or to quickly move your dog away from something.

An appropriate collar and leash are the best and most effective training tools you can buy! Making an informed decision can save you loads of training headaches down the road.

At Complete K9, we recommend the martingale pair with a simple 6 foot leash. The martingale is a versatile collar and we have had a lot of success in training with it! It is safe to use and we never have to worry about a dog slipping out of a properly fitting martingale. We use the martingale to encourage leash manners as well as basic obedience. The martingale can also be used to discourage behaviour through giving corrections and is extremely effective. We love using the martingale and use it on our own dogs as well as with clients, we also require a martingale for dogs who do pack walks with us.

If you are interested in learning more about the martingale and effect training tool to go along with it, click here to check out our training classes starting this spring!

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