Why Use A Dog Training Lead Or Collar?
Technically, you can train your dog with any kind of lead providing it can give you the right amount of control over your pup!
And so when a product describes itself as a ‘training’ lead or collar, this is because it will often have features which really enhance your control and ability to guide your dog with.
In general, they will also usually cater to two types of dog training skills, these are:
The act of calling your dog’s name and getting them to return to you, so they always come when called.
Loose Leash Walking
Teaching a dog to walk in tandem with you on a lead in a relaxed manner, rather than them pulling on the lead and dictating the journey themselves!
Important Things To Consider
The most important thing to consider when purchasing training leads is their length.
In general, most training leads tend to be shorter in length to give you maximum control and teach your dog how to walk on a lead and reduce pulling. These will often be around 1m – 2m and are fantastic for training dogs in preparation for busy or built-up areas where they are less free to roam.
However, there are also leashes out there that are better for recall trials. By purchasing a lead with large ranges of 2m – 20m, you can practice letting your dog run ‘free’ in larger open spaces without losing your control over them. This long lead means you can then work on recall training and build up confidence and trust until you feel safe letting them off the lead. Although you can get very long versions of these leads, it’s best to stay within 2m – 5m for the maximum amount of control.
The biggest part of dog training with a lead is trying to minimise pull and yanking from your dog.
This is often a behaviour of puppy’s especially and far from being a bad habit or naughty act, you pup is merely curious and keen for the world around them!
But as yanking and pulling is inevitably going to occur… any lead or collar you buy is going to need to be kind to your dog and their skin. We want to teach them to be less excitable and follow your movements on the lead and we shouldn’t have to hurt them to do this!
Choose a material that guarantees soft, hypoallergenic qualities and always go for collars with added padding!
Avoiding Retractable Leads
Although retractable leads are undeniably great and easy to use when walking a dog, they’re not the best option for training purposes and won’t help prevent pulling behaviour.
This is because the design of a retractable lead means that a dog will always feel a slight constant pressure from the mechanism and so can easily get confused between the retractions of the lead and your actual guiding actions. Not to mention the mechanism itself gives you way less control and essentially lets your dog roam free and dictate the way themselves!
Without adequate control, you risk your pup getting into trouble or worse… an accident.
After lead length, the other most important thing to consider is the type of collar or harness you are using.
If you are teaching your dog not to pull on the lead, there is naturally going to be some tension and a few yanks here and there as you practice reigning your dog closer to your side.
But as previously mentioned, this shouldn’t be a painful process, as you merely want to be exercising your control rather than actually pulling and yanking your dog right back!
Training collars in particular often feature unusual designs which offer more security around the head and neck so you can better guide their motions. The key when choosing these kinds of collar is to make sure they still offer a full range of movement and are comfortable for your pup without being constrictive.
Figure of 8 style designs which offer a collar around the neck and loop over the snout is the safest form of training collar, as when dogs pull on the lead, it takes all the pressure and force away from the neck and simply pulls down on the nose and breaks their line of sight.
This is a painless alternative and great for training as by diverting their gaze, it can teach dogs who are easily distracted and excited to focus more on the task at hand.
Some owners just prefer to use harnesses to avoid this issue altogether, but they too need to be kind to your canine. Always make sure that harnesses use the chest areas as their main pressure point and that the lead attachment is found on the dog’s back in a central area to minimise painful pulls.
Choosing A Dog Training Lead & Collar
The main types of material for dog leads are nylon, leather, metal and biothane.
The best for training tend to be nylon, as these are the most hard-wearing and so provide the best tear-resistance and strength. If you have a particularly big dog, this can help with those early stages of yanking!
Biothane is an interesting and newly popular material which consists of polyester and a special coating which makes it odourless and anti-fungal. This stops it from getting dirty and harbouring bacteria, making it a slightly more weatherproof option. It has a smooth, leather-like feel, but is crucially a lot more resistant!
Leather and metal tend to not be particularly good choices for training, as both tend to be an aesthetic choice rather than a controlled one. Not only are they more expensive but leather is more breakable than nylon ann biothane, while metal options have too little give and could be painful when yanked.
Collar-wise it doesn’t really matter what the material is, as long as the inner side features plenty of padding to ensure your dog’s comfort!
A nice handle makes the world of difference for owners and without one, a sharp yank or pull could result in some seriously painful rope burn from your lead!
A quality grip can also give you much better control.
For collars or leads with collar attachments, size is of course incredibly important as it needs to be a snug fit for your pooch without feeling constrictive or tight.
Be sure to take a measurement of their neck with a measuring tape as you would when measuring for a normal collar. Occasionally, the specialist nature of training collars means they will sometimes sit higher up the neck for more control and support than usual, and so you may need to take a new measurement higher up the neck if the product suggests it.
Secure Clips Or Attachment
As well as material that can promise minimal tearing for your lead, the clips on your lead or collar need to be strong enough to brace a sharp tug from your canine.
Carabiners and buckles should always be some form of metal or alloy which can provide maximum security and safety for your pup.