Getting your puppy out for some exercise is an important activity you should add to your daily routine. Taking your pup out for a walk is a great way to keep them in shape and burn off some of their extra energy! When going for a walk, please do so safely, by always keeping your pup with you on a leash, and by wearing a collar with identifying tags.
Not all leashes and collars are the same, so I’ve put together some thoughts on the best options for your pup. We’ve met a lot of dogs and gathered a ton of knowledge about what is out there.
Your pup’s leash and collar are more than just a fashion statement. While there are a lot of cute and unique options out there, it’s more important to focus on the functionality than the appearance of these items.
Collars can be made of several different materials, such as leather, nylon, or steel.
Martingale collars are the best option for new puppies starting to walk on a leash. These collars gradually tighten as they pull on them, which ensures your pup can’t slip out. Day to day they will perform similarly to the buckle collar, but you’ll be glad to have that extra bit of safety when you start exploring the town with puppy!
A simpler collar is the buckle collar, also known as a flat collar. The Blueberry Pet Essentials Nylon collar comes in a variety of fun colors to coordinate with any other fashion statements your pup needs to make. Your pup’s collar should be snug enough around their neck so that not even one of their ears can pop through. Collars can loosen over time, so be sure to check for a snug fit before you head out the door.
If your dog is a heavy puller, consider using a prong collar. I recommend the Herm Sprenger collar as they are well made and include a quick release clip which makes getting the collar on and off. The cheaper models you can find at big box stores will stretch over time and eventually fall off of your dog, posing a major safety hazard.
Although prong collars may look intimidating, Michigan State University confirms that they are the best solution for the health of a pulling dog. Choke chains or even buckle collars under pressure will put all of the dog’s force onto their trachea which can cause permanent damage, while the prong collar evenly distributes the pressure around the dog’s neck, and provides a method of self-correction.
Leashes, similar to collars, come in a variety of materials with a range of functionality. For a quick leash option when your pup needs to go potty, choose a slip lead. These leashes easily slip around your puppy’s neck – no buckle collar needed. So much easier than fiddling with a clip or trying to find the d ring to attach to the collar, especially if someone woke you up for potty in the middle of the night.
All puppies under 5 months old should be on a leash in the house. It is the easiest way to keep an eye on your puppy and teach them the good habits you want them to learn. I suggest buying this rope and clip to make your own custom leash. Make an inside and outside leash about 10 ft long. You do not have to hold the leash, let it drag behind your puppy on the ground. Keeping a leash on your puppy will help you discourage chasing. If you plan on exploring a larger back yard together, make a 50 ft leash, that way you can practice off-leash training. The game of “chase me” is highly self-reinforcing – the more puppy runs and the more you chase, the more they learn that they don’t need to come and can keep your attention while running away.
The best leash for walking your pup is a double handle leash, so named because the leash has 2 handles. Having the handle towards the clip gives your hand a steady spot to hold on firmly too. Otherwise, the leash will slip through your fingers on a walk. It tremendously helps children walk their puppy too. Since they don’t yet have the hand-eye coordination it takes to juggle so many things at once.
I do not recommend harnesses for training, as a dog pulling through a harness is not learning to walk calmly with you, but if you are not quite ready for a prong collar, the easy walk harness is the best option out there. It is adjustable to any dog size and comes in a few different colors. The harness clips in the front, helping a dog to not pull.
If the unimaginable happens and your pup slips out of your yard or pulls the leash out of your hands on a walk, an identification tag will help them return safe and sound. Include their name, your phone number, and your address. When someone finds your pup, they will have easy access to the needed information to get your furry friend back to your family.
If you have a winter puppy or small breed dog, they will need a little help staying warm in winter. Investing in a jacket for your pup will help keep their body temperature up while out on your walk. The Kurgo Dog Jacket is a great option that is made from durable materials. With so many fun colors, you’re sure to find a jacket that matches your pup’s unique personality.
With all the essentials, a long walk is in your forecast. If you’re having trouble getting your puppy to follow commands while walking, or need help jumpstarting the potty training process, consider contacting Happy Pup Manor! We are here to help with command and manner training. Our trainers are excited to talk with you about your pup and the ways we can help you.