Best Collars & Leads for Training your Dog

Best Collars & Leads for Training your Dog

What collar to use in training is perhaps the most controversial subject in the dog training world. There is a variety to choose from. There are flat collars, and there are choke collars made from leather, nylon, or chain. Finally, there is the pinch collar, also known as the prong or spiked collar. At first glance, it might seem that the most humane collar to use is the flat collar or one of the light choke collars.

These look the least threatening and appear to be the most comfortable. However, if you really wanted to hurt a dog (not on purpose of course!), the thinner the choke collar, the more damage to his throat and neck you could inflict. Also, with a choke collar the dog has an instinctive reflex at his disposal to deal with the sensation of something tightening a grip around his neck. He may misinterpret the correction on the choke collar as a stranglehold and unnecessarily become rebellious or afraid. So things are not always what they seem.

For example, what kind of knife would a patient want his surgeon to operate with, a dull jackknife or a razor-sharp scalpel? Obviously the latter, even though its edge can send a shiver through us. While many handlers start every dog on a flat collar, it is only the first step on the training ladder. The next rung up is a choke collar and finally then to work up to the pinch collar. Remember, we’re not using the collar as an instrument of punishment or correction; its function is to shock an inappropriate instinct and then arouse or stimulate an appropriate instinct. When the dog learns to be positively motivated by a light tug on a flat collar and then a stronger tug on the choke collar, he can be introduced to a light jerk on the pinch collar.

Training a dog with a pinch collar is consistent with the way a surgeon uses his scalpel. The doctor wants to cut out the tumor or damaged tissue and by doing so he arouses the patient’s healing powers. While the pinch collar may seem to be a menacing implement, when used properly it is very “clean” and therapeutic.

Finally, when a dog is shocked by the pinch collar in the correct manner he is aroused by the novelty of the sensation. It is a feeling he has never felt before, nor is there an instinct evolved to deal with it. It is a brand-new moment and the handler is free to train the dog how to deal with it.

3 Types Of Leads

For proper training with leads, you will need three kinds. One is six foot long and is for training the dog in close on his obedience work. Many prefer a light but high quality leather lead for its comfort and also because it won’t get twisted. Nevertheless, the features of the lead are irrelevant to the dog and his ability to learn. Also, you will need a variety of long leads for when you work the dog at a distance. You may like to use a fifty-foot nylon lead as it isn’t going to rot when exposed to harsh elements. Finally, a tab lead is, as it suggests, a short length of rope or leather just long enough to dangle over the collar and be easy to grab. The dog can run freely with this lead without being able to trip himself.