Collars, Leads and Harnesses
As it is a legal requirement to tag your dog, a collar is essential. The collar you choose is down to your personal taste but it needs to be the right size for your dog. A general guidance is that you should be able to fit two fingers inside the collar. You will inevitably require more than one as your puppy grows, though this will to a certain extent depend on breed.
Harnesses provide a less invasive alternative to using a dog’s collar to attach a lead and are really useful in assisting to keep your dog under control whilst being walked. They also work better if you have a dog that pulls whilst on the lead.
Front loading harnesses (those with a ring at the front) are particularly good as when used with a training lead they are comfortable and non-invasive. The training lead is connected to the back of the harness between your dog’s shoulders and to the front of the chest just below your dog’s neck. This gives you the ability to directly communicate and correct the dog at the right time. It is important both areas are connected as if connecting the lead only to the back it can lead to your dog pulling.
Some facial harnesses can create fear issues and be uncomfortable and are therefore not recommended by Happy Dogs Training except for Dogmatic. Proper training should alleviate pulling.
There are several different types of leads available to use. The flexible or extending leads are not good for training your puppy. The clicking noise they make is off-putting for your dog and distracts from the training. They are also not effective for walking to heel unlike fixed leads.
Using a fixed lead in conjunction with a harness gives you the ability to directly communicate and correct the dog at the right time. A fixed lead also helps with walking to heel as your puppy learns where you want them to be in relation to you at all times.
Long line (training line not extendable) lead
Another very useful piece of equipment for training your puppy outdoors is a long line/training line. This in particular helps with recall training, as they cannot run off any further than the line will allow. Using a training line when first taking your puppy to open spaces, such as your local park, provides them with some freedom to run. However it also prevents them from running off if they get scared by anything they encounter such as a dog much bigger than them (or in some cases much smaller)!
Remember to always keep you puppy on a lead when near to roads as they can get scared suddenly and potentially run off into oncoming traffic.