Your puppy is going to be growing a lot in the first year of their life. It is important to get a collar, leash, and perhaps even a harness that will be able to grow with them during this time. Depending on the size of your puppy and how much they may grow, you might end up going through a couple of collars and/or harnesses. This guide is geared towards deciding which type of collar, leash, and harness is best for your puppy, but it can also be used as a general purchasing guide for dogs of all ages!
Best collar for your puppy: Blueberry Pet Standard Flat Collar
A standard flat collar is the best type of collar for your puppy because it is common and fits the widest range of dogs. All flat collars are made with a relatively similar design. Usually, the collar is made of some sort of fabric, most often a form of nylon and the collar is usually adjustable. The clasp can vary from company to company on the quality and type, but most commonly the clasp will be a standard plastic side release, the kind where you pinch either side to open. All flat collars come standard with at least one D-ring in order to attach a leash and/or tags. Some companies go beyond these basic features and enhance the design to include things such as a specific ring just for dog tags. When choosing a collar, consider looking into the company to see what type of material is used, the quality of the product, and if they offer any type of guarantee or warranty. The Lupine Pet company has a wonderful line of products that are guaranteed even if chewed, which could be useful for a puppy. When shopping for gear through a company you can also get matching gear, get onto email lists, and may be able to get discounts.
Best leash for your puppy: Blueberry Pet Standard Flat Leash
A standard flat leash is the best leash for your puppy, primarily because it is the most standard piece of gear and can easily match your collar. The length of your leash depends on the size of your dog. When choosing a leash length remember that you want to give your puppy the freedom to walk, but also be able to maintain control. This is critical with a puppy due to the many distractions that can occur even on the simplest walk around the block. Having that ability to maintain control of your puppy with the leash allows you to provide safety for them on your adventures. A standard flat leash is flexible enough for their freedom, but also has a limited amount of distance to separate you from your puppy. It is not recommended to use a retractable leash due to the lack of control and the inability to train your puppy to walk well on a leash.
Best Harness for your puppy: Lupine 3/4 Inch Dapper Dog Roman Dog Harness
A roman harness, also known as a back clip harness, is the most common and standard harness for puppies and dogs alike. This design is veterinarian recommended and is highly encouraged to use when walking small dogs. This type of harness design eliminates pressure placed on your dog’s trachea and the shoulder straps can be adjusted so they reduce strain on their neck and back. There are a lot of different variations to the Roman harness on the market today. Some come padded, have reflective material, or even have handles to help control your dog. Try to think about the type of activities you plan on doing with your dog and see what sort of variation will work best for the both of you.
Best of the rest:
A martingale collar is a similar design to the standard flat collar but has a limited slide choker action which prevents dogs from “backing out” of the collar. The collar is used for training dogs who are a little more disobedient on leash and need more corrections. This type of design is recommended over other types of correctional collars, such as choke collars or prong collars, because of its controlled corrective ability. If you feel that you may need a collar that has more correction abilities consider talking to a trainer or your veterinarian for some guidance.
This harness is great for active dogs who like to go on long walks or hikes. The design is minimalistic and has a wraparound style to reduce pressure on your puppy’s neck. It has a single buckle between your dog’s shoulder blades in order to take the harness on and off easily. It has a D-ring on either side of the buckle to distribute pressure evenly. This harness may be easier to use and better for those dogs that have a more rambunctious side to them.
A note about harnesses:
Not all puppies will need a harness but for some dog breeds, it is recommended for their health and physical wellbeing. For example, dachshunds are prone to a lot of neck and back issues and a harness helps reduce the tension and strain placed on their necks. Other dog breeds that have short noses or smashed faces, called brachycephalic breeds, can benefit from a harness. Harnesses help protect their trachea and neck from getting injured. Injuries that happen to the neck and trachea are usually associated with smaller dogs or dogs that pull a lot. Consider talking to your veterinarian to see if a harness will work best for your puppy.
Depending on the breed of puppy, you may see a little or a lot of growth within their first year. During this growth period, it is very important to make sure you check and adjust their collar frequently. A collar should be snug enough that it won’t slide over your puppy’s head, but not so tight that you can’t fit two fingers between it and their neck. Even after your puppy becomes fully grown it is important to check the fitting of their collar occasionally to make sure it is still fitting correctly. In addition, a collar is a new experience for a puppy and they should be monitored the first time you introduce them to a collar. Until they are fully comfortable with it you should consider taking the collar off when they are alone to prevent any potential injury that may occur such as getting stuck.
If you choose to use a harness the same rules apply. Check the fitting frequently and look to see if there are any pressure sores or areas of irritation. Make sure to check all the areas in which the harness may rub just to confirm that the fit is right. Only use the harness for going out on walks and adventure. If you leave the harness on for long periods of time it may cause pressure sores or areas of irritation.
When choosing your puppy’s first collar avoid purchasing a collar that has a lot of accessories attached to it, such as flowers, a bowtie, or anything else that can tempt a puppy to chew. Though they are very cute, they can be a hazard for your puppy especially when they are still learning what they can and can not chew on. If you do end up purchasing a collar with these type of accessories, make sure your puppy is monitored while they have the collar on and take it off when they are alone.