Collars, Harnesses and Leashes – Joy and Frustration

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We had bought a collar for Nemi before we picked her up. We received advice from the breeder so that we had obtained the right type and size of this.  But we soon learned that a puppy’s desire to explore was great. There were a lot of abrupt stops and pulling on the leash. New smells and new places to run. Snow, grass and gravel, great! And do not forget the flower bed, it is a gold mine of treasures that must be dug up. Why can’t my mom and dad let me out of the stupid bond?

Although the leash was approx. 2 meters long, it quickly became too short. In addition, she managed to twist out of the collar several times. We started thinking about her neck. This could not be good for her. There had to be an alternative to reduce any consequences to her health

Following the advice from the breeder, we started using a harness and leash when we went for a walk with Nemi.

Collars – types and characteristics

Collars together with a leash have specific functions and are often used in connection with training. The leash ensures daily control of the dog in different situations. They come in several varieties and materials. What is important to take care of is that you do not accidentally injure your dog’s neck due to the collar. The neck is an area that is sensitive due to the collection of nerves, muscles and bones.

Make sure it is approx. 2 cm clearance between the dog’s neck and the collar.

  •  Regular collars:
    • Regular necklaces come in a myriad of varieties and are made from many different materials. Here it is taste and pleasure and you almost have to try your hand at the same time as the consideration for the breed dog you have taken care of. Leather collars can be tough on the skin for some dogs that have thin fur.

      Photo by Lisa D from FreeImages

  • Head collar:
    • If the dog pulls a lot, a leash can be a help. This is similar to the halter you use on a horse and goes around the animal’s head and snout. The main purpose is to prevent the animal from pulling.
  • Choke collar (Choke chain):
    • This is a type of collar that is tightened unhindered around the neck of the animal without a stopping point. This quickly becomes uncomfortable for the dog if it does not dissolve quickly, and it is a risk of strangling your dog.
  • Half-choke:
    • Half-choke is the same type of collar as the Choke collar, but with this collar there is a limit to how much the collar is tightened.

      Photo by Diego Sapriza from FreeImages

Personally, I would never have considered half-choke or a choke collar. These two collars will cause too much discomfort and risk of injury to the dog’s neck.

Prohibited Collars in Norway

  • Studded Collars(Martingale):
    • In Norway, this type is prohibited. The collar has spikes that tighten towards the neck if the animal pulls. It was originally used for training dogs. But experience has shown that it only worked for a certain time before the dog started with his old habits again.
  • Electric collars:
    • These are collars that give the animal shock in the event of unwanted behavior, either automatically or controlled by a person. This is forbidden in Norway.

Dog leashes

The dog leash is the leash between you and your best friend when you go for a walk. It gives you good control over the dog in different situations.

Photo by Matthew Maaskant from FreeImages
  • Regular leashes:
    • Leather leashes fit larger dogs best, as they give greater control over the dog. They are also aesthetic in appearance.
    • Nylon leashes are best suited for small dogs. These leashes stretch a little bit to give you control over the dog and at the same time giving it some freedom.
  • Flexible leashes:
    • Flexible leashes give the dog more freedom to satisfy the urge to explore. At the same time, you can lock the length of the leash so that the dog has to walk nicely. They are better suited for smaller dogs, although there are also Flexible leashes for the larger dog types.
  • Chain leashes:
    • Traditional leashes, but made of metal with nylon or leather loops.
  •  Multifunctional leashes:
    • Leashes that have multiple functions. They can easily be re-configured depending on the situation you are in. It can be used for training, sports, service dog tasks and of course for daily use.

We mostly use a flexible leash when we go for a walk with Nemi. It gives her sufficient freedom to satisfy her urge to explore.

Shall I Use a Harness or Not?

The harness we provided for Nemi was a success. Her first harness was a tiny, sweet thing from Trixie that changed the dog walks with her, to a completely different experience. It fits her well and distributes the load from the leash nicely around the harness. There was noticeably less pulling from Nemi.

Whether you want to use a harness or not is up to you as the owner. There is no exact solution and depends a lot on the dog and the activities you do with your dog. In my opinion, you should ave both a harness and a regular collar and leash system.

There are several types of harnesses depending on the use for which they are intended. As a rule, they come with an attachment ring in front and behind of the harness. For larger dogs, it may be okay to try the attachment ring at the front. For smaller dogs, the rear attachment ring is a better option

Photo by Michal Zacharzewski from FreeImages

It is important that the harness fits the dog well. Both weight, as well as size around the chest and the length from neck to tail has to be considered. Use a tape measure or ruler for the measurements. Do not buy a too-small harness, go one size up if the measurement is in the middle between sizes.

Accessories for Harnesses and Leashes

What kind of extra equipment you will need, will become apparent as your dog experience progresses. We have obtained the following extra equipment for Nemi:

  • Running line – some call this tracking or longline. About 15 meters long and gives you reasonable control of the dog when it runs “free”.
  • Ground anchor – to attach the leash to the dog so that it does not run freely outdoors.
  • A doggie bag box, to attach to the loop of the Flexi leash. Super practical
  • Treats bag – to have treats for the pet in. Recommended as the treats can smell pretty strong.

Some Final Thoughts

As your puppy grows, there is a need for other types of harnesses and leashes, both because the dog grows, and also because the activities that you do with the dog change. Should you choose to wear a collar or a harness? You have to try out what works best with your dog. It depends on the use of the dog and of the dogs personality.

Your dogs health ad well- being must be the priority when you choose equipment for your dog.

4 thoughts on “Collars, Harnesses and Leashes – Joy and Frustration”

  1. Dogs are my passion and love from the first time l know about dogs. Now, l have a husky, and he is about four years old. l would like to buy one more dog, and when l read your post, I remember the period when he was just a puppy, and me wondering what to buy and what fits him the best, leash or harness. It was mission impossible to walk with him using a leash and collar. He was always one strong dog. lf you have a little dog that is ok, but l had to buy a harness, and after that things went easier.

    • Thank you for your comment and sharing of your own experience with a dog. A big, powerful dog is always a challenge as they are very powerful. Using the correct equipment, depending on the circumstances not always easy.

      We are sometimes using a leash that is flexible and can stretch a bit. After we started using it, with Nemi. The dog walks became a breeze, and she seems very happy with the leash herself.


  2. My favourite type of pet is dogs. Ever since my last pet friend died, it has been difficult for me to decide to get another one. I was able to get all the necessary equipment my dog needed, and me and my dog had a lot of fun during the process. 

    Experiences with pets and their equipment differ from wich type of pet you have, and you must make sure to keep informed about what´s the best for your four-legged friend. This is very important when selecting a leash and collar for it.  

    What is very difficult, is when your dog dies and you have to decide on keeping your dogs equipment or discard of it. It is not easy as the equipment brings back a lot of memories.

    Thank you for your article.

    • Lucas, thank you for your comment and sharing your own experiences with your pet. I agree that it is difficult when your pet dies. All the equipment it has used brings back a lot of memories, which can be hard to handle.

      In my opinion, selecting a good leash and a collar or a harness that is a perfect fit and safe to use is one of the most important things when caring for your dog. 



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