There are so many options out there for dog equipment! Here’s a breakdown of the most common ones.
Simply collars that are fastened with a buckle.
Good for dogs who don’t pull
Inexpensive and easily adjustable
Best option for puppies before they are walking on leash
Rolled leather-type material tends to fit more comfortably
Martingale (Limited Slip)
Designed to tighten partially around a dog’s neck.
Good for dogs who don’t pull.
Best for dogs who have heads narrower than their necks
Good for dogs who are skittish or attempt to escape by backing out of their collars.
Use with a front clip harness or head halter by clipping the lead through both pieces of equipment to get both the no pull and anti-escape benefits.
All in one martingale and lead combos can be convenient pieces of equipment.
English Slip Leads are full slip collars attached to leads (to prevent injury, never use with dogs who pull).
Front Clip Harness
A harness designed to allow the leash to clip in the front of the dog’s chest, reducing the dog’s ability to pull.
Good for moderate/strong pullers
Best choice for most dogs and puppies
Don’t cause trauma to the trachea
Minimum training required
We like the Easywalk brand and use it at the shelter for our dogs
Sits below the eyes and around the muzzle.
Good for very powerful pullers and/or dogs who lunge
The dog must be properly fitted and conditioned to head halters
Brands: Gentle Leader, Black Dog, Kumalong, Snoot Loop, Halti
Do not use with a long leash (could cause injury if dog hits the end of the leash)
Equipment to Avoid
Back Clip Harnesses: It makes pulling worse by turning your dog into a sled dog. Hut hut!
Retractable Leads: Need input from behavior here
Equipment to NEVER use
Prong, bark, and shock collars should not be used.
Learn more about the impacts of prong, bark, and shock collars here:
- Dog training methods: their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare – EF Hiby, NJ Rooney, JWS Bradshaw
- Dominance Versus Leadership in Dog Training – Dr. Sophia Yin
Despite what some trainers may say, these collars can cause severe tracheal damage to a dog along with damage to other sensitive tissues, glands, muscles, and veins located in the neck.
Use of these collars as an aversive training technique (not aligned with LIMA!) develops an association of pain with putting the collar on the dog, going on walks, etc. that over time can cause aggression directed at any aspect of the collar in the dog’s life, including aggression directed towards strangers, you as the handler, or anyone who is involved in working with the animal while the collar is on. This puts everyone involved at risk—tail or no tail.
The bottom line:
There are plenty of equipment options out there to positively reinforce loose leash walking with your dog. Aversive collars that cause pain might mask pulling issues but can create a fearful and aggressive dog along with causing potential medical issues. What seems like an easy fix is a painful and harmful alternative to proper, positive training techniques.