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DOG / training & behavior

How to Choose a Dog Leash, Collar, and Harness


Dog leashes, harnesses and collars with ID tags are crucial to your dog's safety. Each one has a different function and ultimately makes sure a dog is identifiable, able to be restrained and protected as they navigate different environments. There are so many varieties of dog harnesses and leashes and knowing which one to choose for your pup can be difficult. So what are the different types and how do you choose a dog leash and harness for your pup? 


Types of Dog Leashes 


  • Nylon Leash - Nylon dog leashes are the most used type of leash. They are an affordable, durable and washable option that holds up well through rain and snow and is easy to maintain. Nylon leashes commonly come in four and six foot lengths.

  • Training Leash - Often made from cotton webbing, these leashes come in lengths between 15 and 50 feet and are good for teaching puppies and dogs to come when called (they’re great backup if your pup isn’t good at that yet).

  • Retractable Leash - These leashes extend longer distances, allowing your dog to roam a bit. Just make sure to only extend that distance in safe areas.

  • Leather Leash - The price tag can be higher, but leather leashes are durable and long-lasting. Leather is easy to grip and softens from the oils on your hands, making these leashes increasingly comfortable as they age 

  • Tie-Out Stake - Tie-out dog leashes are ideal for pet parents who are big on camping and travelling. Anchor the stake in the ground, leash your dog to the tie-out and keep your dog securely nearby in the great outdoors. Note: These are not to be used to restrain a dog for a long period of time, such as in a backyard.

  • Stylish Leashes - If you are looking for a leash that expresses your dog's unique personality, there are often stylish designs available for different types of leashes. 

Types of Dog Harnesses 


If your dog has neck problems, if you have a puppy, or if your dog is a smaller breed, a dog collar can pull too forcefully during their walks. A harness fastens around your pet’s body and has a leash loop near the shoulders, which takes the pressure off your dog’s neck.


There are multiple harness styles — the best choice will depend on your dog’s size and personality.


  • Standard Harness - The most common type of harness distributes the force of the leash against a dog’s chest and back, which works well for small dogs. 

  • No-Pull Harness - This dog harness has the D-ring on the front, rather than on the back, allowing for more control and helping to prevent pulling. 

How to Choose the Right Size and Fit


Finding the right leash or harness for your pup has a lot to do with their size and how their body is shaped. Making sure your pup has the right size harness is incredibly important to their safety. If a harness is too loose, then a dog could slip out of it. If it is too tight, then it could cause irritation or constrict their body from moving the right way. 


When choosing a leash or harness, you need to pick one that fits your pup well. Different styles have different fits. Measure around your dog’s rib cage before you buy any harness and check the packaging to make sure you’re choosing the proper size.


Don’t ditch the packaging before you’ve tried the harness a few times. Putting on a harness can be tricky and the directions will come in handy so you don’t accidentally slip it on backwards or upside-down.


How to Choose for Your Dog’s Habit


Your dog’s habits are also important to consider when choosing the right leash or harness. For example, if your dog tends to pull really hard on walks, a leash and collar can cause damage to their neck. In this case, a harness would be better for them because it distributes that force across the stronger parts of their body, protecting their neck. 


If you have a dog that is really great about staying by your side or coming when you call them, then a leash and dog collar might work just fine. They can be easier to take on and off and might work better for pups that don’t pull. 


Looking for the perfect dog collar or dog ID tag for your pup? Check out our selection of options both in-store and online to find the best fit for your dog. 


Finding the right dog leash or harness is important for your pup’s safety. To shop a wide selection of dog leashes, harnesses and other dog supplies, click here


Information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your pet and is not a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health-related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, contact your veterinarian.