All the options for puppy lead training equipment can be perplexing for a new owner. However, these devices are not created equal; you must discover which type will work best for your canine.
1. Basic Collars
Best for: Easy-going, well-trained dogs who never pull
Pros: Easy to use, affordable, pet ID tags can be attached
Cons: Comes off easily, can cause injury to a strong puller
2. Choke Collars
Best for: We DO NOT recommend this type for any dog.
Pros: Some outdated training manuals suggest this style collar for difficult dogs, but they are much too dangerous and easy to misuse to ever be a valuable training device
Cons: Can cause serious injury, distress, fear, and even death when used improperly
Best for: strong pullers, brachiocephalic (flat-faced) breeds like pugs and french bulldogs.
Pros: Gives more control over dogs, much more gentle on the dog, several options such front clip styles that prevents pulling and styles that use calming acupressure to soothe the dog--Cesar Millan suggests this style
Cons: Can cause chafing, more expensive than a traditional collar and leash
4. Basic Leashes
Best for: easy going dogs, hiking or situations where you need to keep your dog close by
Pros: Compatible with most collars and harnesses, inexpensive, comes in reflective options for on-road walking, good to keep on hand, 6ft (or shorter) leashes are commonly required by law
Cons: Little to none if you purchase a high-quality leash, too much lead-way can cause the dog to wrap the leash around you
5. Gentle leaders
Best for: Cesar Milan highly recommends this style for training dogs (and even has his own brand of gentle leaders)
Pros: Does not require a collar, can be worn in several ways including over the snout like a muzzle, much more gentle than a standard collar and leash, harder to slip off than a collar
Cons: Usually doesn’t have a place to put ID tags, improper usage can cause injury
6. Retractable Leashes
Best for: small, well-behaved dogs, who no longer need training
Pros: Gives the dog the freedom to sniff and do their business at a distance
Cons: Detrimental to training, teaches the dog that they are in control, can be dangerous if used around busy roads or unpredictable animals
Bottom line: Front clip and acupressure harnesses are fantastic tools for leash-pullers and excitable puppies who are still learning. Once your dog is trained, a collar and retractable leash may give him more freedom. Any training tool can be misused; it is up to the owner to use the products responsibly.