By Jemma Martin, LWDG Group Expert

Welcome back to our podcast and blog! Today, let’s explore the pivotal topic of choosing the right leads for your dogs, especially focusing on harnesses, collars, and the essential slip leads for our gundog community.

Harness or Collar: Choosing the Right One for Your Puppy

When selecting between a harness and a collar for your puppy, consider your training goals and your dog’s behavior. If your dog walks well to heel, a collar might be sufficient. However, harnesses, which have gained popularity, can sometimes impact a dog’s natural gait, so it’s important to make an informed choice.

Puppy Training 101: Mastering Loose Lead Walking

Loose lead walking is an essential skill for any dog, and the foundation for using any lead or collar effectively. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

  1. Indoor Training: Start with simple indoor sessions. Use treats and verbal praise to keep your pup engaged. The aim is to make the pup follow you with a loose lead, rewarding them every few steps.
  2. Collar Familiarisation: Introduce your pup to a collar gradually. Ensure it’s a comfortable fit and reward calm behavior. This step is crucial to prevent anxiety or resistance towards wearing a collar in the future.
  3. Lead Introduction: Once your pup is comfortable with the collar, introduce the lead. If they bite the lead, a firm “no” and redirection towards the correct behavior can help. Keep practicing this in different environments, gradually increasing distractions.
  4. Further Help: Our flagaship course Hot Mess Handler has an entire module to help you train heel to you dog. If you’re struggling be sure to check it out.

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Types of Collars: Understanding Your Options

Flat Buckle and Clip Collars: These are the most common and are suitable for dogs that don’t pull excessively. Ensure the fit allows for two fingers under the collar for comfort.

SlipCollars: These are particularly useful for breeds such as gundogs as you can easily remove and replace the collar.

Legal Considerations: In the UK, it’s legally required for dogs to wear a collar with an ID tag in public places. This tag should include the owner’s contact information for safety.

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Harness Varieties: Pros and Cons

Y-Shaped Harness: This type of harness is less intrusive to a dog’s natural movement. It’s a good option for dogs that require a harness but don’t have specific pulling issues.

Fashion and Cross Chest Harnesses: While appealing, they can restrict movement and alter gait, which might be problematic for active or working dogs.

“No Pull” Harnesses: Designed to discourage pulling, these harnesses can be effective but require careful use to avoid discomfort or injury.

Slip Leads: A Gundog’s Companion

Slip leads are particularly useful for gundogs. They provide quick control and are easy to remove, which is beneficial in a working environment. However, correct usage is crucial to prevent choking or neck injury.

Special Considerations for Harness Use

Harnesses are advisable in certain situations, such as for dogs with pre-existing medical conditions, particularly Brachycephalic breeds, or for specific activities like scent tracking or dog sports.

Training as the Cornerstone

The effectiveness of any collar or harness is contingent on proper training. Teaching your dog to walk at heel with positive reinforcement is essential. This not only ensures their safety but also enhances the walking experience for both the dog and the handler.

Making an Informed Decision

In conclusion, the choice between a harness, collar, or slip lead depends on various factors including your dog’s breed, behaviour, and the activities you engage in. Proper fit, appropriate use, and consistent training are paramount.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right equipment for your dog is a journey of understanding and adaptation. Our team at LWDG is dedicated to guiding you through this process, ensuring both you and your dog enjoy a safe and comfortable experience. Remember, a well-trained dog and an informed owner are the keys to a harmonious relationship.


What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

Who’s ready for some extra fun? Discover your unique approach to training with our “Which Gundog Goddess Are You?” quiz. You don’t want to miss this one

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