If you’ve ever been invited to dog-sit for your family or friends for any period of time, you know how important it is to know where the dog’s leashes and collars are kept. That’s because without them, and without having a complete understanding of the dogs behaviour in your care, you’re pretty much stuck indoors, unless there’s a fenced in property, of course.

This is because a collar and leash combo is essential when taking a dog pretty much anywhere these days, including a walk around the neighbourhood, to the vet, to the dog park, and especially the kennel. Having your dog on a leash around other dogs isn’t just common courtesy anymore, it’s an unspoken (but usually spoken) rule out there.

If you’re new to being a dog owner, or you are considering getting your very first puppy, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to dog leashes and collars.

Different Types of Leashes

Standard Dog Leashes – Standard dog leashes are anywhere from 4 to 8 feet in length. They come in many different materials (see below) and suit any breed of dog and any size and age of dog.

Retractable Dog LeashesRetractable Dog Leashes – These types of leashes are popular, but come with a bit of debate over how truly useful they are. Retractable dog leashes allow a dog to choose their tension, with some allowing for up to 30 feet of travel distance between you and your pup!

They are good for controlling your dog around traffic and restraining them around other animals, but aren’t so useful when training, as this perceived freedom can be confusing for your dog. The Dogington Post’s story of the Dangers of Retractable leashes gives owners much to think about.

Adjustable Dog Leashes – These leashes tend to give owners the best of both worlds and covers you from the training stages of puppy training right into adult life. Adjustments are made possible with the addition or removal of loops, or extra clips along the length, between 3 and 6 feet. However, a standard leash can always be adjusted or held at different lengths.

Compare prices, qualities, and brands when it comes to choosing the right leash for your needs.

What Material of Dog Leash Is the Best?

There is no shortage of dog leash materials. Dog owners have their choice of nylon, leather, and chain-link materials. Rubber and cotton leashes are also available, but are far less common. The good thing here is your dog doesn’t have a preference when it comes to his or her leash material.


  • The benefits of nylon leashes are that they are cheap, easy to clean, available in many colours, durable, quick-drying, and shrink resistant.
  • The drawbacks of nylon are that it isn’t very comfortable to hold onto if your dog is a puller, and the dog can quite easily chew through it if it accidently gets a hold of it after the walk.


  • The benefits of leather leashes are that they are comfortable to hold, stylish, and can literally last a lifetime.
  • The drawbacks of leather leashes are that they are costly and they aren’t weatherproof without some kind of treatment from time to time.


  • The benefits of chain leashes are that they are most suitable for animals that won’t stop chewing their leashes. They are tough, but that’s about the only thing they have going for them.
  • The drawbacks of chain leashes, which make them the least popular, is that they are extremely heavy after a while and can be a bit loud—you likely won’t be able to sneak up on anyone with all that jingling going on.

Different Types of Dog Collars

There are so many types of dog collars available on the market that there have been sub-divided into three categories: regular collars, aversive collars, and special-use collars:

Regular Dog Collars

Flat collars are standard, adjustable dog collars that have a buckle or plastic clasp and come with a ring for the leash/identification tags. Flat collars should be snug, but not too snug. A good rule to go by is that uou should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck.

Martingale collars are great for dogs with small heads or any dog who is a wannabe escape artist who likes to slip out of his collar. They consist of the collar and a metal ring at each end. Then another loop of material passes through each of the two rings. When the dog tries to back out of the collar, it will tighten slightly around his neck without choking him. Check out greyhound Emma demonstrating the martingale collar

Head collars give dog owners a bit more control over their animals, especially if it is a breed that is strong and loves to jump and pull. They are available in a few different brands and styles, but all work the same way: a strap fits high up around your dog’s neck, sitting just behind the ears, while another strap loops around its muzzle. The leash is attached to the muzzle’s loop, meaning you must be gentle with it or you risking hurting your dog. You’ll both need to practice patience with this effective collar technique.

Aversive Dog Collars

Aversive collars are special devices that are intended to train misbehaving, difficult dogs. They are not meant for your average animal or puppies who have yet to display aggressive behaviour. Use of aversive collars is a contentious issue in the dog world, as they are designed to inflict pain on the animal, to put it bluntly.

Choke chains are made of metal links that tighten around the dog’s neck as soon as he oversteps. You can’t control how much the links tighten, which could spell disaster for the animal. There are other routes to take before resorting to such an uncomfortable option.

Dog Collars - choke chain

Prong or pinch collars are a bit like the martingale mentioned above, only the control loop is lined with blunt metal prongs that pinch the loose skin of your dog’s neck. This is slightly safer than outright choking him, but not less painful. It is still best to avoid prong and pinch collars in favour or other methods of training.

Shock collars are used to either train an animal, get them to stop barking, or in pet-containment solutions, such as an invisible fence. The shock box on the collar can sense barking, and an electric current passes through metal contact points on the collar to shock your dog. Owners can adjust the settings from mild to severe.

While effective, the use of shock collars is debated in the pet community because of the pain involved and the unnecessary stress this puts on the animal. We here at Puppy Love agree with the majority of the community in that chock collars ought to be extremely limited in their use.

Special-Use Dog Collars

Bark control collars come in many forms, all of which are designed to control excessive/unwanted barking by introducing an irritant to your dog each time he or she barks. A spray collar emits a pump of citronella or air which irritates your dog in a non-painful way, while an ultrasonic collar emits an irritating sound, interrupting your dog’s actions. Only the dog can hear this special frequency.

Depending on the type of bark collar involved, you will want limit its use to times when your dog is alone.

Flea/tick collars are great at preventing a flea infestation in your pets and eventually, your home. Coated with chemicals, a flea collar is meant to be used as a protective measure against fleas and ticks. It is not meant to replace a normal collar, rather, the two collars are worn together. Your veterinarian will go over all of the things you’ll need to keep in mind when using flea collars.

GPS collars are becoming more widely used amongst dog owners. GPS collars use GPS (global positioning satellite) technology to keep you informed of your pet’s whereabouts 24/7. Most are used with a smartphone app that can also track things like how much exercise your pets are getting. They’ve come down in price over the years as more brands have made it to the market.

Stay Visible Out There!


A photo posted by A D A M W A L K E R (@thecyclingco) on

No matter what leash and collar combo you end up choosing, if you’re going to be walking your dog at nighttime, you should aim for good visibility not just for you, but for your pet as well. You can either buy a reflective harness or add reflective tape on your dog’s leash. Another option is to buy an illuminated leash and collar combo that comes with LEDs. You can never be too careful, especially in the winter time when Victoria gets a mere eight hours of daylight per day sometimes.

The staff at Puppy Love Pet Care Centre in Victoria on Vancouver Island take pleasure in seeing pets happy and safe wherever they are! Ensuring you have a properly fitted collar, and a leash that’s suitable for your pet is the first step to a safe and enjoyable outing. Please ensure your pet has both when you arrive to drop them off! The collar must also include your pet’s ID information.

For more information on our pet boarding services, please take a look around our website and feel free to contact us for more details. We are open seven days a week from 9 am to 6 pm and are located at 2918 Lamont Road in Victoria, British Columbia!

Are you planning a special vacation this Labour Day weekend? On long weekends, Puppy Love tends to fill up fast! We recommend booking your animals in as early as possible.

Thank you, and we hope you are having a great summer holiday!

One Comment

  1. 7 Things to Bring When You’re Dropping Your Pets off for Boarding

    […] Please ensure your pet has both a collar and a leash when you arrive to drop them off. For more information on leashes and collars, including the many types that are available out there these days, refer to our blog post: Your Guide to Leashes & Collars   […]

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