The next common piece of dog training equipment we are going to discuss is the dog collar. There are many different types of dog collars and we will not only discuss the purpose of each type of dog collar but also how to choose the right size of collar for your dog…
On All K-9, we break Dog Collars into subcategories: All Weather Biothane Dog Collars, Choke Chains, Dominant Dog Collars, Fursavers, Leather Dog Collars, Prong Collars, Service ID Collars, Show Collars and Badge Holders (which aren’t a collar per se, but they go on collars so we include them under the main dog collar category).
Let’s start with the All Weather Biothane Dog Collars and just progress through the list. All Weather Biothane Dog Collars are an excellent all purpose dog collar. All Weather Biothane (sometimes called Beta) is basically a polyester webbing with a TPU or PVC coating that makes it more durable, waterproof, easy to clean. It does not stretch, rot, or mildew. It is stronger and more durable than leather and is readily available in different colors. If they get wet or muddy, just wipe them clean with a damp cloth and they look new again. All Weather Biothane also makes great tracking lines but we will discuss that later in another post…
We have 3 different types of biothane dog collars:
- We have a 2 inch wide Biothane dog collar made with 2 layers of heavy all weather beta material. This collar has an easy grip handle and heavy duty hardware. It is designed for agitation work and protection dog training. It is an extremely strong collar and the only drawback is that it is a little stiff, which is why some people prefer the 2 inch wide Leather dog collars.
- We have a 1 inch wide Biothane dog collar that makes an excellent general purpose dog collar. These collars are very flexible and come in a variety of sizes and vibrant colors (black, blue, orange, red) that are easy to see. They are perfect for any conditions, especially for dogs that spend time in the water. These dog collars are an excellent value because of their longevity, durability and low cost. I highly recommend these collars.
- We also have 1 inch wide Biothane dog collars that are reflective! These all weather biothane reflective dog collars are made from our Biothane Edgeguard material. They are great for hunters, joggers or anyone that wants to make their dog more visible in low light conditions.
All of our collars made with expert craftsmanship and have high quality hardware. If you didn’t know about Biothane dog collars before, you definitely owe it to yourself and your dog to check them out. To select the correct size for your dog, measure around the middle of your dogs’ neck and then choose a collar size based on that measurement. For example, if you are purchasing one of our 1 inch Biothane dog collars and your dogs’ neck is 20″, you would choose Medium 18″ – 22″.
The final style of dog harness we will discuss has some type of padded chest plate and is designed for strong pulling. There are variations in the actual padded chest plate design but in general, they have 3 points of contact (one over each shoulder and one between the front legs) which connect the chest plate to the back of the harness. Chest plates are typically made of leather or nylon and have some type of padding like heavy felt. The back of the harness usually consists of a belly/side strap and a handle with a d-ring on top.
The reason why this type of harness is so popular is the padded chest plate allows the dog pull vigorously into the harness while not restricting the dogs breathing or barking, making them ideal for protection dog training. The key to this type of harness is in the 3 point connection which distributes the force across the chest. This allows the dog to be easily restrained from one point (the handle or the d-ring) and direct all of the energy forward. The belly and side straps are really only there to position the top portion in the center of the dogs back.
These types of harnesses are easy to put on and take off and we’ve actually made it even easier by using quick release buckles on the side straps. Once you have adjusted the belly/side straps based on the girth of your dog, you just slip it over the dogs head and quickly snap up the side straps. It is a very simple, quick and strong system. You may also hear these types of padded, quick release dog harnesses referred to as protection dog harnesses, tracking dog harnesses or even strap harnesses.
This concludes our discussion on dog harnesses and covers approximately 90% of the dog harnesses out there. Of course there are more types of harnesses like sling harnesses, lift harnesses and jump harnesses for tactical maneuvers or search and rescue and we can discuss those another time. However, there is one additional type of harness which is definitely worth mentioning and that is a hybrid or dual purpose harness. A dual purpose dog harness combines the back vest portion from a patrol harness with the 3 point padded chest plate of a protection dog harness. It is a very popular dog harness, especially with law enforcement and the military because it combines the best of both types of harnesses.
So we highlighted a couple of common misconceptions about dog harnesses in part 1, now let’s talk about the different types of dog harnesses. I will identify how each type of harness (or group of harnesses) differs in key areas like the back, the sides the belly and the chest.
Let’s start with the patrol dog harness, service dog vest and multi-purpose dog harness as they are all variations of the same type of dog harness. This group of harnesses all feature a nylon back piece that is lightweight, durable and padded for all day comfort. In additional to the standard nylon, we also have a breathable mesh fabric back piece that is excellent for warmer climates. On top of the back piece is an easy grip handle and a d-ring to attach a leash or long line. The sides typically have an area to attach Velcro service dog patches and may also feature additional d-rings depending on the harness. The belly strap is adjustable, within a certain range, by either slides or Velcro and features various types of release buckles making it easy to put the harness on and take it off. The chest strap is approximately 2″ wide and is usually adjustable, within a certain range, with either slides or Velcro. An optional Y-Strap can easily be used with these harnesses. A Y-Strap connects the chest strap to the belly strap providing more stability between the straps.
This type of dog harness is extremely popular because of its versatility. It is used by law enforcement, the military, service dogs and even for dog sports like schutzhund. The chest strap is wide making it comfortable for your dog during moderate pulling, the handle on top is easy to grab and the adjustable straps allow you to get a proper fit for your dog. The back piece is lightweight and does not impede the dogs movement when running, jumping, sitting or even laying down. The Velcro strips on the sides, if equipped, allow you to prominently display service dog patches like police, service dog and do not pet. And this dog harness comes in a wide variety of colors including black, blue, coyote brown, gray, orange and red. You can see all of our harnesses here: Dog Harness
In our next post we will discuss protection dog harnesses which are designed for strong pulling and have 5 points of adjustment.