A dog owner should purchase a dog leash and collar that will enable them to take their dog to the veterinarian, go on walks, provide identifying information, and carry the dog’s license. A dog is able to wear a collar and walk on a leash when it is eight weeks old. Owners should fit the dog with a collar before attempting to use a leash. There is no specific time frame that lets an owner know when a puppy is used to the collar; the dog will stop ‘checking’ or pulling at the collar. After the dog is comfortable with the collar, the owner should buy a dog leash and the leash can be introduced. Note that a choke collar is never to be used with puppies.

Leashes are available at pet stores, grocery stores, on the internet, at the vet’s, and at other retailers. A pet store is the best source for buying a dog leash because the staff can answer questions regarding the type of leash needed, and pet stores carry a wider variety of leashes than most other outlets. A dog owner who is buying the first leash for a dog should tell the pet store staff the following information about the dog:

• Breed – Pure bred or mixed breed
• Weight – The most recently weight obtained from the veterinarian
• Height – Measured from the ground to the top of the head
• Demeanor – How the dog responded to a collar

Ideally, the dog should be brought to the pet store so the staff can actually see the dog and make sure that the leash is the proper size and does not harm the dog in any way. Stores such as PetSmart allow animals inside the store, and staff members are known to be very knowledgeable about the store’s products.

There are countless leashes currently being sold to pet owners. They vary in length, function, and material. Animal trainers are excellent sources of information about animal products. They recommend that a leash be sturdy, approximately six feet in length, and made of leather, nylon, or chain. A quality leash will match the dog’s breed, age, and size; also, it will not chafe the animal’s skin or cut the dog’s fur. The owner should periodically check the leash for tearing, fraying, and overall wear.

An alternative to the traditional “lead”-type of leash is the retractable leash. This type of leash provides variable distances in which the dog can travel while “on leash”. The owner can keep a dog within close range or let the animal travel several feet ahead or behind. A retractable leash is not recommended for puppies or very small dogs because the potential for harm is greater. They may dash in front of a car or get into a dangerous situation.

Frequently, a dog owner will allow a child to take the family dog for a walk using a leash. The child should be taught how to properly walk the dog. The child should know how far to walk the dog, where the dog can or cannot be walked, and how to care for the dog while taking it for a walk. A large dog may not be controllable by a child. The owner must carefully assess whether a child is capable of controlling the dog.

Buying an age/breed appropriate dog leash will help a dog owner to properly and safely care for a pet when going for a walk, to the veterinarian’s, or traveling away from home.

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