Gift Guide: Gear for Your Dog

By Veronica Rigatti, VSA-CDT, Canine Behavior Specialist

With the holidays approaching, you might be wondering what gift to get for your pup! They probably already have so many toys and treats they don’t know what to do with, so how about sprucing up their gear?

Here is what’s hot and what’s not this season:



Flat Buckle Collar  This is a classic that will never go out of style. You can choose from a snap clip that can be made out of plastic or metal or a belt buckle-style. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, so you will be sure to find something to match your pup’s personality!

Martingale Collar This collar slips over your dog’s head and normally does not have a clip closure, although sometimes you can find one with that feature. These collars are best for dogs that may slip out of a regular flat buckle collar or whose necks are bigger than their heads. These collars tighten to prevent them from slipping out.


Back Clip Harness  Most harnesses have a back clip which allows the pressure to be taken off your dog’s neck to protect their trachea. Back clip harnesses come in a variety of styles with different ways to put them on. Find one that works best for you and your dog!

No-Pull or Front Clip Harness 
There are a variety of “no-pull” harnesses on the market which normally have a loop on the front of the harness that the leash is attached to. Some also have a clip on the back to use a second leash or a Euro leash with. These harnesses may be marketed as “no-pull”, however, they do not make leash pulling stop completely. They are simply a tool that helps to reduce pulling and give more control to the handler. The only thing that eliminates pulling completely is training your dog to walk on a loose leash by using positive reinforcement training techniques!


Euro Leash  This leash has a double connection and is used for a double attachment harness. The Freedom harness is a double attachment no-pull harness that has the option to purchase a matching Euro leash with it!

Standard 6-foot Leash  Another classic that will never go out of style! This leash allows your dog to know the limit of how far they can go and stay within a safe distance from you. These leashes come in a variety of materials like nylon, leather, BioThane and more – find what works best for you. You may even be able to find one that matches your pup’s collar or harness!


Prong, Choke Chain and Shock Collars  The training that is used with these collars is out of date and no longer supported by many trainers. The biggest reason being the potential behavioral fallout that may happen when they are used. That means that they can make the behavior worse or cause another more worrisome behavior that was not an issue before. It’s best to avoid these collars and contact a certified positive-reinforcement trainer in your area!
Flexi-leads and Retractable Leashes  These are a big faux pas! Even though they are designed to lock off at a certain length, the mechanisms easily fail and break, causing potential injury to you and your dog. They allow your dog to be too far away from you and in the line of potential danger before you can reach them. They also teach dogs to pull more because when they pull on these leashes it allows them to go further and faster.
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