which is best for a toy poodle? when we take her out on walks at the moment we use a harness, but i'm thinking that we should also train her on a collar. i'm just concerned that being a small dog whether the pressure of lead walking on a collar and lead could do any damage to her trachea it's been so long since i've had a small dog, i'm out of practise.
I know many people prefer harnesses for small dogs. I might suggest trying a martingale collar if you are really concerned about being able to use one. They can't over-tighten when adjusted correctly, but also will tighten when pup pulls so they can't back out of the collar (as can happen with buckle collars). I personally like a collar better than a harness for most purposes since I think you have better control over the dog, but I do put a harness on Lily in the car and often attach her leash to it instead of her collar when we are running errands.
Lily AKC: CGC CD HIT CDX, RN RA RE RAE RAE2 RAE3 RAE4 RAE5 Multiple Rally High Combined, NA NAJ; APDT: RL-1; CPE: CL1-R, CL1-H, CL1-F, CL1-S, CL1
Peeves AKC: CGC BN RN RA
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If your toy pulls a lot, start with a harness and then take the time and effort to teach her NOT to pull! Then you can use a collar. If your dog doesn't pull and walks nicely on a leash, there's no reason to fear injury.
Here's an example of a snake chain collar. http://www.petedge.com/product/Groom...1399/54551.uts
It's what I use on my show dogs and I think they look really classy. Easy on and off for walks get or store visits. My girls don't wear collars or harness full time. My toy occasionally wears a collar if it's really pretty.. And my mini will wear a leather roll collar for agility or any other training
Some toy and mini poodles are prone to collapsible tracheas so it's a good idea to avoid pressure on their throats.
That being said, I walk every single dog in a harness because regardless of where they have throat issues or not, I don't like putting any pressure on their throats. They have important nerves and blood vessels on the surface of their necks, to carry blood and messages to the brain, and I don't like compressing them if I or they have to stop short.
With a harness, there's the oppositional force reflex that untrained dogs will pull against. So if you teach loose leash walking correctly, that won't ever be a problem because dogs will know that a loose leash is much more reinforcing then a tight leash. In fact, I like to start loose leash walking in the house without a leash, by reinforcing the dog for following within a leash's distance of me. And heel is taught much the same way, although I use hand targeting so the dog is directly at my side.
I'm all for teaching a dog what you want them to do and rewarding them rather then waiting for them to do what you don't want (leash pulling) and then punishing them for it.
If you make loose leash rewarding enough and you're clear enough when you teach, then like said, there won't be a problem. And if such a situation arises where you have to put the leash on their collar, the dog will already understand the concept of a loose leash and you'll be good to go.
The great thing about harnesses is you can also teach a dog to pull you if you want. That's not such a great idea if a dog is pulling by their neck but by their body, it's perfectly fine. There are sports, in fact, centered on dogs pulling people or equipment. My service dog is taught to pull me on cue if I'm feeling tired or weak.
Can you imagine that all that force on your throat would be a great experience? I'm not a dog but I don't think that any living thing would enjoy that sensation... Unless they're into BSDM?