Are you struggling to walk that big dog of yours? Is it difficult controlling him?
Large dogs have some notable advantages when compared to smaller dogs. For one thing, they tend to be calmer. For another, they’re much better guard dogs, as their size alone is enough to deter a would-be attacker.
However, some unique challenges also come with ownership of a large dog.
One is their strength. If you’re small and have a large dog, he may very well be stronger than you. Some dogs, particularly bully breeds, can pull shockingly large weight.
With this in mind, let’s determine which type of collar is best for a large dog with a pulling problem.
Later in this article, we’ll cover the following:
- Bestia Maximus Dog Harness
- Mighty Paw Leather Training Collar
- Diezel Military-Style Dog Collar
- Deyace Prong Collar
Advantages of an Anti-Pull Collar
When your dog is pulling at the leash, they’re engaging you in a tug-of-war. To win the game with minimal effort, you’ll need a collar or harness that’ll provide greater control.
This leverage can take many forms. Some collars might pinch the dog, while others may choke him. We’ve avoided discussion of choke chains and choke collars because, in my opinion, they’re inhumane. More importantly, they’re unnecessary. By using any of the anti-pull collars that are described below, you can keep your walks from becoming a game of tug-of-war.
The collars I’ve selected are made for the strongest and most stubborn dogs. As such, they’re all made out of tough materials like steel, thick nylon, and leather. Whether your dog is an extreme case or not, it never hurts to have a collar that will hold up for a long time. A rowdy dog can be hard on a collar, but these collars are likely to put a stop to that.
You’ll need this extra leverage if you’re a smaller person walking a bigger dog. On the one hand, large dogs are great for protection; on the other hand, it can be tough to control them. This is why you need the right type of collar.
Almost all of the collars on my list work on the same basic principle — when a dog pulls against the leash, the collar tightens, and when a dog stops pulling, the collar is loosened again. This is an excellent way to go about things because your dog will feel he is disciplining himself. Your dog is unlikely to understand the concept behind the collar, and so it will seem to him like magic. This is good because it creates discouragement of bad behavior so that the dog is unlikely to blame you.
This kind of discipline is ideal for the largest of dogs as you don’t want to use harsh discipline with big dogs. This becomes even truer if you’re dealing with an oversize breed like a Mastiff or a Great Dane. Dogs like this can seriously injure you if they turn on you. Rescue dogs should also never be corrected harshly, as their traumatic backgrounds can make them more sensitive to discipline than other dogs. When they correct themselves, you don’t have to worry about this.
What to Look for in an Anti-Pull Collar
If you see any load-bearing plastic, say no. A plastic tip on the end of a prong or some other non-stressed part would be acceptable. Specifically, what you’ll need to look out for are those little plastic clasps. For some reason, it can be hard to find dog collars that don’t have plastic clasps or plastic buckles. It could work for a small terrier, but it won’t work for a big dog.
Look at the band of the collar itself. Remember that any material is weak if it’s not sufficiently thick. If the material is double-layered, it’s even better. It’s important to remember that most collar manufacturers do not cater to people with large and unruly dogs. They’re trying to cater to the majority, and that isn’t you.
I wouldn’t consider buying an anti-pull collar if you don’t understand precisely how they work. Failure to do this can result in more than one problem. For one thing, you might overlook a critical design flaw. Think about how this collar will exercise control over your dog.
In most cases, control is gained by tightening the collar, but you have to understand how it works to find the best way to use it. Consider the range of motion that the collar will have and exactly how tight it will be. Ask plenty of questions, and don’t be afraid of the search engine.
Not More Unpleasant for the Dog Than Necessary
These kinds of collars are always going to be at least slightly unpleasant for the dog. That is the point. By providing just a little bit of mild unpleasantness, a lot of problematic behaviors can be discouraged. You don’t want to make things harder on your dog than necessary.
Before you put any collar on your dog, you should think about how you’d feel if someone forced you to wear that collar. It shouldn’t cause real discomfort unless the dog pulls and it should be well-padded on the inside. Any barbs or prongs used should be made of a soft material or (at the least) covered with a soft material. Avoid anything that presses bare steel prongs against your dog’s skin. These are both dangerous and inhumane.
I am shocked at the number of prong collars on the market that don’t incorporate rubber covers on the tips of the prongs. Pressing a piece of steel against your dog’s neck isn’t (ever) a good idea. A bad fall or an unexpected impact could cause one of those prongs to pierce your dog’s neck, or at least cause some severe bruising. Even with covered prong collars, I’d advise caution.
Before I buy a new collar, I like to review the collar’s construction. If I think my dog can destroy it within a year, it’s not worth buying. This is a rule that’s served me well over the years.
The Size and Temperament of Your Dog
For most of the collars that I examined for this article, multiple sizes were available. When you go about ordering one of these things, make sure that the manufacturer knows what size you want. Don’t waste your time returning items and waiting for a replacement.
The weight of the collar should also be considered against the size of your dog. This article is about big dogs, but there is a difference between a large dog and a huge dog. If you are one of those who has an extra-large breed, You will need to get some measuring tape and measure the diameter of your dog’s neck.
Otherwise, it’ll be tough to verify that a particular collar is large enough until you get it home and attempt to put it on the dog. Once again, remember that most dog collar manufacturers haven’t thought a whole lot about your dog.
Also, a less determined dog needs a less hardcore solution. There is no need to go with a harsh solution like a prong collar or a spiked pinch collar if your dog isn’t displaying bad behavioral problems. Use what is necessary and no more.
Anti-Pull Collar Reviews:
This is the most reliable collar on this list. And it’s technically not a collar, but I’ve included it because it takes the place of a collar. For a large dog that pulls, a harness is objectively superior to a collar. For dogs with thick necks, a harness is a necessity if they have pulling issues.
This entire harness is made from stout leather and thick steel. It has an attractive set of ornaments on the front to give your dog that “royal” look. The chest pad on the front is well-padded, and the whole thing fits even the largest of dogs with ease. This is an anti-pull collar simply because the harness gives you better control and leverage over your dog. It also removes the potential for a thick-necked dog to slip out of its collar.
Anyone who has dealt with rowdy dogs can tell you that a harness is much easier to grab and hold than a collar. Another great thing is that a harness won’t choke your dog even if they pull hard. With no strap around their neck, it just isn’t a concern.
- Made of strong materials
- Held together mostly with stainless steel rivets
- Attractive appearance
- No tightening mechanism
- Unnecessary for dogs that aren’t extremely strong
- Slightly heavy
This is an example of a Martingale collar. This type of collar can tighten when the dog pulls against it, but only slightly. This is an excellent way to get your dog’s attention without choking them. One might call this a half-choke collar since it does tighten around their neck but without restricting their ability to breathe.
Mighty Paw makes an excellent version of a Martingale collar. There isn’t plastic and no obvious weak points. Everything’s made of leather and steel, and both are sufficiently thick. This one can tighten down a little more than most Martingales that I have seen, but this is probably necessary for a large dog that pulls. You would have a tough time choking a mastiff even if you tried.
There are far too many Martingales on the market that use plastic clasps, but this isn’t one of them. Everything about this collar looks like it will hold up for years to come. Remember, leather needs to be oiled once in a while, or it will eventually rot. Another little problem is that the buckle could use one more clasping mechanism to keep the tail from sticking out. This is a small complaint, so take it as such.
- Very durable construction
- Pinches without choking
- Tightens a little more than other brands
- Many professional endorsements
- Proven design
- It may not be enough for the most stubborn dogs
- Leather can rot if it isn’t oiled from time to time
- Buckle could use an extra mechanism to secure it
This collar is based on those that are sometimes used for military dogs. When it comes to durability, this model takes it to a whole new level. It’s made of extremely thick nylon with high-strength velcro all around. Velcro may not seem like a good idea for something like this, but this one gets good results.
The handiest feature of this collar is the handle. This allows you to get direct control of your dog when they begin to get out of hand. You can keep the leash in one hand and grab the handle with the other, giving you two points of contact with which to steer the dog away from trouble.
One of the good things about this collar is that it can be adjusted to a perfect fit. You don’t have to make extra holes in a collar or anything like that because of the velcro. This is good in the comfort department as it’s reasonably well-padded on the inside and doesn’t seem like it would be uncomfortable.
This collar does require a little muscle. Small people with big dogs might not get a whole lot of help from this one.
- Very strong
- Allows for precise size adjustment
- Handle for extra control
- Thick padding on the inside
- Velcro might eventually wear out
- Not suited for individuals who aren’t strong
- Overlap of the collar creates a potential digging point
This is a classic example of a prong collar. This model was chosen for the rubber tips on the ends of the prongs. Never use a prong collar that doesn’t have these rubber tips. Those little pieces of steel may not be sharp, but they can still potentially puncture a dog’s neck if something were to push the dog’s neck against them. It’s also nice that this one comes with extra tips if you happen to lose a few.
This one has a steel snap-clasp in front, which is kind of rare. A mixture of steel and nylon is probably the best combination for maximum strength in a dog collar, and that’s what you have in this model. Prong collars might not be the right choice for the long-haired breeds because their hair will tend to get caught in the chain.
Remember that a prong collar is a somewhat extreme option that won’t be required for most dogs. The best way to use a prong collar is to use it as a short-term training aid. The idea is simple: force the dog to do what you want, and eventually, they will form a habit and do it without the force. Dogs are creatures of habit, and you can use this fact to your advantage.
- Effective at discouraging all pulling
- Rubber tips (and extra tips)
- No plastic clasps
- 6-month warranty
- Additional prongs can be added to increase the length
- A little harsh, and thus not always necessary
- Not suitable for long-haired dogs
- Warranty isn’t very long
Your strength plays the most important role in the type of collar you need.
If you’re a strong person and in good health, your best option is the Bestia harness.
As long as you have the muscle to control your dog, this harness will give you maximum leverage to do exactly that. Big dogs need a tough piece of gear to resist their incredible strength, and leverage from the collar is your only hope.
If you don’t think you’re strong, consider the Mighty Paw Martingale collar.
This collar will provide you with just enough pinch to discourage your dog from yanking you all over the neighborhood. I think the length of the pinch is perfect for large dogs.