Gear For You and Your Terrier

The first tool any terrier owner will need is a collar/leash or halter. Terriers are independent, high-energy dogs and being restrained is not their favorite mode. But for their safety and that of others a sturdy restraint is a must.

For some smaller breeds like Yorkies or Skyes a collar and leash might well be good enough. Provided they’re sized properly to prevent these clever dogs from slipping out, that can work well. Whether nylon or leather, they will provide the security you need.

Larger breeds, such as the Airedale, or even those who may be shorter but still very strong like an American Pit Bull Terrier, will typically do better with a chest halter.

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier, for example, has a fairly broad chest for a shorter dog. Yet, it has tremendous pulling strength. It’s under such circumstances that an unbreakable chest halter is both easy on the dog and yet still gives the owner needed control.

Nylon straps with good plastic clips may work, given how strong these modern materials have become. But leather straps connected with metal rings are a sure bet.

For many individual dogs, especially those trained as watchdogs or working terriers, it can be very useful to have a muzzle. In fact, some counties, states or countries allow certain terrier breeds in public only when they are muzzled.

Like halters and leashes, muzzles come in a wide range of materials and designs. Many are leather, but even with that material there is a large variation. Any that doesn’t block the nose for easy breathing and prevents snapping is acceptable.

Some designs take the concept a step further and have a kind of metal-rod cage that fits to the leather. These have the advantage that not only do they prevent snapping, but they allow easy breathing and even treats to be passed in. However, they may not be suitable when young children are nearby, since small fingers can easily pass through the ‘bars’.

On the more fun side, for owner and dog, play toys are a practical necessity for terriers. They like nothing so much as play, play, play. Here, there is a world of things to choose from.

Strong fabric ‘bones’ with knots at both ends are great for playing tug, which many terriers love. But take care with certain breeds, such as Scotties, that can become very competitive during a game. It’s still important for you to be the alpha of the pack.

New synthetics offer a lot to choose from. French linen puppy bite tugs are small rectangular ‘pillows’, often with short looped rope handles. They make for great aids to provide that assertive terrier with something to struggle for while giving you control over the game.

Terriers, like any dog breed, will also benefit from chew toys that offer a means of cleaning tartar from their teeth. Take care to size the rawhide or synthetic bone properly, though. Ones too small can easily be swallowed by larger breeds. Those that are too large eliminate the benefit for smaller dogs, since they’ll generally ignore the chew toy.

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