K-9 Equipment Selection

Equipment selection can be a difficult thing. When you get assigned to the K-9 unit, you have more equipment to consider. You may be issued equipment. Like every other piece of equipment, you must inspect it, especially if it is department issued and...

When it comes to collars, again, get high quality stuff.  You don’t need your K-9 biting someone because your equipment failed to restrain him/her.  When it comes to collars, I prefer the fur-saver choke collars and leather agitation collars.  Fur-saver collars have longer links, more like a tow chain, that don’t pinch the hair as much, preventing or cutting don’t on the hair being broken off.  Leather agitation collars are generally about two inches wide, which spreads the force/load on the K-9’s neck.  K-9’s are very powerful, and when pulling against the lead, can put a lot of force/load against their throat and neck.  A narrow collar would put more stress on them and possibly cause injury.

Then there are the harnesses.  I’ve only had leather harnesses, and seeing how I’ve had no issues with them, I see no reason to get a nylon harness.  Like the collars, I also have criteria for the harness.  Of course it must be of high quality material.  The straps going across the chest must either be wide to spread out the force, or if they are narrow, have a chest pad that will spread the force.  If you’re looking to getting a nylon harness, keep the above criteria in mind, but also look at those that are modular.  Many of the modular one’s are similar in construction to a SWAT vest: they are heavy duty and are adaptable to the situation at hand.  Keep in mind though, that the ones that are more like a vest than a harness cover more of the dog and will increase your K-9’s temp, especially in hot climates.

Would you go on duty with sub-standard equipment?  I think not.  Don’t purchase sub-standard K-9 equipment.  That four-legged animal isn’t just a dog, s/he is your partner, there to protect and assist you, and deserves high quality equipment.

Stay safe.


About the author:

Steve Forgues started his career over 18 years ago in Arizona. Over the years, Forgues has worked contract security, police, corrections and tactical operations. Forgues has been an instructor in various disciplines since 1998, and has been working and training with canines since 2000. Forgues has also been writing for law enforcement since 2005. He is currently working as a police officer and firefighter in Pennsylvania.

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