Caring for Your Zande Gear
Leather Collar Care
You've made a serious investment, here's how to get the most life out of your Zande Collar
Your Zande Coursing Collar is designed for hard use, however sweat, water, and dirt will have an effect on your collar over time. Below are some recommendations to keep your collar performing and looking good for a long time!
Breaking in Your Egyptian Coursing Collar:
When you first get your coursing collar the materials are brand new and can be a bit stiff (especially the nylon handle). Your Zande collar will only improve with use! The nylon handle will soften and release smoother and the leather will get softer, more pliable and mold to your dog's neck. We recommend you use your collar a bit around the house before using it at a dog event to break it in and get you and your dog comfortable with its use. For best practice results, use a toy or bag on a stick to mimic a real, excited start. You will also want to decide which handle direction is most comfortable for you (your collar can be used with the loop on either the left or right side). The more consistent and comfortable you and your dog both become, the faster your starts will be!
Your Zande Coursing Collar is made from durable, horse-grade materials and designed for heavy use and sweat. Both the outer leather layer and the buckskin backing have been sealed and waterproofed to protect from these elements, however it is not recommended that you dunk it directly into water. Full water submersion can cause the leather to stretch and can change the texture of the buckskin as it dries. Regular cleaning and water-sealing (if needed) will keep your collar looking great and functioning for a long time!
Cleaning the Outer Leather:
If your leather on the outer layer is dirty, a typical leather cleaner/conditioner works best. While it should not be needed too often, you do want to make sure to keep your leather moisturized with a conditioner often enough that it does not dry out too much and crack the leather. Be sure to use a small amount of conditioner applied lightly with a cloth or sponge as to not clog up your laser-engraved design and try not to get any cleaner/conditioner on your buckskin backing as it may change the color and texture of it. If needed, apply another light layer of conditioner if the leather still looks too dry. Once it has had a chance to sit on the leather, wipe any excess conditioner off with a clean towel so it is not greasy (again, be careful not to wipe any on to the buckskin). A conditioner with natural waterproofing elements such as beeswax will also help protect your leather from water and sweat. For product recommendations see below.
Cleaning the Buckskin Backing:
Buckskin is a much more absorptive material and requires special care that is different from regular leather. For cleaning your buckskin backing, we recommend an aerosol spray suede and nubuck cleaner available at most shoe stores. Simply spray the backing (it will not hurt if you get some on your outer leather layer) and gently brush it off with a clean towel or sponge. Repeat as needed until the buckskin looks dirt and debris free and leave your collar out to dry thoroughly before using it again. Make sure not to overdo it; the buckskin will often look much cleaner once it dries. It is always best if in doubt to let it dry and reclean if necessary than overdoing it the first time.
If your dog sweats a lot, you can re-waterproof your collar using an aerosol waterproofing suede and nubuck spray also available at most shoe stores. Completely spray all the buckskin (it will not hurt the leather if you spray it too) then leave it to sit and dry completely before use. Be sure to read the aerosol product directions before use.
Oh No! My Dog Ate my Handle!!!
Accidents happen...Our little basenjis are ninjas at chewing through a handle when someone is not paying attention for even just a minute. While the leather cannot be repaired if chewed, your coursing collar handle is designed to be easily replaced without having to buy a whole new collar! Simply contact us, ship us your collar and we will replace your handle with a new one and ship it back!
Nylon Collar and Lead Care
Adventures can get dirty!
We only use the highest quality, American-made polyester for our Zande collars and leads that is designed to be dirt, water and sun resistant. While all webbing will fade over time, proper cleaning can keep your equipment looking like new longer. Under most circumstances, your collar and leads can typically be washed off in the sink with warm water. Wipe off excess water with a clean towel then let air-dry. Make sure to dry the buckskin edge guard on the inside well, then smooth it out on the collar and let it dry completely. It is not recommended that you dry your collar in direct sunlight as it can fade your pattern, so drying in a shady spot if possible is best. For our leads, make sure to dry the leather end (if your lead has one) with a clean towel. If the leather starts to look too dry, use a leather conditioner on just the leather parts and wipe off excess with a clean towel.
If your Zande gear is really dirty (you and your pup had a really, really good time!) we recommend washing your gear off in the sink with warm water and a light bit of dish soap. Simply clean with your hands or use a soft dish cloth then rinse thoroughly and let dry.
Any high-quality leather cleaner or conditioner can be used on your collar. It is recommended to read the directions first and make sure it will not change the color of your leather (some conditioners darken the color). Here are the products we use and like best!
Skidmore's Leather Cream
-100% All Natural
-Contains beeswax to help repel water
-Heavier-weight for really dry leather
Oakwood Leather Conditioner
-100% All Natural
-Contains beeswax and lanolin to help repel water
-Lighter weight, great for maintenance