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what size? I know that small as possible is better, but how much "overhang" is too much? I have a friend who is willing to let me have her old article set, but they are 5 inches. That leaves about an inch on either size of his mouth. Of course, he's only 1 and might grow a touch more, who knows.

Anyway, is 1 inch too much?
 

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I don't think small as possible is the way to go with articles. Since this isn't a retrieve done at a run, the sizing is less critical. The articles are fine as long as they don't block vision, poke the dog's face, and the dog can pick it up without mashing their nose into the mat or ground. You'll eventually want multiple sets, so take the free set!
 

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Keep in mind if you have a 1 yr old his head will grow. For my girl I have 3 dif size article sets ( 1 I picked up used ,at a good price 1 was for my other girl and a lg set for my male) for teaching articles I just make sure the dog knows how to pick them up and not mouth. Also I'd found if the article is on the small side it can be more unconfortable for the dog to carry than one that's a little big. You'll find the leather will "give" . You can always teach a dog not to mouth something. It's more difficult to teach they to pick up and carry something that is a tight fit in their mouth.
 
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