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Dog Collar vs. Dog Harness: Which Is the Better Choice?

Dog Collar vs. Dog Harness: Which Is the Better Choice?

One of the most common questions asked when it comes to dog care is, “which is better? A dog collar or a dog harness?” While it’s understandable to ask such a question, as many pet owners today believe that a dog harness is ultimately much friendlier to a dog than a collar, we believe that a truly responsible and caring dog owner would instead ask: “which is better for my dog?”

This is because it all depends on the dog in question. Depending on their size, breed, and obvious temperament, a dog can actually be better off wearing a personalized dog collar than a harness. The reverse is also very possible. So to ask if there is truly a definitive answer to which is ultimately a better choice – a collar or a harness – is useless, because it doesn’t consider the dog that’s actually going to wear it in the first place.

With that said, let’s talk about both options and figure out in what situations that they’re best applied to.

Dog Collar vs. Dog Harness

Collars

Before harnesses came along, the dog collar was the most common and traditional measure used in securing your dog for the purposes of walking, training, or leaving them unsupervised. It’s a very simple and very effective tool: a single strip of tough, durable, and hopefully hypoallergenic material with loops or buckles attached that not only allows it to secure around your dog’s neck, but also allow for the attachment of dog tags (for identification purposes) as well as a lead or leash (for walking or training).

Over the years many variations of the dog collar have also come around, designed for specific purposes. A martingale dog collar, for example, is designed primarily to train big and excitable dogs to stop yanking and pulling on their leash, as they cinch up tighter around the dog’s neck when there is obvious tension between the leash and the collar. A fur saver collar, on the other hand, is designed with big chain links so that the dog’s fur can easily slip through them, preventing fur wear and entanglements. This is ideal for dogs with naturally-long fur.

The pros of a collar are obvious. It’s simple, aesthetically pleasing, and can be put on or removed from your pet without the effort that harnesses usually require. It’s also very minimalist, and only mars the dog’s appearance very slightly, allowing their natural charm and look to be displayed in full.

When should collars be used?

Collars are ideal for dogs that are mellow, well-behaved during play, or have already been trained to refrain from pulling or yanking their owners about with their collars. Active and rambunctious dogs can and will hurt themselves on a collar, even if their owner is especially gentle with them. Obviously, dogs that are prone to developing or already have health issues with their breathing (such as tracheal problems) should be kept away from collars.

Harnesses

Using a harness for your dog is all the rage nowadays. This phenomenon is mostly due to the fact that people are now more aware and knowledgeable about the potential damage that collars can cause to a dog, especially if the dog is not the sort that should be wearing one.

Harnesses are a bit more complicated than collars, but not by much. They are essentially a vest or a vest of straps that dogs wear across the front of their bodies, with straps that secure around their front and rear legs. Depending on the type of harness, the attachment points for harnesses may be situated on a strap on the dog’s back, or on his front.

Either way, a harness ensures that any pulling motion the dog makes on the leash does not cause any one part of his body to take the tension, unlike a collar where all of that tension would be concentrated on his neck (which would then cause a lot of health issues). A harness spreads the tension out and gives the owner holding the leash a bit more control.

The harness does have a few cons. The first is that since it’s a full-body measure, it can definitely detract from your pet’s appearance. Second, there’s much more foreign material that your dog’s skin is being exposed to in a harness than with a collar, so this could result in a widespread allergic reaction. Finally, putting on or removing a harness from your dog can require a lot more effort than a dog collar, especially if your dog isn’t used to wearing one.

When should harnesses be used?

Harnesses are great early training tools, so if you’re a new owner with your very first puppy, then a harness is the way to go here. The fact that they secure around your puppy’s body rather than just at the neck not only allows you more control over their movements but also make any pulling or dragging movements they make gentler on themselves.

Dogs that are rambunctious and active during walks are also good harness candidates, especially if they lunge or pull excessively. Small toy dog breeds like Chihuahuas and poodles are also perfect for harnesses as they can be more easily injured by collars due to their delicate nature.

Conclusion: When it comes to using a dog collar or dog harness, don’t blindly follow public consensus and go for the more popular option. Instead, take your own dog into consideration first and see which one fits best for them.

Brandy Ellen is a born and raised NH resident who enjoys living life to the fullest. Raising 3 kids and a pug, Brandy spends her free time writing for her two blogs – ParentInfluence and Brandy EllenWrites. Brandy is also a ghostwriter for other blogs, click here to hire Brandy to write for you.

5 comments found

  1. I’ve always wondering what the pros and cons are when we are out hiking and I see some dogs have a harness while others have a collar. Great info.

  2. We use a collar with our dog, but I can see the benefits of a harness as well. I guess it does all depend on the dog, and how they are trained. Thanks for the info.

  3. I haven’t used dog harnesses with my pups and always used collars instead. I’m definitely thinking about trying out a harness though.

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