There’s no doubt you love your dog and want what’s best for your pooch. So, when taking walks, is a dog collar or dog harness better? That’s what we are going to help you figure out right now!
Walking Your Dog with a Collar
Clipping a leash to a collar is the traditional dog-walking method, but is it the best? That depends on how your dog behaves while walking.
A traditional collar doesn’t pose any problems for dogs who walk properly on a leash, but it probably isn’t the best choice if your canine is prone to pulling or trying to escape.
Pulling against the leash could cause a neck injury, thyroid issues, or eye health problems. Furthermore, your pup might be able to slip out of a collar.
However, if your dog is a perfect angel on the leash you might be able to get away with using a collar. Just be sure to choose the right one.
There are various types of collars, some better than others. Listed below are a few examples:
- Flat Collars - You are probably most familiar with these traditional collars.
- Head Collars - If you’ve seen a halter being slipped over a horse’s head, you should have a good idea of what this type of collar looks like. It’s imperative that you use it properly. Otherwise, it can abruptly pull on your dog’s head.
- Slip Collars - These are often used by the staff at animal shelters and vet clinics. They aren’t ideal for long term use.
- Prong Collars - These are designed to tighten whenever your dog pulls against the leash. Theoretically, this feeling of discomfort will cause your dog to stop pulling.
Prong collars are controversial and require expertise. It probably isn't the right choice for the average dog owner.
Walking Your Dog with a Harness
If a collar just won’t work, try a walking harness for dogs. The benefits of using a harness are listed below.
Great for Training Puppies
If you’ve got a puppy, consider using a harness to train your little one how to walk. According to the AKC, a harness will prevent your fur baby from getting in a tangled mess with the leash, which will ultimately prevent an injury from occurring (Reisen, 2017).
Dog Walking Harness Gives You More Control
Imagine walking your dog through a crowd of people, or strolling with your pooch on a street that’s bustling with activity. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing you are in control of your dog?
A walking harness for dogs gives you that control. Not only will this keep everyone (including your dog) safe, but it will also give you peace of mind.
Walking Your Dog with a Harness is Better for Health
A collar places pressure on a small area of your dog, but a harness spreads that pressure out over a wider area. This is much better for your dog’s long-term health.
You should also keep in mind that some breeds are more fragile than others. If you have a toy dog, your itty-bitty friend would benefit from a harness because it helps to prevent neck injuries.
Other dog breeds that would also benefit from a harness are those that are susceptible to respiratory issues, such as pugs or bulldogs. This is because a harness isn’t as likely to cause a coughing fit as a collar is.
And this might come as a surprise, but a harness is also better for your dog’s eye health. Harmony Animal Hospital claims that the pressure from a collar can cause protruding eyeballs (The Pros and Cons of Using a Dog Harness, 2014), but a harness doesn’t place this pressure on your dog’s neck.
A Dog Harness Doesn’t Allow Unexpected Escapes
Do you have a mischievous canine who is always trying to escape? Use a harness! It will prevent a successful getaway.
Offers Support to Dogs Who Need a Little Extra Help
Your four-legged friend might need some help getting up after laying down for a while. Or maybe your dog has trouble getting to the end of a steep climb. That’s okay. A harness can be used to assist your pet.
Pulling on the harness won’t cause your dog any pain or discomfort. Instead, it will be the extra support your dog needs. You can just pull on the leash or use a dog harness with a handle that you can grab.
Making the Switch to a Dog Harness
Although a harness offers many benefits, some dogs just don’t like the way they feel. Ideally, you would prevent this from being an issue by using a harness from the time your furry friend is a puppy.
In that case, your dog wouldn’t know anything different and would most likely be fine with a harness. However, if you’ve been walking your dog with a collar for a while now, you might need to be patient while your canine adjusts to the harness.
It’s also vitally important to get the right size. Otherwise, your dog won’t be comfortable and it won’t offer the same benefits that a properly fitted harness would.
And please remember, a harness doesn’t eliminate the need for a collar. Whole Dog Journal reminds us that collars still serve the valuable purpose of carrying your dog’s ID tags (Gigler, 2019).
Even if your dog is microchipped, it’s still smart to put a collar on your pet. This could bring your dog home much quicker because the person who found your beloved pet wouldn’t have to take your dog to the shelter. Instead, that person could just call and return your dog to you.
Once you have decided to use a walking harness for your dog, check out the two listed below.
Made of nylon and flannel, this super comfy harness is perfect for a wide range of dogs and it comes with a 47 in. long leash.
If you hesitate to use a harness because it’s such a challenge to put on, here is the solution. Say goodbye to frustration as you easily slip this no choke dog harness on your pup.
Some additional benefits include:
- Nylon handle, which can be grasped when you need extra control in dicey situations.
- Reflective front strap, making it safer to take a night walk with your dog.
- Customizable, which allows you to put your dog’s name and your number on the harness.
In many cases, using a dog harness is better than using a collar. If you keep your dog’s needs in mind when trying to choose between the two options, it should become clear what is best for your precious pet.
Clark, M. (n.d.). Collar Vs. Harness: Which Is Best For Your Dog? From Dogtime.com: https://dogtime.com/dog-health/general/43739-collar-vs-harness-best-dog
Gigler, J. (2019, July 31). Dog Collars or Harnesses: Which is Better? From Whole Dog Journal: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/training/dog-collars-or-harnesses-which-is-better/
Phillips, H. (2018). Is a Dog Harness Better Than a Collar? From Bark Post: https://barkpost.com/answers/harness-vs-collar/
Reisen, J. (2017, March 03). Is a Dog Harness Better Than a Dog Collar? From American Kennel Club: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/best-dog-harnesses/
The Pros and Cons of Using a Dog Harness. (2014, August 02). From Harmony Peet Hospital : https://www.harmonyanimalhospital.net/pros-cons-using-dog-harness/
Kristina Tyler is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in pet care topics. With her life-long love of animals and passion for learning, she thoroughly enjoys researching and writing about how to care for pets. In her spare time, she teaches Sunday School classes, creates hand drawn pictures of animals, and devours the latest books by her favorite authors. She lives in California with her adorable kitty named Chloe and attends classes at the local community college.