You may be thinking about getting a puppy and wondering about the choice between a collar or harness. Someone may have suggested your pulling dog may walk better on a harness. Perhaps you’ve seen other walkers dogs in harnesses and wondered if you should get one for your dog. Whatever has pricked your interest to compare or question “collar or harness”, here we look at important aspects to help you decide the answer.
What do they do?
Essentially, a collar or harness has the same purpose when used with a lead. Ultimately, either gives the dog owner the ability to control and guide their dog, keeping them away from hazards.Depending on the nature, personality and temperament of both dog and owner, varying levels of force will be exerted through the lead, harness and collar.
There are a variety of different styles of collar. We don’t encourage the use of collars designed to constrict or cause discomfort when a dog pulls as a means of training. Training that involves positive reinforcement is our recommendation. Some breeds like Pugs and French Bulldogs are prone to respiratory problems and tracheal collapse so using a lead on their collar might not be the best idea, especially if they pull. Dogs who are hard pullers can risk injuring their necks if the lead is attached to their collar. Slip or martingale collars are designed to stop dogs slipping out of a traditional collar and are ideal for whippets, greyhounds and some bulldogs. Ultimately, a lead used with traditional collars is ideal for everyday use for non pulling dogs. And legally, all (99% of) dogs must wear a collar and name tag.
Harnesses are becoming more and more popular. They are excellent training tools when used correctly and can give the dog owner more control. They should discourage pulling and should also cause less lead tangling. The biggest advantage of the harness is the reduced pressure on the neck and therefore injury. A harness disperses the pressure exerted by pulling over a larger area of his body, reducing the amount of strain on his neck and back. Additionally, if the harness has a padded chest plate, this will prevent stress and pressure on the dog’s sternum and trachea.
Some harnesses only have one attachment point at the back. This will work perfectly well with a standard lead. However, your dog will still be able to take you for a walk! Harnesses that have an attachment point at the back and on the chest can be used with a double ended training lead. This combination offers the best training option and the best control option for walking your dog. Read our blog on this here.
So which one? Collar or Harness?
Ideally, nothing beats having your dog off the lead running free and him returning to you on command. But sometimes loose lead walking is the next best thing. If you have a puppy we recommend using a harness with multi purpose training lead in the early years. He will still wear a collar also. As he grows and begins walking well, you may start to walk him using the lead clipped to his collar. Once he has matured and mastered good walking etiquette, he may progress to walking on a lead clipped to his collar. Each dog is unique in their own environment. Ultimately, you will know what’s best for your dog as he grows – always using a harness for walking or adapting to using a collar and lead for walking …… but the answer to the question “Collar or Harness?” …is both!