Collar or Harness: Which Is Better For My Dog?
By: Shreya Tragad
To maintain a healthy life for our furry little best friends, daily exercise is one of the biggest factors. For the majority of the time, our dogs may be well-behaved on the leash while you take them out for a walk.
There may be times where they pull against the tension at some time, this may cause you to wonder what will be more comfortable and beneficial for them, a collar or a harness? This may be helpful for new puppy parents as well as they are preparing to invite their little one by having all the right essentials!
Well actually… there are both pros and cons to each of them depending on your dog! Let’s take a look and maybe it can help you decide what you may prefer for your dog.
One of the advantages of a dog collar is that dogs tend to find them more comfortable. They are also much easier and convenient to put on. Another benefit that comes with a collar is that they hold dog information as it is attached to their dog tag along with their id attached.
One of the biggest disadvantages of a dog collar is that it can increase the risk of neck injury. Collars are also not great for dogs that have respiratory issues, so this is something to take into consideration! A dog collar can also create eye pressure and can contribute to long-term eye and ear damage from the pressure on their neck. Another downside of collars is that repeated pulling can cause thyroid damage and spinal injuries in the long run.
Types of Collars
- Flat Collars
These are the typical around-the-neck collars that help display your dog tag in case they get lost.
These are meant for more well-behaved dogs that can be walked with a flat collar and leash, if your puppy is more aggressive, other collars may be more suitable.
- Martingale Collars
These collars have a small loop that tightens when your dog pulls on it. This action is advantageous as it prevents slipping off when your dog tries to pull away. The pressure encourages your dog to stop pulling as it is uncomfortable.
This is useful for dogs with narrow heads which prevents the head of the dog from slipping out of the collar such as greyhounds. This type of collar is not suitable for strong pullers as it can cause serious discomfort.
- Choke Chains
This type of dog collar has a similar concept to martingale collars, but slightly different. The difference is that there is no maximum tightening, and the narrow metal chain causes more discomfort and pain compared to martingale.
These are commonly used by trained professionals with larger stronger breeds, but it will be better to go with a martingale or pinch collar.
- Head Collars
This collar acts like a harness for the head of the dog and helps train dogs to walk on a leash. When the dog pulls on the leash, the halter will cause the head to turn which will cause an unnatural feel and will train your dog to not pull on the leash as much. This is a great option for dogs who are extreme pullers.
- Smart Collars
These are more high-tech compared to a regular dog collar as they include various features such as a GPS to track your dog’s location, the ability to monitor changes in their behaviour and also assistance in training your dog. They are usually compatible with smartphone apps and some help you to track your puppy’s activity and health.
There are many advantages of a dog harness, one of them is that it makes it much easier to control and manage your dog. Harnesses are good for training puppies who haven’t learned to walk on a leash yet as they prevent any tangles or hurt in the learning process. They offer better control which is great if you are walking in busy areas.
Harnesses are also good for larger dogs as it doesn’t affect their arms and back as much. The pressure is divided throughout the body which causes less strain on their neck and back; this is perfect for dogs who are escape artists. Dog harnesses allow owners to prevent their puppies from going to any unwanted areas.
One of the best advantages that come with a harness is that they reduce the risk of neck injuries for delicate toy breeds. They are also great for puppies who have difficulty breathing.
One of the disadvantages of a dog harness is that it isn’t comfortable for full-day use as their long hair can get caught in the harness. Many dogs hate wearing a harness, and it may take some time to train your dog to walk with a harness.
Types of Harnesses
- Back-clip Harnesses
This type of dog harness is the most basic and versatile type of harness with a metal D-loop sewn into the fabric at the back of the harness where the dog leash is attached. This harness is less likely to get tangled or tripped on, dogs cannot chew on the leash because they cannot reach it.
- Front-clip Harnesses
This harness is also known as an anti-pull harness, they help teach your dog not to pull on their leash. It is similar to a back-clip harness, but the loop is located in front of the dog’s chest.
Make sure you hold the leash high enough so that your dog does not get tangled up in it. This is great for dogs who are pullers because as they pull, they will feel pressure on the front which will automatically want them to slow down.
- Dual-clip Harnesses
With the dual-clip harness, you have the option of attaching the leash on either the front or back of your dog depending on their behaviour and habits. This allows you to change it up once in a while, which is great!
- Step-In Halters
These are convenient if you have a dog who dislikes having a harness over their head. You can simply lay your dog harness on the ground and your dog can easily step into the two loops formed by the straps. Once you pull up the straps, you just have to buckle them together around your dog’s back; this is great for small breeds as it is easy to put on.
How to Make the Right Choice
Whether you choose a collar or harness, it is entirely up to you as you know your puppy best. When it comes down to it, collars are usually meant for dogs who do not have a habit of pulling on your leash and are not as likely to get distracted during a walk.
If you end up choosing a dog collar for your little one, it will be necessary to decide which one. Marginal collars are great for dogs that tend to slip out of their collar such as greyhounds.
On the other hand, harnesses are recommended for dog owners who are training their puppies or have smaller breeds. There are also front-attaching harnesses for larger breeds that may be harder to control, and back-attaching harnesses are great for smaller dogs.
We hope this gives you an insight on what may be suitable for your specific kind of dog for a more enjoyable walk for both you and your dog!