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Dog Harness Or Collar, Which One Is Better For Your Dog?


We pay attention to everything for our dogs, from the best dog house to pet cameras to dog food, but we often ignore what we are using to walk them, and this article will focus on this problem. If you’ve been around dogs for a long time, you know the struggle of stopping your furry friend from strangling themselves into leash sometimes. They pull against the tension that chokes them on their collar. For this, you might have think of getting them a harness, and here the real question arises – Which one is best, Collar or Harness?

It could be tricky to decide whether your dog should wear a leash or harness for outdoors. Well, a lot of this depends on the dog himself, from age to his breed and activity level. You may have seen many dogs wearing harnesses on the street, but does it mean you should abandon traditional collar altogether? Before choosing any one option, make sure you familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of both collars and harnesses.

Using A Collar

Collars are a widespread solution for walking a dog. They come in various colors and styles. Some are intentionally made to cause discomfort to the dog when the dog pulls as a means of training. We not at all promote this because various training techniques have positive reinforcement instead. If your dog isn’t prone to pull on a leash, or doesn’t have any respiratory problem, then collar could be a perfect option.

Dog Harness

If you plan on leaving on the collar for the whole day, it could be more comfortable. Collars are perfect for dogs who dislike the feeling of harness and crave for comfort. They provide the ease of taking it on and off. It’s an effective way of putting IDs and tags.

Pros :

  • Collars come in a variety of colors and styles, and some serve specific needs.
  • Some specific collars detach under pressure preventing the risk of suffocation in an accident.
  • Most of the dogs don’t even notice if they are wearing a simple flat buckle collar.

Cons :

  • Some dogs become experts at ducking out of their collar, especially small-headed dogs.
  • Collars might not fit properly to super tiny dogs.
  • Collars are a big problem for dogs with respiratory problems.

Using A Harness

Harnesses are becoming more popular as the owners love the benefits they offer. You can use a harness as an excellent training tool for puppies to make them learn how to behave on a leash. Harnesses discourage pulling, and you can quickly stop your dog from jumping over strangers. Also, dogs won’t get tangled in the leash while wearing a harness. For delicate breeds, harness reduces the chances of a neck injury. Breeds like Pugs and French Bulldogs are more prone to the respiratory problem; hence harness is the perfect option for them.

Harnesses are either back attaching or front attaching. Back attaching harnesses are perfect for small breed dogs as they are more sensitive to pressure and can get hurt if pressure is applied in the front. For larger dogs, front attaching harness is more apt as they lead from the front. In our opinion, the harness is the most comfortable and secure way to hook your dog to the leash.

Can a dog wear a collar and a harness

One more reason to go for the harness is that neck pressure caused by collar causes significant stress in the eyes of the dogs. This type of pressure can cause glaucoma and eye injuries. If too much pressure is exerted on the neck, breeds like Pug are at high risks of eyeballs protruding from the sockets. For this reason, collars should be eliminated for specific breeds.

Pros :

  • It’s an efficient training tool for puppies.
  • It provides better control over your dog.
  • It’s an excellent option for short-headed or sensitive dogs.
  • Really beneficial for dogs with respiratory problems as a collar can provoke coughing.

Cons :

  • A harness may cause little discomfort to dogs if not fitted properly.
  • Harnesses should be removed when the dog is inside or playing with other dogs as it can chafe around the shoulders.

Based on the points as mentioned earlier, we have our clear winner – Harness. It’s a big yes for harnesses as they are generally safe for every breed.

We Have A Few Other Reasons To Explain Our Choice

Can a dog wear a collar and a harness

  1. A dog has a sensitive neck –

    The neck is a really sensitive part for a dog as it is full of passing nerves and arteries. This area also has an esophagus and trachea. You can imagine the consequences if any damage occurs to the neck.

  2. Back Problems –

    Using a collar to walk a dog may lead to the development of back problems in them. Collars can cause the dogs to walk with forced posture, and this can cause muscle strain and back injuries.

  3. Correction pulls may prove to be dangerous –

    When a dog pulls at the lead, and the owner pulls back in the opposite direction to correct the dog, this puts pressure on the dog’s neck area and the sensitive nerves there. Repeated stress can cause long term medical issues like thyroid disorders, tissue damage, damage in the salivary gland, etc.

  4. Painful Joints –

    Pulling the leash attached to the dog’s collar may cause the dog to walk in an improper posture, which is the biggest reason for joint pain in dogs.

  5. Inadequate Oxygen –

    Excessive pressure caused by collars while walking can put your dog at the risk of strangulation. This restricts the oxygen supply to the brain.

  6. Issues related to Eyes –

    The common issue in dogs is glaucoma, where there is not sufficient drainage of fluid in the eyes. If not treated, this may turn into blindness. Excessive strain on the neck due to a collar increases the pressure in the dog’s eye.

  7. Behavioral problems –

    Not every time a dog gets injured due to a collar, but sometimes an ill-fitted collar could be irritating for the dog. This irritation may cause the dog to behave aggressively.

Now that you are known to the benefits of harnesses let’s have a look at some of the best harness styles you can choose from.

  • Back Clip Harness –

    As you can clearly guess from the name, a back clip harness has a D ring attached to the dog’s back. This specification is the most common as it is easy to use and comfortable for most dogs. The back attachment keeps the leash far away from the trachea; hence they are very useful for dogs with a sensitive throat. It doesn’t prevent pulling or lunging and gives you less control.

    Back Clip Dog Harness

  • Front Clip Harness –

    These are less common but are beneficial for dogs that pull. The position of the leash prevents the dog from pulling in against the direction. This front-clipped harness is preferred by trainers or owners with large dogs. The drawback is that the leash can get tangled around the dog’s legs, and ill-fitted harness can put unnecessary pressure on your dog’s gait.

  • Dual Clip Harness –

    A dual clip harness provides the benefits of both front clip and back clip harness. You can use the rear attachment to while walking the dog, and the front clip comes in handy when the dog begins to pull or lunge. However, there are some drawbacks to this type of harness; most of these have a web design that can chafe around the dog’s shoulder.

Wrapping Up

Choosing between a collar and a harness typically depends on your dog’s breed, medical condition, and behavior. It’s advisable to take off the collar or harness while your dog is at home to give them comfort and relaxation. Say a big NO to dangerous harness and collars such as shock/electric collar, also known as e-collars, choke chains, etc. Never use these harmful tools for your dogs in any condition. They can lead to severe damage and behavioral issues. We hope this article was helpful enough to make up your mind, and now you can select the best for your little furry family member.