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Collar vs Harness: Which One is Best for Your Dog?

Choosing a collar or a harness for your dog can be a bigger decision than it seems, at first. Collars and harnesses work differently and which is appropriate for your dog can depend on a number of factors including breed and behavior during walks. Let’s take a look.

Dog Collars

There are a number of dog collar options available, however, it’s important to avoid so-called training collars such as choke collars and prong collars. We don’t recommend the use of these collars as positive reinforcement is more effective as a training option and these types of collars can severely injure your dog. A collar might be a good choice for your dog in the following cases:

  • Your dog doesn’t pull during walks
  • Your dog doesn’t have any respiratory issues
  • Your dog has long hair that gets tangled in a harness
  • Your dog experiences chafing and irritation from a harness

The biggest concern with collars is that if your dog pulls or gets frightened and tries to run away, yanking against the collar can cause neck injury. Collar-related neck injuries can be serious and might require immediate medical care.

Dog Harnesses

There are a number of dog harness options available, including mesh, step-in, pull-over and wrap-around. The best type of harness for your dog depends on their body build and behavior. Harnesses distribute the weight across the dog’s chest so they deter pulling and can give the owner more control during walks. If your dog pulls during walks, a harness allows you to correct them while keeping them safe from neck injury. A harness might be a good choice for your dog in the following cases:

  • Your dog tends to pull during walks
  • You’re in the process of training your dog to walk on a leash
  • Your dog is a breed that commonly has respiratory issues, such as French Bulldogs and Pugs
  • Your dog can comfortably wear the harness at all times without chafing, skin irritation or causing tangling or matting of fur
  • Your dog tends to get tangled up in their leash when wearing a collar on walks
  • Your dog gets overly excited to meet new people and dogs when on walks/tends to jump on people and dogs

Harnesses can be a good choice for a number of reasons. Ultimately, some dogs do better with collars and some do better with harnesses. If you’re uncertain which is best for your dog, try both for a period of time each and see which works best for you and your dog.

No matter which option you choose, collar or harness, it’s important that your dog always wear identification tags at all times. Microchipping is also great but it cannot be read without taking the dog to a vet or shelter to have it read. Your information on your dog’s collar or harness helps someone contact you faster and easier if your dog happens to get loose.