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The debate over the Dog Harness vs. Collar has been a hot topic for many years between dog owners, trainers, and vets.
Whether you’re using the collar and harness for daily walks or to train your new puppy, you can only choose one based on your dog’s behavior, obedience level, size, and many other significant factors discussed in the article below.
Based on my personal experience with different types of dogs in a dog shelter where I worked, the preference for such types of equipment shifted from dog to dog.
In my analysis below, I have shared the best comparative view on the Dog harness vs. Collar debate to help you know which suits your dog best.
So, let’s take a look at the details below!
Dog Harness vs. Collar: Differences
With the help of the following differentiation between dog harnesses and collars, it will be easier for you to choose the one that suits your dog’s requirements the best.
|Dog Harness||Dog Collar|
|A harness surrounds a dog’s torso (including chest, upper back, and shoulders)||A collar is wrapped around a dog’s neck.|
|A harness is fixed with straps with clasps.||A collar that fastens around the neck with a buckle or clip.|
|Dog harnesses are a bit more expensive than dog collars due to the amount of material used for them.||Dog collars are cheaper than dog harnesses.|
|Despite being more secure than a collar, the harness doesn’t allow you to attach ID tags.||You can attach ID tags to dog collars, but it’s easier for small dogs to slip out of them.|
|Dogs with issues related to the neck can use harnesses instead of dog collars to avoid injuries.||Dogs with calm temperaments can be easily handled with a dog collar.|
Dog Harness: A Quick Overview
A dog harness is an equipment with straps covering a dog’s torso for holding, controlling, and directing the dog to use a dog’s pulling power.
A harness helps remove tension from a dog’s neck. Harnesses also allow dogs to breathe freely when pulled from the back.
Dog trainers and owners usually use harnesses for sports or duty dogs to control the dogs in a better way, especially for sports like Mushing and Skijoring.
Long story short, instead of wrapping up around the neck, harnesses are worn around the dog’s torso with the help of straps behind the dog’s front legs.
Dog Collar: A Quick Overview
A dog collar is a piece of equipment that is wrapped around a dog’s neck. A dog collar is used for many reasons, such as restraining, fashion, protection, training, attaching dog ID tags, and so on.
Nowadays, smart collars are used for training and safety purposes, like GPS dog collars, shock collars, training collars, vibrating collars, etc.
However, the fear of small dogs slipping out of a collar always hangs around with a dog collar.
Pros And Cons: Dog Harness
Here is a brief comparison of dog harnesses’ good and lacking factors in the following table of pros and cons:
- Tough to escape from.
- Harnesses have fewer physical risks.
- It consists of qualities to prevent pulling.
- Harnesses remove pressure from your dog’s neck.
- They are more secure than collars.
- Getting a perfect fit is tough.
- Back-clip harnesses might encourage your dog to pull
- No space to attach ID tags.
Pros And Cons: Dog Collars
Here is a brief comparison of dog collars’ good and lacking factors in the following table of pros and cons:
- Easy to put on and more convenient.
- Available in wide varieties.
- Requires less strength to handle dog owners/handlers.
- Allows you to attach ID tags.
- Dogs are more likely to escape out of collars.
- Dogs having trachea and neck problems may face worsened conditions.
- Strong pulling might choke your dog with a collar on.
Dog Harness vs. Collar: When can they be used?
Both types are suitable for different situations. Hence, the table below will help you understand when you should be using a harness over a collar and when you should use a collar instead of a harness. There you go-
- Suppose your dog is suffering from brachycephaly.
- Suppose your dog has faced tracheal conditions in the past.
- Suppose you have a dog with spinal issues.
- If you have a large dog.
- Suppose you have a stubborn dog.
- Suppose you go on short walks.
- Suppose you have an obedient and less stubborn dog.
- Suppose you want a collar that can be put on and off easily.
- Suppose you have an easily manageable dog.
- Suppose your dog is comfortable with a collar around their neck.
What is better to train your puppy -Dog Harness or Collar?
Generally, using a harness to train your puppy to walk on a leash at first and a collar afterward is preferable.
This is because puppies often pull with force when they are initially figuring out how to walk with a leash. When your dog pulls, a collar might rub and press on its throat, possibly causing damage.
So, to reduce pulling, begin using a harness with clips on to the back. You can try collars once they’ve completed positive reinforcement training and learned not to pull while walking.
Do some breeds adapt better to collars or harnesses?
Certain breeds of dogs are a little more delicate than others, so a harness might be a better option for them. For example, the likelihood of a harness damaging a small toy breed’s throat is lower.
Any dog who has experienced neck or throat problems in past years needs a harness. A harness is required for dogs with flatter snouts or brachycephalic breeds.
Breeds more likely to have spine problems should wear a harness. Dachshunds, for instance, need a harness rather than a collar because of their delicate backs.
Any dog who has glaucoma or additional eye conditions should wear a harness since straining a collar might worsen the discomfort in the area around the dog’s eyes.
Types of Dog Harnesses
Four common dog harness types are mostly used worldwide for all dog breeds. Let’s see which are they and how they are used.
1. Back-Clip Harness
A back-clip body harness is controlled with a clip attachment at the back and is popular for small dogs. It prevents throat damage to your dog and doesn’t let the leash get tangled in your dog’s legs.
If you want a back-clip harness with a long leash to allow your dog to roam around, you should opt for a back-clip harness rather than a collar. However, using a black clip body harness requires more strength from the dog handler as per your dog’s size.
2. Front-clip Harness:
The leash attaches to a ring on the harness near your dog’s chest. This harness is used for walking and gives you an advantage in stopping the pulling while walking as it is attached to the front of the harness.
3. No-pull Harness:
This harness is for you if your dog is stubborn and keeps pulling the leash. Whenever your dog starts pulling, the pressure gets applied to your dog’s chest instead of the neck, preventing it from pulling the leash.
4. Head Halter
A horse head halter inspires the head halter harness design. This harness helps you control your dog’s head movements like a halter, which helps with a horse. This harness is best suited for large dogs who pull with enormous strength.
Types of Dog Collars
Three types of dog collars are the most commonly used worldwide in different price ranges and designs.
1. Flat Collar
The flat collars are also known as flat-buckle collars, which most dog parents highly use. This collar is the most basic dog collar available in the market. This collar is an excellent option for attaching ID and rabies vaccine tags while keeping a good look at your dog.
2. Martingale Collar:
The martingale collar ensures your dog doesn’t slip out of the collar. It tightens even more around the dog’s neck when the collar feels tension on it, but not more than the adjustment allows the collar to.
Moreover, these collars don’t damage your dog’s throat like other choke chain collars. They are better suited for dogs who tend to slip out of their collar more often.
3. Rolled Collar:
The rolled collars are made of rolled-up leather and are stitched with a machine. They are not suitable for stubborn dogs who pull while walking. However, they are a great choice for dogs facing issues with sensitive skin, rolls, and wrinkles.
Tips To Follow When Buying A Dog Harness
The following tips must be followed to fit the harness around your dog’s body perfectly. Let’s check out the tips:
- Ensure you’re buying the right size of harness for your dog.
- Measure your dog’s middle body part from chest to back to ensure the harness size.
- Buy an adjustable harness that can be adjusted whenever your dog loses or gains weight.
Tips To Follow When Buying A Dog Collar
The following tips must be followed to fit the collar around your dog’s neck perfectly without choking them. Let’s check out the tips:
- Ensure you’re buying the right size of collar to fit your dog.
- Try slipping one finger between your dog’s skin and the collar to see if it fits a small dog.
- Try slipping two fingers between your dog’s skin and the collar to see if it fits a large dog.
Dog Harness Recommendations (Our Best Picks)
If you wish to use a dog harness for your dog, a wide range of products are available in different colors, materials, and prices in this category.
So, to make your job easier, I’ve shared a few recommendations I’ve tried and tested over the last few months on my dogs. Check them out here:
- Best in all: Petsafe three-in-one harness – Check on Amazon
- Best No-pull Harness: Blue-9 Buckle-Neck Harness- Check on Amazon
- Best for small-sized dogs: Puppia Rite Fit Harness – Check on Amazon
- Best for large-sized dogs: Kurgo Tru-fit Harness – Check on Amazon
Dog Collar Recommendations: Top Picks
If you want to buy a dog collar for your dog, a variety of products are available in different colors, materials, and prices in this category.
I’ve shared a few recommendations I’ve tried and tested on my dogs over the last few years. Check them out here:
- Best in all: Wolfgang Premium Adjustable Dog Collar – Check on Amazon
- Best Budget Collar: Petank Dog Collar – Check on Amazon
- Best Martingale Dog Collar: If It Barks Martingale Dog Collar – Check on Amazon
- Best Head Halter Collar: Zevey Dig Head Halter Dog Collar – Check on Amazon
Final Verdict: Which is better? Harness or Collar?
There is no winner or loser in this dog harness vs. collar debate. Both types serve different purposes. As discussed above, both have their fair share of benefits and drawbacks.
For example, a dog harness helps you have more control over your dog, while dog collars are easier to put around your dog’s neck.
Additionally, dog collars are convenient but may allow your dog to slip out of them, whereas a dog harness might not fit your dog perfectly but prevents your dog from pulling.
Therefore, match your dog’s condition requirements based on the abovementioned comparative information and choose wisely from a dog harness and collar.
A collar is a band that goes around the dog’s neck, whereas a dog harness is a piece of gear that wraps around the dog’s body. The main difference is in how they apply pressure and handle your dog.
A harness is typically considered safer since it spreads pressure across the dog’s back and chest, lowering the chance of neck injury. The neck and throat of a dog may get more stressed due to collars.
There are harnesses made for dogs of all shapes and sizes. For a suitable fit and comfort, selecting the correct type and size of harness for your particular dog is essential.
Some pet owners do switch between using a harness and a collar. In case the harness breaks, the collar could keep ID tags and act as a backup.