Is a Dog Harness Better Than a Collar?

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

December 7, 2018

To collar or not to collar? It can be tricky to decide whether or not your dog should wear a collar or a harness for walks. A lot of it depends on your dog himself, from the breed to his age and activity level.

It’s always smart to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of all your options. Keep reading for a breakdown of exactly what’s good — and not so good — about both harnesses and collars.

boston terrier wearing a harness at the vet

Harness Pros

  • It’s an effective training tool, especially for puppies.
  • Harnesses are great for specific breeds. According to Harmony Animal Hospital, “A harness is also a good option for dogs like Pugs, who risk their eyeballs protruding from the sockets if too much pressure is put around their neck.”
  • They provide better control over your dog because it discourages pulling and jumping.
  • They keep distracted pups focused.
  • They’re great for dogs with short noses, like Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and Pekingnese.
  • Dogs with respiratory problems and neck injuries benefit from harnesses because pulling on a collar can provoke coughing.

bulldog on a walk wearing a harness

Harness Cons

  • Your dog might just not like the feeling of a harness.
  • Back-clip harnesses might not be 100% effective. They have a tendency to train your dog to ignore you because when you pull on the leash, your dog’s attention is directed away from you rather than toward you.

Harnesses to Try

  • RABBITGOO No-Pull Pet Harness: This harness will be comfortable for your dog to wear and comes in a variety of sizes to fit every pup. You can clip your leash to the front, so you won’t have to worry about your dog’s attention being in the wrong place. ($18.99-$21.99)
  • PetSafe 3in1 Harness: This harness has a little less to it, which could be more comfortable, especially for smaller dogs. It still has a spot in the front to clip your leash to and can be adjusted to fit a variety of dogs. ($26.95)

dalmatian outside wearing a collar

Collar Pros

  • They’re good for pups who dislike the feeling of a harness and crave comfort.
  • They provide visibility and function. It’s easy to put your dog’s tags on them and are easy to take on and off.

dog running in the grass

Collar Cons

  • They’re not ideal for training.
  • Any slight pulling could increase the likelihood of a neck injury.
  • They create eye pressure, which can worsen any existing eye problems like glaucoma.
  • Positively also outlines more severe problems such as thyroid issues (the collar could damage the gland), behavior problems due to pain and injury, and ear and eye issues from neck pressure.

Collars to Try

There are benefits to using both collars and harnesses. Pups should always wear a collar for visibility and identification purposes, but it depends on you and your dog’s lifestyle on whether a harness or a collar is right for going on walks.

For more, check out these articles!

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

December 7, 2018

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