Collar vs Harness
Which one is best for your dog?
Whether you’re a seasoned dog owner or a new puppy pawrent, you’ve probably come across a pup who pulls pretty hard on their lead – sometimes choking themselves on their collar in the process.
Now you may assume that a harness is the perfect solution to the problem, and you may be onto something, but it is important to consider the pros and cons of both collars and harnesses before deciding which is best for your dog.
Traditional and reliable, the collar is the most commonly used solution when walking a dog and you can get them in a huge array of styles and designs.
Collars can be a more comfortable choice for some dogs, particularly if you plan to leave it on them throughout the day – a harness can be troublesome to wear all day, especially for dogs with longer hair as they can be more prone to matting and tangling.
A common dog collar that does not constrict is absolutely fine for most dogs, but can become challenging for dogs who suffer from respiratory issues and don't pull whilst on their lead.
If your dog pulls hard during a walk, using a collar can increase the risk of neck injury and you may wish to look at a harness as a better solution.
Slip collars are designed for escape artists who are prone to getting out of a buckled collar. They close around the dog’s neck when they pull or back up without choking them and they prevent them from getting loose. Slip collars are effective for dog breeds such as Greyhounds, Bulldogs or other breeds that have slim heads or thick necks.
In recent years, more and more dog parents have seen the advantages of using dog harnesses. They are brilliant as a training tool for puppies who are learning to behave on their lead and they allow you to have a bit more control and peace of mind.
A harness can discourage your young dog from jumping up on strangers as you can stop them from doing it without worrying about choking them. The dog is also less likely to get tangled up in their lead accidentally when on a harness.
A big advantage of using a harness is for smaller toy breeds such as Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers, as they reduce the risk of neck injury. They also cause less restriction on the airways for breeds such as Pugs and French Bulldogs who are particularly prone to repiratory problems such as tracheal collapse.
If you have a pooch that has trouble breathing or a breed that is prone to respiratory problems, then a harness is likely to be a better choice for you.
Types of harness
There are lots of different types of harness on the market but they can be broadly grouped into two categories.
Front-attaching harnesses are best for larger breeds as they lead from the front and it is important for the dog to feel the pressure and guidance coming from the walker as necessary.
Back-attaching harnesses don’t allow for the walker to have as much control and may lead to worse pulling behaviour in larger dogs as their strength doesn’t allow them to feel the guidance from their walker in training. These harnesses are better for smaller breeds as they are more sensitive to pressure and tend not to have as much strength against their walker.
Some final considerations...
The most important thing to remember, regardless of whether you choose to use a collar, a harness or both together – you MUST ensure that your dog is always wearing an identification tag.
In the UK, the legislation states that any dog in a public place must have the name and address of their owner inscribed on a collar, tag or other identification material. Any owner allowing their dog to be in a public place without this information is in breach of the law under the Animal Health Act of 1981.
Something could frighten or distract your dog and cause them to run off from you, they may manage to get out of the house or garden without you noticing – unfortunately, accidents happen. Microchips are important but having an ID tag can quickly help to get your dog home to you if the worst does happen.
Training your dog to behave well on the lead is also a must. Pulling and jumping is not ideal with either a collar or a harness and simply using both will not stop your dog from doing this.
If you’ve tried everything and your dog still doesn’t get on with a collar or a harness, there are other options available such as head halters, which wrap around your dogs muzzle and head. They offer a bit more control for a dog who is easily distracted but unlike a soft muzzle, they are not meant to stop barking or biting by restricting mouth movement.
We hope this guide has helped if you are stuck as to whether a collar or a harness is best for you and your dog.
Penny Lou is launching 6 new harness designs into the store on
Friday 8th October
– follow us on social media to see which ones are coming out first!
What do you use for your pooch? Harness? Collar? Both? Let us know in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy our NEW PUPPY CHECKLIST