Harness or collar: which one should I pick for my dog?

Is a harness or collar a better choice for dogs?
There are a variety of harnesses and collars on the market – which one is right for your dog? ©Hannah Lim. Unsplash

The debate over whether a harness or collar is best for dogs will probably never truly be settled. Pet store shelves are full to the brim with a variety of training and walking tools, and it can become quite a task to figure out which is the best choice for your dog.

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Sure – printed, sparkly, decorated collars that come in every colour under the sun can be tempting. But when it comes to choosing whether a harness or collar is best for your dog, it should be about more than just style. Some dogs may benefit more with a harness than a collar, and vice versa.

So to help you out, we’ve gathered together the benefits and need-to-know facts about each to help you decide whether a harness or collar is right for your pooch!

Using a collar on your dog

Is a collar better than a harness for dogs?
Is a collar the right choice for your pooch? ©Tanner Vines on Unsplash

When it comes to collars, your choices are endless. There’s a multitude of sizes, materials, collars and style available. Each has their uses, though some are controversial and we’d advise you to completely avoid them – such as the choke and pronged kind.

The main benefit of using a collar on our dog has to be convenience. It’s super easy to leave a collar on your pooch and quickly attach the lead whenever you need to. Plus, you can buy a collar with your dog’s ID tag on or even attach one yourself – which includes their medical and vaccination information – for added peace of mind.

However, if you have a dog who can sometimes be hard to control, has a habit of pulling on the leash, or is generally badly behaved, a collar probably isn’t the best choice.

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If a dog constantly strains their neck by pulling on the leash on a walk, an injury could occur. And if they spot something and make a dash for it, the pressure upon the neck can be immense! On top of this, collars aren’t appropriate for all breeds of dog. If you have a small dog with a slim neck, they could end up slipping out easily and often.

If you’re enticed by the convenience, selection and ease of a collar, we’d recommend giving it a try but keeping a close eye on your dog’s reaction. If you find that they pull excessively, become aggressive or fearful when greeted with a collar, or slip out every 5 minutes, a harness might be a better option for your pup.

Using a harness on your dog

Is a harness a better choice for a dog than a collar?
Is a harness the right choice for your dog? ©Shane Rounce on Unsplash

Just like collars, choosing a harness for your dog has its pros and cons – and whether it’s right for you depends largely on your dog’s character and behaviour.

If you’re having a difficult time taking your dog for a walk – they pull and become easily distracted – a harness is a great option. Because they wrap around a dog’s body rather than the neck, they’re great at preventing injuries as well as allowing greater control.

Can your dog get a little feisty? Big, strong dogs or those who struggle with aggression can be particularly difficult to manage on walks. A harness is a great option for you – if your pooch runs after another dog, you’ll have a good amount of control, despite their strength.

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In small or thin breeds with fragile bones, a collar could cause severe injuries. A harness, however, evenly distributes the pressure over the dog’s body rather than fixing it on the neck.

The downsides? Well, some dogs hate harnesses, so you might have a grumpy pup on your hands! A harness is unlikely to harm your dog in any way, but they might not like the restriction and find it uncomfortable – yep, they’re just being fussy.

Read also: These Three Foster Dogs Have One Goal: to Walk Again

I'm a Digital Media & Marketing graduate who lives in the beautiful area of North Wales. Since graduating, I've been working freelance as a copywriter and digital marketer. At the weekend, you'll find me taking and editing photographs, updating my blog (alicelang.net) or looking after my mischevious rescue cat, Mabel. I've loved animals for as long as I can remember. I've had pretty much every pet under the sun - cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, fish, stick insects - and have spent time volunteering at animal shelters in Asia.