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Dog Collar vs Harness – Everything You Need To Know

Dog collar or harness can be an ongoing confusion for many dog parents, as the modern day dogs have a lot of fashion alternatives as collars come in every possible color and materials, and the introduction of the harness has made it ever-so-easy for dogs to flaunt their wardrobe. However, before choosing one, there are some pros and cons to be considered in both collars and harnesses.. 

A perfectly well-behaved dog on the leash – one that is never pulling, jumping, dodging, or trying to wriggle out of its collar could comfortably wear a collar. But for most dog parents, using a dog harness instead of a dog collar makes it easier to control and manage the dog, particularly those without proper leash manners. There are many things apart from style to be considered before choosing the right gear for your dog. 

Table of Contents

  1. Collars
    1. Flat – Collar
    2. Head – Collar
    3. Martingale
    4. Prong or Pinch Collar
    5. Slip Collar
  2. Harness
    1. Body Harnesses
    2. Front – Clip Harnesses
  3. Collar Vs Harness

Collars 

Collars are commonly used by most pet owners when walking a dog. They come in various styles, intentionally designed to compress or cause discomfort when a dog pulls as a means of training. Generally, dog collars are not recommended as primary means of training  as other training options that use positive aid instead exist. All choke and prong collars fit into that category. The Traditional dog-handling way is to attach their pup’s leash to a neck collar for walks. While this is an effortless way to get out the door, this shortcut can easily injure your dog’s sensitive neck. 

A rough tug on the collar can instantly turn into an emergency by causing a tracheal collapse particularly on smaller breeds. Other breeds have stronger necks, which means slipping out of a collar is easier. Nonetheless, even if you have a tough working dog, continuous pulling on the neck can lead to thyroid damage or spinal injuries over time. So be careful!

A traditional collar is fine for dogs who don’t have respiratory problems, whose collar isn’t tight around the neck, and aren’t likely to pull on leashes. If you plan on leaving your dog on all the time, then the collar makes them feel comfortable. Some pet owners love taking their dogs out using a collar and leash, while some don’t. For those who prefer collars as the most comfortable way, here are the variety of choices you have:

Flat-Collar: This traditional type of collar sits flat against the neck

Blueberry Adjustable Flat Dog Collar
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Head-Collar: The head collar goes across the snout and behind the ears

Canny  Collar – Dog Head – Collar
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Martingale: Combination of flat buckle collar and slip collar 

Dazzber Martingale Collar
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Prong or Pinch Collar: Self-correcting collar that contracts when the dog lunges or, pulls

Wiotar Dog Prong Collar, Dog Choke Pinch Training Collar
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Slip-Collar: Slip collars tighten when the dog pulls on the leash

Slip Lead Dog Collar
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Harness

Harnesses are more popular as dog owners find the advantages they can offer. They are exceptional training tools for puppies learning to behave on leash, allowing walkers to have a bit more control over their dogs. 

Harnesses control pulling and allow you to stop your dog from jumping up on strangers without worrying about choking. Dogs on harnesses are also less prone to be tangled up in the leash unexpectedly. With a harness, you have a control option with no tension on your dog’s neck, and it helps to restrain your pet by having the pressure spread throughout the body. The disadvantage of using a harness instead of a collar is that it has extra support and may pull on the leash more easily. 

Based on the size of your dog, specific harnesses are better than others. 

Small Dog Harness

  • Smooth material
  • Lightweight material
  • Ease
  • Mesh material
  • Effortless to put on and take off

Medium Dog Harness

  • Soft fabric material
  • Perfectly Sized
  • Firm
  • Matches your dog’s walking habits

Big Dog Harness

  • Well-constructed
  • Firm Protection
  • Holds their weight
  • Formed to prevent shifting

Most dog owners don’t understand that not all pet harnesses are created equal. Knowing the two main types of harnesses will help you choose the right one for you and your pet.

  1. Body Harnesses

The body harnesses were first developed for working dogs who pull heavy loads. It is designed to distribute pressure from a leash throughout its body, making it more convenient for the dog to pull.

How are Body Harnesses Good for Dogs?

Small dogs, puppies, and cats whose fragile necks and spines could be easily hurt by a sudden sharp pull on a leash are prime pets for body harnesses. Body Harnesses are also great for older arthritic dogs who need support to stand up as a body harness won’t force too much pressure at a single spot. 

A body harness including a chest plate is also the prime choice for use as a car restraint, as it can uniformly distribute the force of impact from a crash. Body harnesses can also help level the playing field for owners of large dogs. In problematic situations, body harnesses can shift your contact point with the dog to its center mass, making it easier for you to manage them.

When to Avoid Body Harnesses?

The body harnesses may be uncomfortable for dogs with some skin conditions that make their coats more sensitive. If you have a dog that likes dragging you down the street on walks, a body harness may make the problem even worse. While the body harness gives you more control, it also makes it easier for your dog to pull you along. This is where a front-clip harness is preferred. 

Dog Body Harness
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  1. Front-Clip Harnesses

A front-clip harness is designed similarly to a body harness, but it may fit slightly differently as it has a leash clip on the dog’s chest plate and a leash attachment at the back of it. The horizontal straps on the front-clip harnesses often partially restrict the movement of the dog’s shoulders.

How are Front-Clip Harnesses Good for Dogs? 

The Front-clip harnesses are a great training tool if your large-sized dog’s excitement causes you to leash-walk more than the other way around. A front-clip harness holds a chest-centered leash anchor point to point your dog, which means that every time your dog pulls, its forward momentum shifts into rotational energy. In other terms, it makes them turn to the side, and it slows them down. They instantly learn that pulling results in turning a direction they didn’t desire to go.

When to Avoid Front-Clip Harnesses?

The Front-clip harness is intended to use as only a training tool but not as a long-term solution. If your dog knows not to pull and complies with a body harness, a front harness might hurt them. Because most front-clip harnesses fit around a dog’s shoulders rather than their neck, using one for an extended period can interfere with and permanently modify your dog’s natural walking gait. 

Remember that most dual-function harnesses (like Ruffwear Front Range Harness) are designed to allow more unrestricted shoulder movement. This may slightly lessen their training effectiveness but makes them more suitable for long-term use.

Front Clip Leash
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Collar VS Harness

Action/LocationCollarHarness
WalkingYesYes
JoggingYesYes
HikingYesYes
RidingYesYes
HomeNoNo
PublicYesDepends on training

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