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Dog Harness VS Collar: The Pros and Cons

By JennaDrady. | Dog Info

With the warm weather upon us, we are finally starting to see everyone out walking their dogs, soaking up that long-awaited sunshine. Dogs on collars, dogs with harnesses, dogs everywhere!
I have always walked my dogs on a harness when it is time for walks. I have noticed when I take them outside in the yard to have a pee using only their collar and a leash, they tend to pull a lot more. Especially my youngest one. She will go that extra mile by pulling hard enough to make herself gag. That can cause long-term damage of course, so I have to put her full harness on just to go have a pee now.
This got me thinking, what are the actual facts between harness VS collar? Which one is best to use, and in what scenario? What are some of the pros and cons? By doing some research on the subject, and combining it with my own knowledge, I came up with a short list for us to look through.

Pros of Using a Harness:

• Harnesses offer the owner a bit more control over their dog while out walking.
• Using a harness you are less likely to have your dog getting tangled up in the leash.
Reduced risk for neck injuries caused by pulling.
• Great training tool.
• Harnesses can help prevent leash pulling when used as a training tool.

Cons of Using a Harness:

• Some dogs absolutely hate wearing a harness. This can add extra work for you because your first step will be helping your dog to feel comfortable wearing it.
• A harness can be a nightmare for dogs with long fur. It can become tangled, wrap around the straps of the harness, and that can get downright painful.
• A harness can irritate the underside of your dog's legs. Causing some pretty major discomfort.

Pros of Using a Collar:

• Dogs tend to be much more comfortable wearing only a collar.
• It is much easier and more convenient to slip a collar on.
Collars usually hold all your dog's info ie: his identification, city tags, etc.

Cons of Using a Collar:

• Increased risk of neck injury.
• For a dog with any sort of respiratory condition, collars can mean bad news.
• Using only a collar can make loose leash training a pain.
• Collars can create unnecessary eye pressure.
• Some researchers claim that collars can contribute to long-term eye and ear damage from neck pressure.

Now that we have our pros an cons, what can we conclude?

To me, the answer is obvious. Harnesses seem to be the right choice. But this entire topic can get a bit sticky. As I mentioned at the beginning, I use only collars with two of my dogs when taking them outside for a pee. But they do not pull when we are in our yard. My third dog pulls, so she is stuck on a harness even for pee time. However, when I walk them, all three of my babies are equipped with a harness.

For me, it is about using your own judgment. If you know your dog is a puller, I would recommend a harness. If your dog has loose leash walking aced, then a collar wouldn't be so bad. That being said, what happens if he happens to see a squirrel he wants to chase? Do those solid loose leash walking skills go out the window?

I am a firm believer that investing in harness, that fits properly is the way to go. But I am curious what you think. Let me know in the comments! 

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jenna drady headshotJenna Drady

Hi, I'm Jenna Drady AKA HuskyCrazed - author and creator of I am a mother of two beautiful daughters and of course my 3 huskies. Being a husky mom for a long duration of my life, I was inspired to begin writing about them. In doing so, I started doing massive research on dog behavior, and all things dog in general. I am inspired every day by my family, and love to bring my readers valuable information as well as a little laugh while I'm at it. I created my own business partnered with my lovely mother while blogging called Pawz N Clawz Jewelry N Things. We currently sell handmade jewelry with added pet charms, as well as a few dog toys too! As an animal rights activist, and huge believer in helping pets who have been stuck in shelters, we donate a portion of our sales to local shelters throughout Canada.


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