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Which is Better? Dog Harness or Collar

Which is Better? Dog Harness or Collar

It can become a confusing affair when you need to decide on what you should buy for your pets. The same goes for harnesses and collars. The difference between a harness and a collar is very important to understand before you buy and use either.
Arun Prabhu
Last Updated: Mar 5, 2018
When it comes to pampering dogs, owners always prefer nothing but the best. But when it comes to training, they can get a little lost. Especially when it comes to deciding between a harness and a collar. There are two very important things that define the need for either; type and behavior. Actually, as far as collars are concerned, it is best to use them every time you get out. A dog collar generally should have information on the dog, like the owners address and phone number in case the dog gets lost. Apart from that, tying a leash to the collar is a decision that needs some thinking beforehand.

The Collar

The collar is easier to put on and it can be kept on for longer time than the harness (depending on the type).

Which Dog Needs a Collar
If you have a big dog that needs to be controlled, a collar is better than a harness. This is because the harness is tied around the dog's chest, which means the dog gets way more control on his movements and most certainly will use it to control yours. You will not be able to stop a large dog trying to run after something if he is on a harness, you'll only get dragged along with it.

A collar on a large dog is better for control. As the dog advances, if you pull the leash back a little, the collar holds the neck back, restricting his control and movement. The advantage on the big dog is, his neck will be strong enough to handle the minor jerks that you need to give to handle him.

Types and Problems
You will come across collars like:
  • The head halter, that stops dogs from pulling on leashes.
  • The chain slip/choke chain, that chokes the dog when you pull on it.
  • The pinch collar, that pinches the neck or digs into it when you pull on it.
They are three of the types, especially for dogs that pull. None of them are meant to intentionally harm the dogs. They are only meant for you to get enough control over them so they won't run away. But seeing what these collars do, you can now understand what will happen with negligent owners, or owners who don't know how to actually use them. It is therefore suggested that, if you do have a very aggressive and large dog and are thinking of using a collar, get help and information from a good dog trainer first. You can buy it and head on over to a good dog trainer and ask him/her to teach you how to use the collar.

For getting the right collar, you need to check the following.
  • The width of the collar depends on the type of dog and their necks; make sure it's not so wide as to hamper you dog's neck movements.
  • The length of the collar should essentially be 2-3 inches more than your dog's neck.
  • The collar should be just loose enough to slip two fingers between the collar and the neck. If you can't, that means it's too tight. If you can fit more than two, it's too loose.
The Harness

The harness is a bit of a chore to figure out and buy. There is no universal size, so you can't really plan the attempt. The best way is to go to the dog store with your dog and ask an employee there who knows about it. He will help you decide which type to get and what size is advisable.

Which Dog Needs a Harness
A harness can be used for all kinds of smaller dogs and pups. It is meant to be used on any dogs that will have neck or throat problems with collars and are not strong enough to pull the owner along. This includes sick dogs that cough and wheeze; it is a bad practice to use a collar on a dog with throat infections. A collar is also very bad for pups. They are very small, physically weak and mentally immature. They will have a weak neck and an adventurous attitude. Plus, they are so small they just won't pull on the leash that hard, so it is better to use a harness on them.

Types and Problems
The types most in use are:
  • Traditional harnesses that you need to tie up around the dog.
  • Step-in harnesses that the dog walks into and you have to clamp it shut.
  • Vest harnesses that are meant for style and comfort.
The only problem with them is they can't be used to train large dogs. Use it on the strong ones only if they are trained, or else stick to collars. Harnesses are much more comfortable than collars, but they should never be kept on for too long. The straps rub against the dog's skin and will cause skin irritation, hair loss along the area that the harness digs into and small abrasions.

The Final Decision

It will always depend on your dog. If you have a dog that doesn't pull too much, get a harness. If you have an aggressive dog that pulls too much, get a collar. Use a harness for a puppy or a sick dog, otherwise stick to collars for adult dogs.

And there you have it. The information, coupled with what the local dog trainer says, should be enough for you to decide the better option for your dog. There is no real winner between them, that only depends on the dog you own. If you're not really sure, pick the harness for the dog's safety.
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