Now that you have your dog and you start thinking about the exercise regiment of getting them out to start walking them. The question that dog owners struggle with is what kind of collar or harness should they get for their dog.
Some people believe that a little dog should have a harness and a big dog should have a collar. The big question is which works the best the debate of a dog harness vs collar. I am going to break it down for you.
I think that for every dog the situation is completely different. A dog that is calm and trained well, generally you see that dog with a collar on rather than a harness. What is the difference between the two?
Why is it important to chose correctly?
A puppy needs to be taught how to walk on a leash, from day one. Taking things slow and using a reward system, generally helps teach your puppy the proper way to walk on a leash.
Sometimes when you have a stubborn dog on a walk they pull constantly and it makes the walk extremely difficult. Not only is it difficult for you, but it is also hard on the dog. When a dog sees a squirrel for example they can jerk very strongly in a quick sudden motion. This can cause you to have an arm or hand injury, just holding the leash.
When a dog is pulling all the time or making sudden quick jerks it can actually cause damage to themselves.
Dog’s neck are much like the neck of a human. If we were to put something tight around our own neck and create that pulling motion, we could cause an major injury.
A dog pulling excessively can cause serious injury to their neck, like whiplash, crushed trachea, damaged larynx and even cause paralysis. They could also damage their jugular, trachea, and many more serious issues. For that reason, we want to avoid putting our dog in that type of situation.
Dogs that pull excessively like this would do much better on a harness, then just a collar. Having a harness on the dog, takes away the pulling on the neck. The pulling then comes from the entire body like a sled dog. It is more evenly dispersed, which makes it much safer for everyone.
Of course like everything else, there are different choices when deciding on what type of harness to buy. So how do you know which one will work for you? As we talked about dogs that pull excessively should be in a harness, but getting the right harness can also make a huge difference. A good harness distributes the weight evenly.
There are generally 2 kinds of harnesses that are structurally different. The main difference, is where the leash connects to the harness.
The first style is called a front clipping harness. So the leash is connected just as it says, in the front. With this style of harness the dog has less leverage when trying to pull. Therefore not causing any possible injuries to the dog or yourself.
The second type of harness is a back or neck clipping harness and yes the dog can pull harder with this style of harness. But if your dog is a puller, at least the pulling won’t cause harm or damage to your dog.
I know I said there was mainly 2 different kinds of harness, but there is one more style that I would not recommend, and that is a slip lead style that tightens as the dog pulls. The slip lead goes over the dogs head, the problem with this style is that it can cause the dog to potentially injury their neck by causing the dog to twist his neck to the side. For this reason, I would avoid this type of harness.
Some of the harnesses do come with dual leash connectors, offering your the best of both worlds.
Shopping for a harness.
When shopping for a harness, the key is always getting one that fits properly. Making sure that the harness is not to snug or not to loose is the key to a proper fitting harness.
The best way to fit a harness is to get a few key measurements from your dog first.
The first measurement is getting the weight of your dog, which is the most important measurement to get. This is because some harnesses have a the weight measurements on the back of the harness. The weights usually come in an variety of weight ranges. So you would pick the one with the range of where your dog’s weight best fits.
Chest measurement, is the last important measurement that you need. To get this measurement, it’s easiest to get using a cloth measuring tape and start at the very bottom of your dog’s rib cage, up over the back and then back to where you started.
Some harnesses also come by fitting your dog’s body measurements eg: 23 – 29.5 inch body (M) or 26.5 – 31.5 inch body (L).
Harnesses also come in very different styles and with or without padding. The padding can be as soft as fleece, or lightweight with a mess lining.
Most harnesses have adjustable straps and clip in a few different spots. Depending on the harness some have metal clips vs some that have plastic clips to attach it around your dog’s neck or body. They are both good choices, it just boils down the making sure it fits correctly on your dog.
What’s your decision?
Collars are still a one of the most popular items that people buy for their dogs. Of course, dog collars are the perfect cool accessory as a matching set with a leash.
Personally I think a good collar will do just fine for most dogs. The key if you just want to use a collar, is to make sure that your dog is trained properly from the very beginning. A good well behaved dog, does not pull on the leash at all and just walks beside you. Holding the leash then is just a formality really.
Both of my dogs, have always worn collars and have never worn a harness. That being said, we really should have put BOO in a harness, just because he is a big puller on walks. Almost 16 years ago, harnesses were really not that popular. Collars were really the only main option when out shopping.
Shopping for dog supplies on the internet back then, was not an option. Nowadays, we really have the ability to get and research all things dogs. This allows us to have a huge variety of options to choose from.
Deciding on what the answer is in Dog Harness vs Collar is really up to you and your dog. When you decide which is the best for you, remember the key to success in either choice is to start when they are young. Putting the collar or harness on right from the beginning is when it will really pay off so you can enjoy wonderful pull free walks enjoy wonderful pull free walks.
HAPPY DOG WALKING!