Dog collar or dog harness? What should I use?

Dog collar or harness - what is better for the four-legged friend?

The question whether a collar or a harness should be used, occupies the minds. Basically both variants have advantages and disadvantages and also the choice of the model is decisive whether the dog collar or dog harness is suitable. Ideally, the dog is accustomed to both at an early stage to be able to lead him safely and easily in any situation on the leash.

Advantages and disadvantages of the dog collar

The collar sits on a sensitive part of the body. When the dog pulls on the leash, the cervical spine is subjected to a lot of stress. Likewise, there is pressure on the trachea. To reduce this, you should choose a wider collar - a very narrow design constricts more. With a pull collar, a pull stop is important so that it does not contract to such an extent that it cuts off the dog's air. Further the size decides on the suitability: The collar should not fit too closely, the dog should not be able to slip out however also.

If the conditions are right and the dog is leash-leadable, a collar is ideal for daily walks. The dog can be easily directed via the collar - often small movements with the leash are sufficient to steer the dog in a certain direction, to slow down or stop the pace. However, this is a matter of training. An impetuous dog that has not learned to walk on a loose leash will become accustomed to the constant pressure and pulling on the neck. This can have long-term health consequences, also the walks together are likely to become quite unrelaxed.

Advantages and disadvantages of the dog harness

First of all, the following applies to a suitable harness: it must be the right size, should not constrict the dog and should not restrict the natural movements. Compared to the collar, a good harness has the advantage that the pressure and the tensile load are better distributed. However, a jerk in the leash or pulling on the same is more unpleasant with a collar than with a harness. Therefore, it may cause the dog to be less leash-handy in a harness than on a collar.

If you practice train dog sport or accompany you the dog at the bicycle or with the jogging, however, the harness is ideal. The same applies when leading the dog on a tow line or flexi leash. For fear dogs with flight instinct a special safety harness offers itself, from which they cannot escape in a fright moment.

Collar and harness as basic equipment

For many owners, both the collar and the harness are part of the basic equipment for the dog, in order to be optimally equipped for all cases. For the well-being of the dog, the comfortable fit is important for both variants. A chain collar, for example, is completely unsuitable, as skin and hair can be trapped between the links when it is pulled tight, and the pressure is even greater than with a collar made of fabric or leather. A collar has an ideal fit when there is still one to two finger widths of space after tightening.

A harness should be soft and well padded. This is especially true for the area around the sternum, as this is where most of the pressure is applied. It should not rub in the armpits of the front legs when running, and restricting movement in the shoulder area will in turn lead to musculoskeletal problems in the long term.

Situational selection for on the go

Whenever speed is involved on the leash or the leash allows for a lot of slack, a harness is preferable to a collar. If you are jogging and the dog suddenly swerves or slows down to sniff something, the jolt is better distributed over the harness. If he takes advantage of the free space on the drag line when sprinting and the maximum reach slows him down, the same applies. Compared to a well-fitting harness, the jerk on the collar always leads to excessive strain on the cervical spine, and the trachea and larynx can also be affected. Walking on a short leash and at a leisurely pace poses fewer such risks - here the collar is quite suitable.

A question of education

For a dog that constantly pulls on the leash when out and about, the harness is preferable to the collar for health reasons. However, the dog will not change his behaviour at all and may pull even more with a harness: He can throw himself into it with all his weight and strength, while otherwise the pulling force is more limited to the neck area.

For you it is easier under circumstances to lead the pulling dog at the collar. Of course, it makes even more sense to work on the leash so that your activities together are fun for both of you instead of stressful or overly burdensome. In case of doubt you can use a special dog collar or dog harness fall back. A so-called Halti helps dog and human to practice the leash leadership with collar. Likewise, there are training harnesses that allow the leash to be attached to the back and chest area. This makes it easier for you to direct the dog and to intervene gently if the dog pulls hard. For both aids, correct use is crucial - if necessary, a trainer can explain how to use them to you.