For your dog, going for a walk is undoubtedly the best part of the day. Spending half an hour in a park with their favorite person – a dog couldn’t ask for more.
However, there’s something you might be wondering about. Should your dog wear a harness or a collar? Which is better – and safer for your furry friend? This dilemma doesn’t only trouble first-time pet owners, but those who’ve been dog parents for years. This guide will explain why dogs should wear a harness and how to choose between a harness and a collar.
Should My Dog Always Wear a Harness?
There are several reasons why dogs should wear a harness when you take them out for a walk.
If you’ve trained your pooch, they’re more likely to respond when you call for them. But if your dog isn’t appropriately trained, they might run in front of a car and get hurt, or run away and get lost. A dog should, of course, have a daily dose of running freely around the park, but you can exercise them in a recreation area with a fence, or a huge field where there are no roads or small children.
This brings us to the second reason you need to be careful and always have a harness. Some adults and children are afraid of dogs, especially large breeds. You need to understand and respect that. Keeping your dog in a harness will prevent them from, for instance, jumping on a kid and startling them, even if they just want to play.
Harness vs. Collar: Which One’s Better?
The fact that both harnesses and collars do the same job more or less successfully doesn’t mean one of them is better for your dog.
Here are the main benefits of choosing a harness over a collar:
1. It Doesn’t Harm Your Dog’s Neck
This one might be the most important reason why dogs should wear a harness. Wearing a collar can put a lot of strain on your dog’s neck. Restless dogs tend to yank and pull the leash continuously, and this can cause injuries because of the pressure on the neck. You may not even notice this injury right away because it will gradually worsen until your dog starts experiencing pain.
Harnesses distribute this pressure evenly as the leash is typically attached to a hook on your dog’s shoulders. This way, you don’t need to worry about the constant pulling damaging their neck or trachea.
2. It Gives You More Control
First of all, collars are sometimes too elastic or too loose. If a collar doesn’t fit tight to your dog’s neck, they may able to wriggle out of it while playing with other dogs or pulling at the leash. But if your dog is wearing a harness, that’s less likely to happen. There are too many straps, and they don’t only go around your dog’s neck, but also the front legs and the upper part of the body.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll find it easier to control the dog this way. If your dog is too excited about your walk, the harness will give you more control over keeping the pooch by your side. It discourages pulling and stops the dog from tangling in the leash around your legs or nearby trees, and so on. Harnesses enhance security.
3. It’s Suitable for All Dog Sizes
One of the most significant advantages of using a harness is that they come in plenty of sizes. You’ll undoubtedly find one that your furry friend feels comfortable with. Whether you have a small or a large dog, harnesses are still more convenient than collars.
Small breeds like Dachshunds or Miniature Pinschers are delicate. Their bodies are prone to injury, so a harness keeps them safe. On the other hand, if you have a German Shepherd or a Bernese Mountain Dog, you might find it hard to control them when they’re determined to dash off somewhere. It’s easier to keep them on the leash when it’s attached to a harness than to a collar.
4. It’s Convenient for Puppy Training
Harnesses are also available in puppy sizes, which is great if you’re planning to do puppy training. It’s simpler to train a baby than a grown dog, but puppies are typically more playful and pull more than adult dogs. Using a collar for a puppy might be too dangerous – it can even represent a choking hazard.
That said, you’ll have more control with a harness, and your puppy will feel more comfortable. The dog won’t choke every time they pull the leash, so they’ll associate the harness with walks and playtime and won’t develop an aversion towards the leash.
Are Collars Any Good?
Harnesses have numerous advantages, but it doesn’t mean collars have no benefits at all.
They’re very convenient if your dog gets lost, as it’s pretty hard to attach a name tag on a harness. Also, the dog might not feel comfortable having the harness on all day long, but they get used to wearing a collar quickly. Some collars can also detach on their own if under too much pressure. This is essential in case of an accident.
Comfort and Safety Come First
We’ve covered why dogs should wear a harness instead of a collar. Still, your choice may depend on multiple factors, like your dog’s personality or age. An old dog probably won’t pull as much as a young puppy, but a harness might still work better if they need help climbing the stairs.
Harnesses have multiple benefits for all dog breeds, sizes, and ages. They feel more comfortable both for dogs and dog owners. They also provide more safety for your dog than a simple collar. The only downside is that you should take the harness off when you get home. If you disregard this small inconvenience, harnesses are absolute winners in all other categories.