Should I Walk My Dog Using A Harness Or A Collar?

Should I Walk My Dog Using A Harness Or A Collar?

Walking is great for the dog. It's simple to understand why. The easiest method for your dog to stay in the loop on all the canine happenings in your neighborhood or local park is to take them on regular walks. They can sniff where other dogs have been and ‘leave their own message’, as dogs use this as their ‘texting’ method. With the necessary gear, walking a dog can be manageable for the owner and safe for the pet.

Most dog owners will eventually have to decide whether a collar or a harness is best for walking their dog, whether training a puppy or taking an older dog for a stroll. Both are fantastic choices for keeping your pet safe, but they have advantages and disadvantages. 

We will explore the features of both solutions and the unique concerns for different dog breeds and offer expert suggestions on picking the proper equipment for your beloved pet. 

Collar vs. Harness: Understanding the Basics

It's important to know the main differences between a harness and a collar before getting into the details.

Collar

A collar is an easy-to-use tool that works well for walking your dog by just attaching a leash and going. You can keep your dog under control and lead them on walks with the leash attached to their collar.

Harness 

A harness is a more complicated item around your dog's body. It spreads the pressure out more evenly, which lowers the risk of choking or neck strain. This is why dog owners are choosing it more and more.

Advantages of Walking Your Dog with a Harness

While harness and leash both have significant advantages, some of the benefits of harness are:

Better Control

A harness gives you more control over your dog's moves, which makes it a great choice for dogs that pull on the leash. Your dog and you may both feel more comfortable when you walk together.

Less Stress on the Neck

Regular collars and leashes can put stress on your dog's neck, which could lead to pain or injury. Harnesses spread the weight more evenly across the chest and back, which lowers the risk of problems with the neck.

Keeping Dogs from Running Away

Some dogs are very good at getting out of their leashes. Harnesses make your dog safer and make it less likely that they will run away while you're walking.

Safety for Breeds with Flat Faces

Because their faces are flat, breeds with flat faces are more likely to have breathing problems. People often suggest harnesses for these dog types because they keep the throat and airways from getting too squished.

Comfort for Small Dogs

Some small dog types are more fragile and more likely to get hurt. For these animal friends, a harness may be a kinder and more comfortable option.

Advantages of Walking Your Dog with a Collar

The advantages of walking your dog with a collar include:

Simplicity

Leashes are simple and easy to use, which makes them a quick and easy choice for short walks or training sessions.

Small and Lightweight

Leashes are intentionally designed to be small and light, offering unparalleled convenience for your on-the-go activities with your dog. It's noteworthy that with the collar already on your dog, the leash seamlessly complements this setup, ensuring easy portability and freedom during your adventures.

Friendly to Your Wallet

Collars are often less expensive than harnesses, which makes them a good choice for pet owners who are trying to save money.

Considerations for Different Dog Breeds

The choice between a harness and a collar can be influenced by your dog's breed, size, and unique characteristics. Here are some breed-specific considerations:

Large and Strong Breeds

If you have a large and strong dog breed, such as a Labrador Retriever or a German Shepherd, a harness is usually the preferred choice. It offers superior control and prevents potential neck injuries associated with pulling.

Brachycephalic Breeds

As mentioned earlier, brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs or Pugs benefit from harnesses to prevent respiratory issues.

Small Breeds

Smaller breeds like Chihuahuas or Dachshunds can benefit from harnesses due to their delicate necks. Harnesses offer better support and comfort for these dogs.

Medium-Sized Dogs

Medium-sized dogs, such as Beagles or Cocker Spaniels, can often be comfortable with a harness or a leash. The choice can depend on the dog's behavior and specific training needs.

Working Dogs

Working dog breeds like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds may benefit from using collars for training and obedience purposes. Once trained, you can transition to a harness for regular walks.

Puppies

For puppies, it's essential to ensure their safety and comfort. Harnesses provide gentle support and control, helping them adapt to walking using a leash more easily.

Elderly Dogs

Older dogs with mobility or joint issues may find harnesses more comfortable as they distribute the pressure evenly across their bodies.

Overweight Dogs

Overweight dogs often benefit from harnesses, as they help prevent excessive pressure on the neck and throat, which can be a concern with traditional collars and leashes.

Expert Tips for Choosing the Right Equipment

Choosing the right equipment for walking your dog is a decision that can significantly impact both your dog's comfort and your control during walks. To make an informed choice, consider the following expert tips:

Assess Your Dog's Behavior

Understanding your dog's behavior and walking habits is crucial when deciding between a harness and a collar. If your dog favors pulling on the leash or exhibiting unruly behavior during walks, a harness may be the best choice. Harnesses provide improved control, distributing the pressure more evenly across your dog's body, which can help manage pulling and prevent strain on the neck.

Consult Your Veterinarian

If your dog has health issues or conditions, it's wise to consult your veterinarian for recommendations on the most suitable walking equipment. Dogs with certain medical issues may benefit from one option over the other. Your vet can provide valuable insights tailored to your dog's unique needs.

Check for Proper Fit

Whether you choose a harness or a collar, it's crucial to ensure that the equipment fits your dog correctly. A snug, but not too tight, fit is essential for both harnesses and collars. Ill-fitting equipment can contribute to discomfort and even injury, so take the time to adjust and secure it properly.

Quality Matters 

Invest in high-quality harnesses, collars, and leashes to ensure durability and safety. Cheap, poorly made equipment may not withstand the rigors of daily walks, and it can pose risks to your dog's safety. Look for reputable brands known for their durability and strength.

How to Pick a Good Harness, Collar and Leash Material

The material a harness, collar, or leash is constructed from is just as important as the design or style you choose for your dog. The material has a significant impact on how long something lasts, how comfortable it is, and how well it performs. When deciding on the best material for your dog's harness, collar, or leash, keep the following in mind:

Nylon

Nylon is a popular choice for harnesses, collars, and leashes due to its durability, affordability, and versatility. It can withstand rain and snow and be cleaned quickly, making it ideal for dogs that enjoy outside activities. Harnesses, collars, and leashes made of nylon can be found in many different colors and designs.

Leather

Harnesses, collars, and leashes made of leather are not only fashionable but also extremely cozy for your pet. Despite softening and comfort with age, they need frequent maintenance to avoid cracking and stiffening. Leather has an elegant appearance and is suitable for dogs who don't pull too hard.

Neoprene

Neoprene is commonly utilized as padding in harnesses due to its softness and water resistance. If your pet dog has sensitive skin issues or is prone to chafing, this is the perfect option. Harnesses with neoprene padding make strolls more comfortable.

Chain

Chain leashes are robust, able to endure a dog's nibbling tendencies due to the material's durability. However, they tend to be bulky, which may be less convenient for extended walks.

Reflective Materials

Harnesses, collars, and leashes manufactured from reflective materials are a good idea for low-light or nighttime hikes. You and your dog will be safer taking evening strolls in the light cast by them.

Cotton

Harnesses, collars, and leashes made of cotton are kind and comfy, but they may not be the most long-lasting choice if your dog is particularly powerful or energetic. Casual walks with well-behaved dogs may benefit from their use.

Conclusion

Choosing between a harness and a collar for walking your dog is more than one-size-fits-all. It depends on various factors, including your dog's breed, behavior, and specific needs. By knowing the advantages and considerations of each option, as well as consulting with experts and observing your dog's comfort and behavior, you can make an informed decision that enhances your dog's walking experience and ensures their safety and well-being. At LFPS, we understand that your dog is unique, and we're here to provide guidance and support to ensure you and your furry friend enjoy your walks together.