I get asked all the time, which is better for dogs: using a leash or using a collar? The simple answer is neither, let your dog run wild and free! All jokes aside the truth is that the right answer is whatever best suits the needs of your pup. Some dog owners find it easier to walk their dog using a collar while others prefer using a harness. Each pet will respond to harnesses and collars in different ways so be aware that there isn’t a one size fits all method out there.
Given that determining what’s better for your dog when it comes to using a leash or harness will take a bit of trial and error, take a dive into this article to learn the pros and cons of each to make the best guess for your pet. To start, harnesses are typically best suited for smaller breeds of dogs. Smaller dogs can sometimes be choked or harmed by a collar as they typically have a softer trachea, which means the collar can put a lot of pressure on your pets’ airways. Additionally if you have a dog that has a predisposition to respiratory issues due to a shortened face such as a French bulldog or Boson Terrier a harness will allow the dog to better breathe and cool themselves by panting during walks. Not only are they suitable for smaller breeds, harnesses can also serve as an effective training tool, especially for puppies. Harnesses will allow you to have better control over your pup while walking because it discourages pulling and jumping. While walking, your dog will be able to abstain from distractions and pay better attention to you and its surroundings without jerking you around. The downside to using a harness is mostly related to how your pup feels wearing it. Many larger dogs find it too constricting and don’t like the feeling of having a harness on their back with a clip to a leash. If you would like to use a harness for your dog, opt for one with a front clip, as it’s more helpful in training your dog not to pull you while walking. With that being said, collars are great for large dogs as they have stronger tracheas and often dislike the feeling of a harness. Collars are great for those dogs where you need a little more reinforcement while walking your dog such as a choke or pinch collar. Big dogs can sometimes have big personalities meaning the nudge on a harness may not always get them to not chase the squirrel up a tree. With a choke collar attachment, you can help train your dog walk and behave effectively while outdoors. Collars are also more convenient than harnesses in that they slip on and off much easier and can also hold you dogs’ identification, rabies, and other vaccination/license tags. The cons for a collar are they can often increase the likelihood of neck or head injuries and increase eye pressure.
There are clear benefits to using both collars and harness. Talk to your vet about which is best for you and your pet. Each dog will respond differently, but will ultimately help you determine which is the most suitable option. Listen and pay attention to your dog while walking to decide whether or not harness or collar is truly better than the other.