To collar or not to collar that is the question! The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no. Harnesses are gaining in popularity with more dogs wearing them every day. So, should you abandon your traditional collar? Let’s go over some pros and cons of each so you can make an informed choice.

Benefits of a Collar

Many dogs find a collar more comfortable; they don’t even notice that it’s on. A flat collar is a secure way to keep your pets ID tags and licenses on your dog, and they are easy to slip on and off (a pro and a con). A regular collar comes in oodles of varieties, colors, patterns, styles, and function.

Benefits of a Harness

But if your dog is a puller, has respiratory issues, is a toy breed, or has protruding eyes (like Pugs or French Bulldogs) then you need to consider a harness that won’t put stress on their neck and airway. Even a dog that pulls a little bit is at risk for neck injuries from a traditional collar. Ask any vet; they will tell you they see injuries from collars frequently, and some of these injuries can be severe. Also, there are a whole subset of dogs that have figured out if they back up quickly they can get out of a regular collar. So if you have an escape artist for a dog, you may want to use a harness on walks. Dogs that frighten easily can slip their collars too, and that’s just a tragedy waiting to happen.

Some dogs initially don’t like the feel of a harness but most get used to it quickly. Without any doubt, it’s a bit more complicated to get a harness on your pup. And a harness, especially if it’s not fitted correctly, can chafe. The Freedom Harness linked below has a velvet under strap for comfort.

A harness offers better control of your dog so it may be great for training or when you have your dog in a crowded area. If your dog is a leash puller or lunger a harness with a front leash clip will help diminish the pulling. However, if your dog is small or delicate a back leash clip is the way to go. Try one of the many harnesses made for pullers like an Easy Walk Harness or a Freedom No-Pull Harness. If you are you a hiker or have a very active lifestyle, check out Ruffware Harness, they are comfy, cooling, and some even have handles. For an older dog that has issues standing up, it’s easy to grab the back strap on the harness and help them up.

Lastly, if you crate your dog, most vets will recommend that they don’t have any collar or harness on when they are left alone in their crate because they can catch on the crate and trap your dog.

The fact is, many dogs have both a collar and a harness for different situations. Don’t be overwhelmed by the choices, think about your dog’s needs. We’re happy to walk your best friend with a collar or harness!

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