Dog Collar vs. Harness: What Is Best for Your Pup?

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So, you have an excitable dog who pulls on his leash non-stop, dragging you behind as he charges towards the next fire hydrant. And on top of it, he’s choking himself on his collar! Getting a dog to stop pulling on his leash can be somewhat difficult, and there are no foolproof techniques. The only true way to stop your dog from pulling on the leash is training. Extensive training in some cases.

Dogs simply get really excited when it’s time to go for a walk. Trying to train the excitement out of them is a non-starter. But with the right technique and enough repetition, you can train your dog to make your daily walk enjoyable for both of you.

That’s not going to happen tomorrow though, so you may be looking for a more temporary solution, such as a harness. But is a harness really more effective than a collar for keeping your dog from pulling on the leash? The short answer is – it depends.

What is A Dog Harness?

A harness is an alternative for leash attachment. A traditional collar encircles the neck, while a harness loops around the torso and chest, with a leash attachment on the top of the dog’s back with connecting straps between them for reinforcement.

The harness distributes force when a dog pulls on the leash – and prevents the dog from choking as the leash is not attached to the neck. Harnesses are becoming very popular among dog owners – especially for those who have smaller breed dogs like Pugs and French Bulldogs.

Will a Harness Stop Your Dog from Pulling on the Leash?

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No. If your dog pulls on the leash, he will continue to do so, no matter what the leash is attached to. A harness will, however, make it easier on you, and make it easier to control where your dog is going.

This is because when your dog begins to pull, the harness will transfer the weight in a way that pulls the dog’s legs off the ground and slows forward movement. Eventually, this will discourage your dog from pulling too hard. But it will not completely stop him from pulling. Using a harness can help your training too.

What Are the Other Benefits of Using a Harness?

There are many benefits to using a harness instead of a leash. While each dog is unique, you may want to try a harness and see how it works! The benefits of using a harness include:

Avoid injuries

Dogs who continuously pull on their leash are at risk for injury. Constant force on the trachea can lead to long term damage. With a harness, the force is distributed more evenly throughout the dog’s body, and puts almost no stress on the dog’s neck.

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More control

A harness allows you more control over your dog when he is pulling and yanking on the leash. A harness also helps your dog feel comfortable on walks. If you are someone who enjoys hiking miles with your dog, a harness is indispensable. Some hikes can get dangerous if you’re walking along a narrow path at high elevation. A harness will ensure your dog doesn’t yank you off of the trail.

No more jailbreaks 

There are a lot of escape artist dogs out there. Dogs do not love the idea of being tethered to anything, so if they get the chance, they will slip out of their collars – leaving them free to chase down that squirrel that’s been looking at them funny all day.

Harnesses are nearly escape-proof. Your dog won’t be able to slip out of a harness, unless he figures out how to unhook the clasps on his belly.

Breath free

Short nosed breeds, like Pugs and Bulldogs, are particularly susceptible to breathing troubles. When these breeds pull on their leash, the pressure on their throats can cause real damage. Harnesses are a much better choice for these breeds – and for tiny breeds like Chihuahuas who may feel overpowered by a neck collar.

The only way to truly determine whether a collar or leash is best for your pup is to try them both. Determine what works best for you, and your dog, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying every walk with your furry friend.

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