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Should You Walk Your Dog with a Collar or Harness? Pros and Cons Explained

Many dog owners often wonder if a collar or harness is the best thing for walking their dog. However, no matter what you’ve seen your friends doing or people on the TV, it totally depends on your dog’s training and the goals you’ve set for your dog. Your dog could pull you when you take him a walk, or perhaps his breed can often develop a certain condition which changes how you can walk him. Read on for the pros and cons so you can decide what’s best for your dog:

walking with dogs
Image credit: flickr.com/photos/magnusbrath

Pros and Cons of a Collar

The traditional collar is good for everyday use and perfect to hold your dogs I.D tag. However, you should also consider whether your dog pulls while being walked or whether it’s breed is susceptible to a certain medical condition.

Collar Pros

  • It will perfectly fit your dog’s neck.
  • They are quite cheap to buy.
  • They can be used every day.
  • They can hold I.D tags.
  • They are safe for the majority or dogs.

Collar Cons

  • Your dog will probably outgrow it’s collar and you’ll need to buy a new one.
  • The collar can get caught on things.
  • The collar won’t stop your dog pulling without proper training.
  • They aren’t great for walking dogs that commonly get; wobbler syndrome (mainly Great Danes and Dobermans), spinal cord disorders (King Charles Spaniel’s and other small breeds), slipped discs (Dachshunds, French bulldogs), water on the brain (dogs with shorter heads) and collapsible trachea (Yorkshire terriers and other small breeds).

When it comes to big dogs who pull on the lead, a collar or head halter is a safe option for training them. A head halter is similar to a horse halter, as it goes over the dogs head and allows you to control the direction he moves in. This can sometimes be mistaken for a muzzle, but your dog can still bark and drink as normal. Remember, don’t use head halters with a retractable lead as this can sometimes jerk the dog’s head.

Pros and Cons of Harnesses

A harness doesn’t apply much pressure on a dog’s neck or back, making it perfect for many dogs, including puppies and small dog breeds.

Pros of a Harness

  • Good for dogs who may be susceptible to medical conditions and spinal issues.
  • They are comfortable to wear for most dogs.
  • Good for smaller dogs.
  • There are options you can buy to try to stop your dog from pulling, such as no-pull harness.

Cons of a Harness

  • If your dog isn’t trained to avoid pulling when on a walk, a harness can increase the problem.

To decide which option is best for you, you need to assess your dog and research the conditions it can be susceptible to first. Dog harnesses for small dogs seem to be the best option, while collars or head halters for larger dogs look like they could be best. However, it’s all down to you as an owner and the breed of your dog!

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