Dog collar vs harness - which option to choose?

Find out whether it’s better to use a collar or a harness for your dog. Learn how dog collars and harnesses can impact health, training and more. 

Collar or harness - which accessory is more suitable for my dog? This is a thorny question that divides the world of canine owners. It is more than a matter of preference. There are many things that influence whether your dog will be more comfortable in a collar or harness.

How are dog collars and harnesses used? 

The collar and the harness have the same utility: combined with a leash, they allow the master to walk his dog, to control it and to keep it away from danger. Depending on the character and temperament of the dog and the owner, a significant force can be exerted on the leash, harness and collar. This is why the issue of choosing the right dog collar or harness is so pressing.

Health aspects of dog collars and harnesses

A dog collar, as the name suggests, is placed around the dog's neck. By pulling on the leash, force is directly exerted on the dog's neck and nape. There are many important organs that are located in this part of a dog’s body, including the trachea, larynx, major blood vessels and thyroid glands. Thus, the owner has more influence on his dog. At the same time, the risk of injury is relatively high. Several studies have shown that repeated shocks to the spine and the thyroid glands inflicted by a leash and collar can cause inflammation.

A harness is positioned on the dog’s back and chest, which allows for a better distribution of the master's force over the dog's body. Daily walks become smoother and less painful for the dog. However, if a harness doesn’t match your dog's build, it could easily injure its shoulderblades and prevent its natural gait.

Which is better for training: collar or harness?

During training, the amount of force exerted on the collar or harness should be limited. This is only possible when the handler and the dog can communicate with each other without the need to use the leash. This is a prerequisite for good training, especially for dynamic dogs.

The effectiveness of the harness and collar depends on the type of training your four-legged friend has and how careful you are with him. If every walk turns into a showdown, it might be a good idea to invest in a good dog training school rather than a beefier collar or tighter harness!

Choosing the right accessory for your dog

Whether you have decided on a collar or a harness, both should be appropriate for the age, weight and size of your dog. For example, a harness should be positioned under the dog's elbows at a distance of the width of a hand. You should also make sure there isn’t any friction below the armpits. Also, the harness should not put pressure on the bog’s breastbone.

There is also a whole range of collars in different materials and sizes. Your dog's collar should be light, strong and flexible. A buckle makes it easier to put on and adjust the size of the collar.