Is a harness better than a collar for big dogs? Expert Advice

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Whether it’s time to buy a collar or harness for your puppy or dog for the very first time or replace one that’s wearing out, it’s important to understand that there are a variety of collars and harnesses that work for different dogs in different circumstances.

Here are some of the pros and cons of dog collars vs. dog harnesses for you to consider.

The Pros and Cons of Dog Collars

  • These are the most basic dog products available and are easy for keeping ID tags and rabies tags around your dog’s neck.
  • There are different types of collars to try — flat collars work for dogs that know how to walk on a leash without pulling; martingale collars (limited slip collars) are great for dogs whose necks are about the same size as their heads and can slip out of flat collars; rolled collars work well to hold your dog’s ID, but won’t flatten or matt the hair underneath them.
  • Collars may give you better control and require less physical strength from you as you’re walking your dog than harnesses, depending on your dog’s size.
  • Many dog trainers recommend that you begin leash training for a puppy with a four-foot leash and flat collar and use positive reinforcement (think praise and treats) to encourage your pup to walk by your side.
  • The variety of styles and materials available makes them easy to put on and take off, comfortable for your dog, attractive, and long-lasting.
  • If the fit is too loose, your dog may be able to wiggle out and escape; this is especially true for dogs like Greyhounds and Whippets, whose heads are often smaller than their necks.
  • If the fit is too tight, it may be painful for your dog.
  • Dog collars may contribute to back pain, throat damage, and other discomfort.
  • Make sure you select the right size for your dog. You’ll know it fits if you can slip one finger between your dog’s skin and the collar (for small dogs) or if you can fit two fingers between your dog’s skin and the collar (for large-breed dogs).

    Is a harness better than a collar for big dogs?

    Is a harness better than a collar for big dogs?

    Warning: Avoid so-called corrective collars, like choke collars and prong collars, which can cause neck injury, pain, and even strangulation.

    What to consider when choosing a pet harness:

    A lot of dog owners don’t even realize that not all pet harnesses are created equal. Understanding the two main types of harnesses will help you choose the right one for you and your furry friend.

    The body harness was first developed for working dogs who pulled heavy loads. It’s designed to evenly distribute pressure from a leash throughout a dog’s body, making it more comfortable for the dog to pull.1

    Small dogs, cats, and puppies whose fragile necks and spines could easily be hurt by a sudden sharp pull on a leash are prime candidates for body harnesses. These harnesses are also great for older arthritic dogs who need help standing up—a body harness won’t force too much pressure on any one spot.

    A body harness with a chest plate is also our first pick for use as a car restraint, as it can evenly distribute the force of impact from a crash. Additionally, body harnesses can help level the playing field for owners of large, unwieldy dogs. In uncertain situations, body harnesses can shift your point of contact with the dog to its center mass, making it easier for you to direct them.

    Body harnesses may be uncomfortable for dogs with certain skin conditions that make their coats more sensitive.2 Additionally, if you have a dog that likes to drag you down the street on walks, a body harness may make the problem worse. Yes, it gives you more control, but it also makes it easier for them to pull you along. This is where a front-clip harness comes in to play.

    A front-clip harness for dogs is designed much like a body harness, but it may fit slightly differently, because it has a leash clip on the chest plate of the dog harness as well as a leash attachment at the back. The horizontal straps on front-clip harnesses often partially restrict movement of the shoulders.

    Front-clip harnesses are a good training tool if your large dog’s excitement causes them to leash-walk you more than the other way around. Huge, hyper yellow labs, we’re looking at you. A front-clip harness has a chest-centered leash anchor point to direct your dog. This means that every time your dog pulls, their forward momentum turns into rotational energy. In other words, it makes them turn to the side and it slows them down. They quickly learn that pulling results in turning a direction they didn’t want to go.

    A front-clip harness is intended for use as a training tool, not a long-term solution. If your dog has learned not to pull and complies with a body harness, a front harness might actually be harmful to them.

    Because most front-clip harnesses fit around your dog’s shoulders rather than their neck, using one for an extended period of time can actually interfere with and permanently alter your dog’s natural walking gait.2

    Keep in mind that most dual-function harnesses (like the Ruffwear Front Range Harness) are designed to allow freer shoulder movement. This may slightly reduce their training effectiveness, but it makes them more appropriate for long-term use.

    * price as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.

    Dog Harness vs Collar | Which is best for pit bulls?s

    It can be tricky to decide whether or not your dog should wear a collar or a harness for walks. A lot of it depends on your dog himself, from the breed to his age and activity level. No matter what type of breed you have, one thing’s for sure, they all need to go out on walks! The main two types of leash attachments that you can use for your dog are harnesses or collars.

    Whether you just got a new dog and aren’t sure which to use or you are looking to switch things up, it’s important to know the pros and cons for both dog harnesses and collars before making a decision.