With the coronavirus pandemic sticking many people at home and placing them under stress, it's little wonder that there's a booming market for new fuzzy friends. In fact, around thirteen percent of people who adopted a pet during the pandemic are first-time pet parents who might be confused about what's best for their canine. However, these pups need their exercise, and getting them to behave when they go for a walk could prove difficult.
Harnesses might help you get better control of your pup, but they cost extra. So, you may wonder, "Is a harness better than a collar?" Here's what you need to know to make that decision.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of a Harness?
In recent years, harnesses have become a much more popular means of keeping your canine companion under control when on a walk. Harnesses make exceptional tools to train puppies who haven't yet learned how to behave on a leash. They also offer dog walkers greater control over their charges.
The safety of a harness is never in doubt, as harnessed dogs don't risk getting tangled in their own leash. Harnesses also make it easier for pet parents to stop their playful pets from jumping on strangers or charging ahead too fast on their walk. (They also come in a variety of fashionable styles and colors!)
Harnesses also make a better choice for dogs who suffer from breathing problems, as they don't put as much pressure on the airways.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of a Collar?
With all this in mind, the answer to, "Is a harness better than a collar?" seems to be a resounding, "Yes." However, don't discount the potential benefits of using the traditional collar and leash method.
Collars and leashes are the most common dog-walking solution due to their low cost of purchase and their wider variety of styles. You can even get collars made from leather!
Certain collars may be designed with constricting or poking mechanisms to discourage pulling, but we do not recommend using them. Why would you want to hurt your pup that hasn't learned any better?
Most traditional, non-restrictive collars will work fine for dogs that don't have breathing problems or a propensity towards pulling on their leash. However, the most common cons of a collar come with excitable dogs that haven't learned to avoid pulling or leaping towards others. Traditional collars, as you might expect, place all the pressure on the dog's neck when you have to wrangle them, which can lead to a risk of choking and neck injury.
What Types of Harnesses Are There?
There are two main types of harnesses that you can purchase for your dog. These harness types are separated mainly by how they fasten and distribute weight around your dog. The main harness types you can buy include:
Body harnesses are the older of the two harness types. These harnesses got developed for working dogs responsible for pulling heavy loads for others. Due to this, body harnesses distribute the pressure from a leash all over a dog's body, which makes it easier for them to pull without straining themselves.
Body harnesses work best on small dog breeds, young puppies, and senior dogs who struggle with arthritis. They'll protect the delicate spines and necks of younger dogs while alleviating pressure on the joints of older ones. This type of harness also works well as a car ride safety measure.
When Would Body Harnesses Not Work Well?
Dogs that suffer from certain common skin conditions might not be able to tolerate body harnesses. Plus, if you have a dog with the strength to pull you down the street, a body harness could make it even harder to control them.
Front-clip harnesses have similar designs to body harnesses but fit differently due to their horizontal straps on the back restricting shoulder movement. They also have a leash clip that rests at the chest of the dog in addition to the one on its back.
Front-clip harnesses will work best for dogs that seem to walk you more than you walk them. (High energy breeds like boxers and goldens, you've been caught!) By attaching their leash to the front clip of the harness, their attempts to pull you along will instead force them to turn around and face you.
This makes front-clip harnesses great training tools for teaching canine companions that pulling doesn't get them where they want to go, much less get them there any faster!
Are There Any Risks to Front-Clip Harnesses?
Unfortunately, front-clip harnesses are a short-term tool, not a long-term solution. Once your dog learns not to pull at their leash, they'll be better served by a body harness or a collar, as long-term use of front-clip harnesses can alter your dog's walking gait. This holds doubly true for younger dogs that haven't finished growing yet.
What to Consider When Choosing a Harness or Collar
When you choose a harness or collar for your dog, you need to make sure you keep the following factors in mind:
- How strong your dog is
- How much your dog likes to run ahead and pull
- The size and weight of your dog, and
- The cost of the harness or collar
If you keep all of these factors in mind, you can ensure that you pick the best harness or collar for your furry friend.
Is a Harness Better Than a Collar? Let's Review
So, is a harness better than a collar? In general, the facts would say, "Yes", since harnesses don't pose as much risk of injury to the dog as a traditional leash and collar. However, if your dog loves to try pulling your arm out of the socket, you might be better served using an old-fashioned leash and a good dog trainer to keep them under control.
Whether you opt for a harness or a collar, your pup will need some other ways to entertain themselves when not on their walk. Make sure to check out our shop today for toys that are sure to bring your dog joy!