Collar versus Harness: Which one is better for your dog?

Choosing a collar or harness can sometimes be frustrating, especially if you are shopping for one at your local pet shop. You might hear one service staff saying one thing and another recommending a different product. After all, it really boils down to the individual needs of you and your dog!

However, it’s always a smart idea to do your homework before visiting your local pet stores for the ideal product. Let’s compare between the various types of collars and harnesses, so you can make an informed decision and choose the best option that both suits you and your dog’s needs.

 

Collar (aka “Flat” “Rolled” or “Slip Collar”)

These are the most basic / traditional type of collar and an easy way to attach visual identification. These collars are the most convenient as it fastens with a plastic clip or buckle.

Pros:

  • Ideal for day to day use for displaying visual identification
  • Easy to put on
  • Comfortable to wear

Cons:

  • Not ideal for training
  • Puts pressure on your dog’s neck if they pull  
  • Creates eye pressure

 

Martingale Collars (aka “Humane Choke Collars” or “Training Collars”)

Martingale collars are similar to the flat/rolled collar, the plastic clip/buckle is replaced by a half-check chain. They are easy to put on and tightens when the dog pulls and therefore provide more control over the dog without the chocking effect of a slip collar.

Pros:

  • Great for training
  • Easy to put on and it’s stylish
  • Pressure is distributed around the neck instead of a single point such as the trachea

Cons:

  • Not meant to be worn all day
  • Not meant to be used during play times as it can cause injury when left unattended
  • Fur might get caught between chain

 

H Harness (aka “Front Attachment Harness”)  

These types of harnesses have a leash attachment at the dog’s chest. It eliminates pressure on a dog’s delicate trachea. Many trainers use this type of harness to lessen the dog’s pulling. It gives the owner control over the direction of the dog and provide the owner with directional steering.

 

Pros:

  • Ideal for training as it can provide directional steering
  • Discourages pulling
  • Ideal for dogs with delicate throats

Cons:

  • May be uncomfortable for the dog versus wearing a collar
  • Not ideal for long walk/hikes

 

Step-in Harness

The step-in harness is ideal for dogs that like to hike and with minimal behavioural issues. It’s easy to put on and take off. It also reduces pressure on the throat and comfortable for long walks. The 2 D rings on top provides a very secure attachment point for the leash.  

Pros:

  • Ideal for day to day use and long walks
  • Easy to put on
  • Distributes pull pressure about the chest and body as opposed to the neck

Cons:

  • May be uncomfortable for the dog versus wearing a collar
  • Not recommended for dogs with behavioural issues  

 

There are definitely pros and cons in each product category but we always recommend dogs to wear a collar for visual and identification purposes. But it really comes down to you and your dog’s lifestyle! You can always test different products and find the optimal one.