By Kim Rain
Published: 01/22/2022, edited: 02/28/2023
Dogs love walks! And it’s easy to see why. Walks provide exercise and mental stimulation, and are the best way for your dog to catch up on the dog news in your neighborhood or local park. But a walk without the proper equipment can be frustrating for both dog and walker, and could even be downright dangerous.
Whether training a new puppy or walking an adult dog, most pet parents will be faced with the question of which is better for walking their dog- a harness or a collar? While they are both furbulous options for pet safety, each one has various pros and cons that should be considered.
Read on to find out what harnesses and collars have to offer dogs and their owners, and which one may be best for fun, safe and exciting walks that will leave you both barking for more.
Dog collars have been the standard dog accessory for as long as dogs have been domesticated, which stretches back some 14,000 - 29,000 years ago, and there’s a good reason why. Collars originally consisted of a leather strap with some kind of metal fastener or hook to secure them around the neck, and were an instant way to control a dog. They also performed a function of ownership, and showed which dogs belonged to someone and which were strays.
Today, collars perform much the same functions, and give pet parents an easy and convenient place to attach a leash for walks. But are they good for walks? Are they good for your dog? Let’s compare the pros and cons to find out.
While collars certainly enjoy a very long history, harnesses aren’t very new either. Originally used with working dogs to help them pull sleds or do other jobs, harnesses strap around the chest and distribute more of the force when pulled. In this way, any pulling or leading from the leash affects the upper body instead of the neck, which is helpful for dogs that have certain medical conditions, or who pull too hard. And while for some dogs, you’ll need to train them to walk with a harness, a lot of them walk with ease from the start.
So, are harnesses good for dogs? Let’s find out.
As you can see, both collars and harnesses are good choices to use, but they also carry reasons why they may not be the best choice for every dog. So, which one is better for walks?
To answer this question, you may need to ask a few of your own about your dog, their physical condition and their behavior, as this isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.
If you have a medium to large dog who is healthy, free of any neck or spine issues, and is so well trained that they never pull, then a collar would be a simple and affordable choice for walks. A quick clip of the leash onto a collar that stays on all the time affords a walk at any moment, and a well-trained pup will make the stroll easy on their body, and on yours!
However, most dogs don’t fit in that category. Many medium to large sized dogs can have genetic orthopedic and joint issues that can involve their neck or back, and most dogs pull until they are trained not to.
So, which is better for a walk, a harness or leash? Ultimately, clipping the leash to a harness is the best way to safely walk most dogs, as it gives you more control over the walk and reduces any injuries to your dog, regardless of their behavior. But having a collar on at the same time gives you security in knowing that if your dog gets loose, they can be identified and returned to you easily. That peace of mind means a lot, and is well worth the effort of having both.
For those of you with small, mini or toy pups, these dogs benefit even more from a harness during walks, but they may have less space on their bodies for an additional collar. Finding a harness that offers a place to attach ID tags is the best choice for these little pooches.
Book an in-home training session with Wag! today to help with your dog's leash manners and make sure every walk is furrific.
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