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To the Rescue: Harness vs. Collar

With all his wheezing, snorting, and coughing on a normal basis, North can't handle the additional pressure of walking while wearing a collar. I only buy harnesses and strongly recommend them for both training purposes and for safety, security, and comfort. A harness distributes the weight around a dog's body as he pulls, preventing the choking effect that collars can have on the more vigorous tuggers – they're actually at risk of neck and trachea injuries while simply having fun! Add to that, there's no worry that my precious pet will slip out of my hands or out of his harness as we spot birds and squirrels on daily walks –
and that's all the more reason for his extensive collection!

Join The Conversation
minhoca minhoca 9 years
and some dogs.. like my Homer (half Basset) have necks bigger than their heads. so, yes assuming that ppl who use harnesses are not training their dogs is a bit much. Homer's always used a harness, and wears a collar mainly for his tags. He can use a leash, but is fully aware that he can slide out of it. His wrinkles hang low and thick around his neck, and to tighten the color cuts into his skin, etc. Say "outside?" to him, grab a leash, and he'll go along ... he'll let you put it on and even walk him out, but all it takes is one quick stop and reverse for him to go see what that cool smell was.. and he slides right out. He's quite fond of his harness and we use a cheapie sliding harness with padding around the loops (he used to get a rash from the non padded ones, too, wakeupandora). I take the harness out and I just hold the loop out, he walks his head into it, lifts one leg at a time as I drop the loops, and we're off in seconds.
baltimoregal baltimoregal 9 years
I agree- victoriavon is being a bit harsh. Every dog is different and sometimes a harness is better. Some are easier to walk with a harness (especially for us short people). And some dogs, like some people, are rebellious no matter what. To say the owners/walkers aren't "doing the work" is not fair.
cageyme cageyme 9 years
Joe uses a Halti. He tried a Gentle Leader but it rubbed his nose raw in a couple of places. Joe is actually a very good leash walker, but we use the Halti anyway because he is so big that it gives ME more confidence that I could handle him in the event he freaks out over something and tries to make a run for it. Both our vet and our dog trainer recommended the Halti. :dog:
wakeupandora wakeupandora 9 years
my basset hound breaks out all over his chest when i put him in a harness. i recently bought a martingale but i think he's TOO much of a strong pull for it. are there harnesses made specifically for bassets and they're heavy, strange shape?
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
vistoriavon, I think it's a little bit harsh to say that harnesses are for people that don't train their dogs. My pup wears a harness, not because of pulling, but because collars hurt him. I had him wear a collar for a while and it actually rubbed the hair off his neck. Now before you start telling me what I did wrong, I took him to the vet and asked what was going on. He said some dogs have more sensitive hair and that the collar was just rubbing him wrong. So not only that but I like the harness better. It has nothing to do with him pulling. I think saying that harnesses are for lazy pet owners is completely irresponsible. Everyone has their reasons. If people don't want to teach their dog to walk right next to them that is their right, you can't tell people how to raise their animals anymore than you can tell them how to raise their children. My dog doesn't pull, but I don't always force him to walk right beside me either, he's an explorer and that's what walks are about for us.
Zero_Cool Zero_Cool 9 years
My boxer Zero is 70 pounds of pure muscle... and before we got the harness, we were putting the leash on his collar. He pulled and pulled and pulled and didn't even care that he would choke himself. It got to the point where we didn't even want to walk him because of it. Then one day we got him a harness, took him for a walk, and didn't have our arms pulled ONCE. I think he hates that it puts pressure on his chest when he pulls, so he won't do it. It was the best thing I have ever bought him. We now enjoy walks numerous times a day!
brandi797 brandi797 9 years
Most dogs who pull on the leash will continue to do so with a harness...and even may pull more! To teach more appropriate leash-walking behavior, many veterinarians (particularly behavior specialists) recommend using a head collar - the "Gentle Leader" is the preferred brand. Head collars must be fitted properly else it can be uncomfortable; follow the enclosed instructions carefully. It is an excellent alternative to choke chains or prong collars, which teach your dog not to pull by inflicting discomfort around the neck. In some breeds, this can actually exacerbate problems with the trachea! Head collars put pressure on the top of the muzzle and the back of the neck, mimicking natural interdog behavior within a pack. Dogs should still wear a regular neck collar to carry identification tags (and extra bling!). As a veterinarian myself, I have used a headcollar on my pets for the past 15 years. I leave mine attached to the leash; every time my Beanie sees it, she knows its time to go out for some fun! Check out this link:
sara-lyn sara-lyn 9 years
i have to agree that harness are not for all dogs. i have a 115 lb rottie and 65 lb amstaff that would drag me down the street if i used harnesses on them. i use prong collars on them both and and able to control them while we are on are daily runs. harnesses do not seem very practical for very large dogs.
victoriavon victoriavon 9 years
Harnesses are for people that haven't done the work to train their dog to walk politeely on a leash; which is a requirement for walking your dog in public. Both harnesses and flexi leads TEACH YOUR DOG TO PULL! Haltis and other head harnesses can injure you dogs neck, they are pointless and counterproductive to keelping your dog from pulling. I have seen people walk their dogs on flexi lead with a head harness on, baffling, sending the dogs vastly mixed messages! Some dogs for breed or health reasons (as the Bulldog mentioned here -awesome dogs btw) may require harnesses. But do your dog a favor, make it a good canine citizen and get the training to teach your dog to walk on a leash! Slip collars, prong collars, and the wonderful martingale collar, all used correctly are wonderful aids for teaching your dog to walk politely. The dog whisperer knows what he is talking about! As a life long dog owner, I have made all the mistakes already! I have four dogs that walk together, each on their own martingale leash/collar combo, they walk politely and respond to both my voice and tension on the leash. It was work, but worth it when I am able to take my well behaved group out together!
guineapiggin9 guineapiggin9 9 years
Angus hates his harness...I bought him one before we brought him home knowing that pugs face some of the above like bostons when it comes to collars. However, he will not tolerate his harness. He walks jsut fine on his collar, however, and doesn't pull, so I just let him use that.
Jivespeaker Jivespeaker 9 years
Most harnesses encourage pulling. This one doesn't:
simplysorry simplysorry 9 years
It truly depends on dog and owner. I would never use a harness on my dog, who weighs in at 155 and is a known puller. We started him off in a prong, and that had mediocre results. But overtime we became more assertive and he realized where he stands in our family. So now we are down to a regular nylon collar. He sometimes will stop and sniff something and we'll tug to get him going, but it's been awhile since he actually pulled.
beram1220 beram1220 9 years
and also calm and assertive definitely doesn't always work (maybe with some dogs but not all) and personally I am not a fan of the dog whisperer. There are some nasty allegations out about him that makes me not trust him.
beram1220 beram1220 9 years
I use the gentle leader harness for my pitbull because he pulls like crazy! I have tried everything and found that this one is the most comfortable for him and he doesn't pull at all! It has a ring in the front chest area so it kinda turns him when he walks instead of giving him more leverage when the ring is on the back.
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
North is ridiculously cute, btw.
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
I use harnesses because of the small trachea thing too. Such is life when you own a bulldog. Auggie is a major puller, but I'll just pull right back and that usually keeps him in check for a while.
pugglelover pugglelover 9 years
I have two puggles (pug/beagle) and I use just there collars. If you watch the Dog whisperer and u are calm assertive your dogs won't pull any more. My dogs are proof of that.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
I put my kitties in a harness, but they're too scared to go outside. My old kitty, Truman Capote, LOVED his harness. We'd take little walks together...
red4bonez red4bonez 9 years
harness is good. I started both of my dogs on harnness and they dont pull now so I could have them on collars. I like the harness more but my dogs seem to like the collar better. I think some dogs just like collars and some harness. Now there are different collars that I would never put on my dogs. Oh and I like those things that go around the mouth. My friend has that on her dog and it is so mnuch easier to controll him ( akita).
CurvatudeBlog CurvatudeBlog 9 years
i have tried them both. my dog weighs 125lbs and he is a pitt/shepherd mixx who just loves to pull. he used to pull so much with the harness that it started to cut him!! i know people think that they are somewhat barbaric but we have had to most success with the prong training collars.
mnp mnp 9 years
When I first got Fuji, I attached the leash to his collar and he refused to walk. He sat down and didn't move. I just thought that Fuji didn't like to be walked. (I was a new at being a pet owner and didn't know what a harness was! Oops.) I didn't realize that he didn't like the leash at his collar but anyways, after much research through the internet, I bought him a harness. Now, Fuji will bring the harness over to me when he wants to go outside. Walking dogs with a harness is so much better, you don't feel so bad when you tug on it.
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 9 years
Harnesses have their uses, and I occasionally use one on my Frenchie (has the same potential for breathing problems as a Boston terrier), but it is much harder to train a dog to walk politely (next to you, not pulling ahead) on a leash if you use a harness. It gives them leverage to pull against you with their whole body weight. I think dogs should ideally learn to behave on both a harness and a collar. If you're in the market for a harness, you should check out the Puppia brand - seem to be very comfortable and don't irritate the skin where a standard harness tends to rub.
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