New dog parents or not, we sometimes wonder if it’s better to use a collar or a harness when walking our four-legged friends. With so many options saturating the market these days, it’s kind of hard to know which way to go. At the end of the day, the answer depends mostly on your dog and their individual traits.
So, let’s look at the pros and cons of both the collar and the harness. In this way, you would have a clear idea if wearing the harness or collar is better for dog walking and other doggie activities.
All About the Collar
In trained canines, very rarely do we see harnesses being used by pet owners. These well-behaved pets usually don gorgeous collars with their names, as well as their owner’s name and contact details. Still, there are a few important things you need to learn about collars before having your pets wear them.
Possible Problems With the Collar
When it comes to collars, always be cautious about the following:
1. Requires the Right Leash
Whether your pet’s using a collar or a harness, the wrong type of leash will always have negative implications. It could result in an ill-fitting collar that could be causing your loyal companion emotional or physical pain without you realizing.
You may put on your dog’s buckle collar correctly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everything’s going to be fine once the leash is attached. The neck area of your pooch is more sensitive than you think, so make sure to get him or her a high-quality leash and collar that match functionally.
2. Walking Pullers or Lungers
Collars might not be the best for dogs who pull and lunge often. As mentioned, dogs’ necks are quite sensitive. Thus, abrupt pulls on their trachea must definitely be avoided.
Not to mention, these harsh movements could also impact their spinal cord and vertebral discs negatively. If this pulling is painful, then why don’t the dogs stop doing it?
Well, that’s simply because they’re dogs and don’t operate the same way as humans behaviorally. Canines won’t necessarily react to pain or injury the way humans do.
3. Back Injuries
A neck collar can cause all sorts of problems for your four-legged friend. Using it can lead to dogs walking with a forced posture, which puts excessive pressure on their back when they tug. Aside from injuring a dog’s vertebrae, a neck collar may also cause muscle strain and lower back injuries.
4. Not for Behavior Correction
Collars are not designed for behavior correction. You may argue that your dogs turned out fine after being trained in their collars by your parents, but that still doesn’t make it right.
Keep in mind that when a dog pulls on its neck-collar lead, and you respond by pulling back in the opposite direction, you are actually hurting the dog. Specifically, you are putting pressure on the nerves in the dog’s neck. This can result in cramps that reach the dog’s legs.
Worst case scenario when it comes to correction pulls is your dog develops neurological problems and spinal cord injuries.
5. Joint Pains
Tugging on a leash attached to the neck collar of your loyal companion can alter his or her posture. This then leads to an unequal distribution of weight across your dog’s body, which causes joint pain. When ignored, these joint pains may develop into chronic issues.
6. Human Injuries
It’s not just your pooch that suffers from collar leads; you do too. Remember that every time your dog pulls or lunges forward, you’re also forced to walk in an unnatural posture. If this keeps going, then you could suffer from back problems eventually.
Also, you’ll want to be careful about not wrapping your fingers too tightly around the leash. Your dog could pull forward abruptly, trapping your fingers and causing bruising around the area.
7. Breathing Problems
Dogs are more prone to getting strangled when using neck-collar leads. Since the item focuses too much on restraining or correcting your dog through his or her neck, it restricts the dog’s oxygen supply to the brain. This is why dogs pant more excessively when you walk them in their collars.
8. Eye Issues
Glaucoma occurs when fluid from the eyes isn’t drained sufficiently. This could eventually blind your dog when left untreated.
The intraocular pressure resulting in glaucoma can be caused by excess strain on your dog’s neck. Pulling on a neck-collar lead also aggravates this condition, putting your dog’s eye health and overall health at risk.
9. Changes in Behavior
Even if injury or illness does not result from collar use, your dog can still end up with behavioral problems. Pulling on an ill-fitting collar can be irritating to a dog and may cause him or her to display aggressive behavior towards you or other people.
10. Chronic Pain
As mentioned, behavioral issues can result from dogs’ pain because neck-collar leads are constantly being tugged while walking. This pain then transcends to other aspects of the dog’s life, causing him or her to bark uncontrollably or break things inside the house.
The lead strain doesn’t just cause physical discomfort, but it can completely change the way your dog is.
The Harness Wins!
According to People for Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA, as far as safety and comfort are concerned, harnesses are the best way to walk your four-legged companion. This accessory doesn’t press too much on your dog’s neck. It also makes it easier for them to get out of harm’s way.
The biggest difference between the neck collar and the harness that makes the latter immune to the above challenges lies in pressure dispersal. The harness disperses pressure evenly throughout the dog’s body, reducing strain on their back and neck. It’s the ideal tool for training because it let’s your dog recognize who the boss is without getting hurt.
There is a wide assortment of harnesses in the market. They come in different styles, shapes, and sizes to meet your dog’s specific needs. Therefore, make sure to do your research before making a decision.