Is a Dog Harness Better Than a Collar?

Zigzagging, jumping, pulling, and struggling out of his collar are things your dog will never do on a leash—that is, until he does.

In case you can’t trust your dog to fully behave just yet, it would be better to use a harness instead of a collar. This accessory makes it easier for you to control and manage dogs with even the poorest leash manners.

On the other hand, once your dog has proven to be trustworthy, no accessory can better mark that achievement than a collar. Let’s talk about the collar and harness in detail, so you can decide which one is more suited to your loyal companion. 

The Collar

Collars are the go-to for dog walking. They come in a wide range of styles, some undoubtedly better than others. There are styles that are meant to train dogs by purposely causing discomfort or constricting them when they pull. Of course, these aren’t the types of collars we recommend since there are other training options that make use of positive reinforcement.

Traditional collars that are non-constricting are ideal for dogs with respiratory issues. These pooches aren’t likely to pull on their leashes, given their condition, so a choke and prong collar is hardly necessary. Non-constricting collars are generally more comfortable for dogs, too, so you shouldn’t worry about leaving them on all the time.

If we’re talking about all-day use, a harness usually isn’t the most comfortable. Furthermore, if your dog has long, coarse fur, then it’ll likely get caught up in a harness. These are usually non-issues where collars are concerned.

You also have collars designed for tiny breeds or pups, whose necks are prone to slipping out of the usual collars. They’re called slip collars, and they close around the dog’s neck without choking when the pooch backs up or pulls. Still, hard-pulling dogs run a higher risk of getting neck injuries when using a collar. In situations like this, it would be better to opt for a harness. 

The Harness

Harnesses are steadily gaining traction in the industry as dog parents become more aware of the benefits they bring to the table. Not only are they great training tools for puppies learning to behave, but they also allow walkers to have a higher degree of control.

Harnesses are designed to discourage pulling from even the most excitable pooches. They prevent your dogs from leaping up on unsuspecting strangers without choking them. Unlike collars, harnesses are also less likely to get tangled up in leashes.

The harness scores yet another point over the collar in terms of being the accessory that’s more unlikely to cause injury. This makes it an even more important consideration for toy breeds with delicate necks. They’re also less restrictive for breeds prone to developing respiratory conditions, like French bulldogs and pugs.

The slightest sign of breathing problems means the harness is your best choice. Some collars can result in the bulging of certain breeds’ eyeballs if too much pressure is applied.

You can either attach a harness from the front or from the back. Harnesses that attach from the front are more ideal for larger canines, as they typically lead from the front. On the other hand, back-attaching harnesses are ideal for more disciplined dogs since they don’t provide the guidance necessary for training.

Harnesses that attach from the back are also perfect for smaller breeds since they are more pressure-sensitive. Front-attaching harnesses are usually too painful for them.

Should You Use Either or Neither?

According to, whether you use a harness or a collar, it’s crucial that your pooch always wears an identification tag.

There’s no telling when something can distract and frighten your dog, causing him to suddenly pull on his leash and escape your grip. You might not be able to catch up with your speeding canine. Since accidents happen, you’ll want to consider microchips as part of your solution. Still, they aren’t the be-all and end-all solution to your training problems, either.

Do your research on the more effective dog-walking training methods. If your dog is both a jumper and a puller, then both the collar and harness won’t do him any good. Switching between these two accessories won’t prevent your dog from doing any of these things.

In case your dog doesn’t do well with a harness or a collar, explore other options. One example is the head halter, which wraps and around the head and muzzle. Despite its structure, it’s not meant to prevent barking or restrict mouth movement in any way. This is simply another effective way to manage a distractible dog better.


Whatever accessory you decide on, make sure to study how it’s effectively used for training your particular breed of dog before making a purchase. Also, let your dog have a say on the decision, too. Perhaps your pooch has a preference? You never know!

Emma Thompson

Hi, I'm Emma Thompson. Welcome to The Pet Town! I'm a Pet lovers like you and please feel free to get in touch with any questions. Enjoy your stay!

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