Dog Harness Vs. A Dog Leash – Pros And Cons

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Not sure if you should transit your dog's collar to harness or vice versa? Read on to see which one is the best.

Is your dog the best dog behaved on the leash? As a dog owner, you know how important it is to have the right tools to help you around everyday dog duties.

Moreover, you must admit that even simple items such as a dog bowl can make your day, or lead to a whole day disaster.

For example, if you have a large and tall dog breed such as a Great Dane, you won’t ever choose a low standing dog bowl, because he needs the one that can be set taller, so he can eat slowly in a high of his shoulders, so he can eat a bite after bite.

This simple tool, such as an adequate dog bowl, can help your dog stay away from bloat, a life-threatening condition that commonly occurs in large breeds.

So, if you can understand the importance of a dog bowl, then you can understand why the right grooming tools are imperative and how a leash can help you have calm and responsible walks.

  • Is your dog the most polite canine citizen in walks? Never pulling or jumping?
  • Or he does his best to wriggle out of his collar?

This is common for many dogs, especially while they are puppies, and just discovering the world around them. Plus, some hate that feeling of having something around their neck.

Since dogs have a mind of their own, leashes were invented to provide calm and safe walks among other animals and people – this was in a way like an ultimate weapon to keep both humans and animals in the same place.

Using it makes it easier to control and manage dogs of any size, from Pomeranian, over Basenji, to Rottweiler.

The same applies to dog harness – because it all comes down to control, to manage your dog.

Both leash and harnesses have their advantages and downsides that dog owners know and based on them they choose to focus on having one.

Let’s see what are the main differences, and how you and your dog can benefit from using both leash and harnesses.

Dog Leash And Collars

Go to the nearest dog park and you shall see dogs wearing collars mostly.

Collars are the typical solutions that well spread among dogs. They do come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and sizes.

Collar always goes around the neck, and it always has a leash attached to it that enables owners to manage the dog’s moves.

With collars, it’s important to choose the safe one and the comfortable one. A traditional collar is always a good option for dogs who don’t jump, pull, or zig-zag around.

So, for calmer dogs, collars work nicely, even if you plan to spend hours outside. Never buy a collar for your dog without him being able to test him.

If you need help, ask a pet store employee or your veterinarian for the best recommendation.

If your dog has a slim neck, you should do your research on the slip collar, since these collars are specially designed for dogs that are prone to slipping out.

A collar is also a great way to store ID tags, which is crucial in case your dog runs away.

This is especially common during the holiday season, or when a firework occurs on the 4th of July – in fact, the 4th of July is the busiest day for shelters.

If your dog ever gets lost becuase he is scared of loud noise, make sure that you check local shelters first.

When Dog Collar Isn’t The Best Option?

What may work perfectly for one dog, may be troublesome for others.

For example, if your dog is more of wild nature, and likes to pull hard and be the one who walks you, a collar isn’t the best option.

First of all, if your dog constantly pulls you and loves to be the one on the front, make sure that you adress these issues, and take some extra training sessions, because your dog might have some destructive behaviors issues, and needs a more structured routine.

Make sure that when getting a dog you understand what breed of dog fits you, your work-home-life balance, and be honest on how much time you can put into training and socializing your canine.

On the other hand, if your dog just likes pulling when outside, a collar isn’t the best option. This is because too much pulling can cause neck injury and even choke him.

This is the main reason why serious hikers choose harnesses because they don’t want to see their dog hanging over a cliff or increase the potential for neck-breaking.

Still, a collar is effective when training your puppy – so make sure that you use it as recommended.

Choose the right one for your canine, and avoid getting the choke and prong collars that are designed to cause discomfort when your dog tries to pull hard.

Yes, these collars are created for training purposes, but if you don’t have dog experience already this can be a very dangerous tool.

Remember: when training your dog you should focus on positive reinforcement and not on enchanting harmful training methods.

Also, collars aren’t suitable for tiny dogs, because they usually cannot fit correctly and your dog can easily slip out.

Dog Harness

A dog harness is a great tool for strong-pulling dogs. This simple item allows you to have more control over your dog.

Moreover, the harness won’t put pressure on the neck if your dog starts pulling.

The harness is strapped on the chest and shoulders, which reduces the strain on the neck and the back.

This is also one of the most effective ways to discourage pulling, and can wear dogs out faster.

Harnesses are also great if you have an extra small or large canine. They come in all shapes and sizes and definitely put less pressure on the neck.

Plus, the harness is a more suitable option if your dog has any kind of medical condition in the neck or airways.

When Dog Harness Isn’t The Best Option?

The harness requires a bit more due diligence because you want to reduce the risk of injury.

Some injuries may occur, such as chaffed skin around the elbow, which is common if the harness isn’t properly attached.

This can lead to further skin irritation if left untreated – always double-check if the harness isn’t rubbing the dog’s skin.

This should be taken seriously if your dog has long hair because you want to avoid hair getting stuck in the buckles.

Pros And Cons Check List

Pros Of Collars

  • Collars are super convenient
  • Collars hold ID tags perfectly
  • Collars are a good first choice for basic obedience training
  • Collars are extremely adjustable

Cons Of Collars

  • If you put pressure on the collar, dog may feel the need to pull
  • If your dog continually pull, he may permanently damage his neck
  • In some cases, from pulling trachea may occur
  • Dogs can easily slip out of this type of collar on walks, which can be dangerous near dangerous roads

Pros Of Harness

  • Harnesses can significantly reduce pulling
  • Harnesses do not create extra pressure on a dog’s neck
  • They are secure

Cons Of Harness

  • Harnesses aren’t as convinient as collars are
  • Some harnesses don’t have a place to carry a tag
  • Harnesses can be uncomfortable

When You Should Use A Collar

Both collar and harness can be used in specific situations.

For example, a collar may be convenient to use when you are going out for a brisk walk, or stepping outside quickly – like when it’s raining because we all know that walking your dog on a rainy day is a whole another level.

If your veterinarian approves it, you can go on longer walks using a collar. Avoid using it when on hikes.

The harness is a great addition to your running time, longer hiking, and biking.

If you are an outdoor person and love having your dog outdoor with you, make sure that you secure your dog the best possible way.

Every activity demands specific harness handling:

  • Walking. Place the harness to clip in front or back.
  • Running. Make sure that you clip the harness in front for slowpokes. If your canine is more of a track star then clip harness in the back.
  • Hiking. Going off-leash? If so, make sure that you keep the harness on to clip back in for the walk to the trailhead. This way you will have more control in unexpected situations.
  • Biking. For this activity, make sure that you adjust the harness in such a way so that the leash attaches over the shoulders to decrease the risk of tangling (which can potentially lead to some horrible accidents that you would want to avoid).

The Bottom Line

There are many factors that you should take into consideration to determine whether to use a collar or a harness.

The best option will depend on your dog’s health, age, temperament, exercise needs, and finally, your vet’s recommendation.

Make sure that you consult your veterinarian to get the best answer possible.

Your veterinarian is the only person that has enough knowledge to help you make any dog-related decision that can directly affect his healhty, happens, and longevity. Choose wisely.