Can You Walk a Puppy on a Collar?

Can You Walk a Puppy on a Collar?

Hello, dedicated puppy parents! Today, we’re tackling a question as fuzzy as your little furball: Can you walk a puppy on a collar? It’s a common query, especially for first-time dog owners who are navigating the maze of puppyhood with a leash in one hand and a bag of treats in the other.

Walking a puppy on a collar can be done, but it’s important to approach this carefully. Puppies are still developing, and their necks are particularly vulnerable. Using a collar for walking can put undue pressure on a puppy’s throat and trachea, especially if they tend to pull or lunge.

In general, a harness is usually a safer and more comfortable option for walking a puppy, particularly during the training phase and for breeds with specific health concerns.

The Pros and Cons of Using a Collar

When it comes to collars, they’re the classic choice for ID tags and quick bathroom breaks, but they come with considerations for young pups.

  • Pros: Collars are lightweight, easy to use for quick outings, and ideal for holding identification and vaccination tags. They’re also great for teaching your pup to wear something around their neck without much fuss.
  • Cons: Collars can put undue pressure on a puppy’s delicate neck, especially if they’re prone to pulling or haven’t mastered leash manners. This can lead to potential injuries or discomfort, particularly for breeds with sensitive tracheas or those at risk of neck strain.

Harnesses: A Safer Alternative?

Many veterinarians and trainers recommend harnesses for puppies as they distribute pressure more evenly across the chest and shoulders, reducing the risk of injury.

  • Pros: Harnesses offer better control without straining the neck and are excellent for training puppies to walk without pulling. They also come in various styles to suit different puppy sizes and shapes.
  • Cons: Harnesses can be more challenging to fit correctly, especially on a growing puppy, and some pups might take time to get used to wearing one.

How to Train Your Puppy to Use a Collar?

Training your puppy to use a collar is an important step in their development and helps ensure their safety and comfort. Here’s how to approach it effectively:

  1. Introduce the Collar Gradually: Start by letting your puppy smell and investigate the collar. Place it near their bedding or play area to get them accustomed to its presence.
  2. Wear Time: Put the collar on your puppy for short periods while they are calm or distracted, like during mealtime or play. Ensure it’s not too tight; you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and the puppy’s neck.
  3. Positive Reinforcement: Each time you put the collar on, reward your puppy with treats and praise. This helps them associate the collar with positive experiences.
  4. Increase Duration Gradually: Slowly extend the time your puppy wears the collar. Start with a few minutes and build up to longer periods as they become more comfortable.
  5. Monitor for Discomfort: Watch for signs of irritation or discomfort, such as scratching at the collar or trying to remove it. If these occur, check the fit and give your puppy breaks from wearing it.
  6. Distraction and Play: Engage your puppy in play or give them a favorite toy while they wear the collar. This helps shift their focus away from the collar to more enjoyable activities.
  7. Consistency: Consistently use the collar during daily routines, gradually making it a normal part of your puppy’s life.
  8. Leash Introduction: Once your puppy is comfortable wearing the collar, attach a lightweight leash and let them walk around indoors. This prepares them for future walks and further training.

By following these steps and maintaining patience and consistency, you’ll help your puppy adapt to wearing a collar safely and comfortably.

Training your puppy to use a harness is a gentle and effective way to prepare them for walks and adventures. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help your puppy get comfortable with a harness:

  1. Introduce the Harness Gradually: Start by letting your puppy see and sniff the harness. Place it near their play area or bedding to familiarize them with its presence. You can even use treats to create positive associations with the harness.
  2. Let Them Wear It Briefly: Once your puppy seems curious and not fearful of the harness, gently put it on them for a short period while they are calm, such as during mealtime or while they are engaged in a favorite activity. Ensure the harness is loose enough to be comfortable but not so loose that they can slip out.
  3. Positive Reinforcement: Reward your puppy with treats and praise every time you put the harness on. This helps build a positive connection between the harness and enjoyable experiences.
  4. Gradually Increase Duration: As your puppy becomes more comfortable with the harness, gradually increase the amount of time they wear it. Start with a few minutes and slowly extend this time, ensuring they remain comfortable and happy.
  5. Monitor for Signs of Discomfort: Keep an eye out for any signs of irritation or distress, such as scratching at the harness or trying to bite it off. If these occur, check the fit and adjust as necessary, and ensure to give breaks from wearing it.
  6. Distract and Engage: Engage your puppy in play or give them a toy while they wear the harness. This can help them forget they are wearing it and associate it with positive activities.
  7. Attach the Leash: Once your puppy is comfortable wearing the harness, attach a lightweight leash and let them explore indoors with it. This step helps them get used to the feeling of being guided without the pressure of an outdoor walk.
  8. First Walks: Start with short walks in a familiar, quiet environment to minimize stress and distractions. Keep these initial outings positive with lots of treats and encouragement.
  9. Consistency Is Key: Regular, consistent practice is crucial. Use the harness during daily routines and training sessions to help your puppy adjust fully.

By following these steps, you can help ensure that your puppy’s transition to using a harness is smooth, comfortable, and positive, setting the stage for many happy walks and adventures together.

When to Use a Collar for Puppies

  • Identification and Tags: Collars are essential for holding ID tags and registration information, which is crucial for the safety and identification of your puppy, especially when they are outdoors.
  • Mild-Mannered Puppies: If your puppy is calm and doesn’t pull or try to escape when on the leash, a collar might be sufficient for short walks or quick potty breaks.
  • Training Commands: Collars can be useful in early training stages for teaching basic commands like ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ where the leash is not under tension.

When to Use a Harness for Puppies

  • Preventing Neck Strain: Puppies, especially small breeds or those with delicate necks, benefit from harnesses because they distribute pressure across the chest and back, avoiding strain on the neck.
  • Puppies That Pull: For puppies that tend to pull during walks, a harness provides better control and reduces the risk of injury by preventing choking and strain.
  • Training and Socialization Walks: A harness is often better for longer walks, socialization outings, and situations where you need more control over the puppy, such as in crowded places or during training sessions.
  • Active and Energetic Puppies: For active puppies who are learning to walk on a leash, a harness can provide the necessary support and safety, allowing them to explore without the risk of neck injuries.


Choosing between a collar and a harness for your puppy depends on their individual needs, behavior, and your training goals. While collars are simple and convenient for certain scenarios, harnesses often provide a safer, more controlled walking experience for young, energetic pups.

QQPETS is the leading wholesale dog harness manufacturer of adjustable harnesses for dogs and other items that people may use when walking their dogs. Our goal is to make dog walking easy for pet owners by providing valuable accessories. We offer a variety of customization services including custom logos, custom graphics, custom products and more. If you want to start your dog products business, check out our website and contact us today.

    FAQ about puppy collar

    1.Is It OK to Use a Collar and Leash on a Puppy?

    Yes, it is okay to use a collar and leash on a puppy, but it should be done with care. Choose a lightweight, soft collar that fits properly, and introduce the leash gradually. Use gentle guidance rather than force, especially when your puppy is learning how to walk on a leash, to avoid any negative experiences or injuries.

    2.What Age Can a Puppy Have a Collar?

    Puppies can wear a collar from a young age, typically starting around 8 to 10 weeks old. Ensure the collar is adjustable to accommodate their rapid growth and check the fit regularly. Start with short periods of wearing the collar and gradually increase the duration as the puppy gets accustomed to it.

    3.Is It OK to Pull Puppy by Collar?

    It is not okay to pull a puppy by the collar. This can cause neck strain, injuries, or lead to negative associations with the collar and walking. If you need to redirect your puppy, do so gently and consider using a harness for better control and safety, especially during leash training.

    4.Are Collars Safe for Puppies?

    Collars are safe for puppies if used correctly. Choose a collar that is appropriate for the puppy’s size and weight, and ensure it is neither too tight nor too loose. A properly fitted collar should allow you to slip two fingers comfortably underneath. Avoid using the collar for corrections or as the primary means of control; a harness is often safer for walks and training to minimize the risk of injury. Regularly inspect the collar for wear and adjust the fit as your puppy grows.

    QQPETS Author

    Article by

    Kyra Luo

    Product Design Manager

    Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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    QQPETS Author

    Kyra Luo

    Product Design Manager

    Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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