Do Dogs Walk Better with a Harness or Collar?

Do Dogs Walk Better with a Harness or Collar?

Which is better, a dog collar or a harness? Isn’t that the question you always ponder when you’re out and about with your furry child? Let’s answer this secret!

Dogs often walk better with a harness than with a collar, especially if they tend to pull. A harness distributes pressure more evenly across the chest and shoulders rather than concentrating it on the neck, reducing the risk of injury and discomfort. This can lead to a more controlled and pleasant walking experience for both the dog and the owner. Harnesses also offer better control over strong or large dogs, making them ideal for training purposes. However, some well-trained dogs who do not pull might walk just as well with a properly fitted collar. Ultimately, the best choice depends on the individual dog’s behavior, size, and comfort.

Let’s continue this age-old topic and explore it a little deeper.

Why Choose Dog Collar?

Collars are the quintessential dog-walking accessory, a no-fuss solution for many. They’re great for dogs that are calm and well-trained on the leash, allowing for quick, gentle corrections if needed.

For the disciplined walker, a collar can be all you need to maintain control and communication.

But here’s the rub: collars aren’t for every dog. If your furry friend is a puller, has a sensitive neck, or is prone to respiratory issues, a collar might make walks more of a choke than a stroll. Pressure on the neck can exacerbate health issues and lead to discomfort or even injury.

What is the cons and prons about dog collar?

  • Advantages:
    • Convenience: Collars are easy to put on and take off, making them convenient for quick walks.
    • Identification: Collars hold identification tags, crucial for safety if a dog gets lost.
    • Training: For dogs that are well-behaved on walks, collars can be sufficient and allow for easier control in some training contexts.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Neck Strain: Collars can put pressure on the neck, especially for dogs that pull, leading to potential throat or spine injuries.
    • Limited Control: Provides less control over strong or large dogs who are pullers, which can make training more challenging.
    • Choking Hazard: Can cause choking or coughing in dogs with weak tracheas or respiratory issues.

What is the cons and prons about dog harness?

  • Advantages:
    • Reduced Neck Strain: Harnesses distribute pressure across the chest and back, reducing the risk of neck injuries and respiratory problems.
    • Improved Control: Offer better control over the dog, particularly helpful for pullers, making walks safer and more enjoyable.
    • Suitable for All Breeds: Especially beneficial for brachycephalic breeds (short-nosed dogs) and small breeds prone to tracheal collapse.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Fit and Adjustment: Requires proper fitting; a poorly fitted harness can cause discomfort or chafing.
    • Training Adjustment: Dogs may need time to adjust to a harness if they’ve always worn a collar.
    • Heat and Coverage: Some harnesses can be bulky and may not be suitable for very hot weather as they cover more of the dog’s body.

Why Choose Dog Harness?

Switching to a harness can be like turning a tug-of-war into a harmonious dance. Harnesses distribute pressure across the chest and back, reducing strain on the neck and giving you better control—especially with spirited or health-sensitive dogs.

A harness can transform walks for pullers, young pups, and dogs with health concerns into safer, more enjoyable experiences.

The beauty of a harness lies in its ability to provide guidance without discomfort. For dogs that are learning leash manners or those with a gusto for exploring every squirrel and scent, a harness allows you to steer without the risk of harming their throat or spine.

When is it better to use a dog harness?

  1. For Dogs that Pull: If your dog pulls on the leash, a harness is better as it distributes pressure across a larger area of the body, reducing strain on the neck and back.
  2. Training and Behavior Management: Harnesses can provide more control during training, especially for energetic or powerful dogs.
  3. Health Concerns: Dogs with respiratory issues, neck injuries, or breeds prone to tracheal collapse (like Pomeranians or Chihuahuas) should wear a harness to avoid further strain on the neck.
  4. Outdoor Adventures: For activities like hiking or running, a harness can offer better control and safety, especially in challenging terrains where you might need to assist your dog.
  5. Puppies: Harnesses are often a good choice for puppies as they are less likely to cause injury during the critical growth stages.

When is it better to use a dog harness?

  1. Identification and Safety: Collars are essential for holding ID tags, which are crucial if your dog gets lost.
  2. Well-trained Dogs on Walks: If your dog walks calmly without pulling, a collar can be sufficient and comfortable.
  3. Quick Outings: For quick bathroom breaks or in situations where your dog doesn’t need much guidance or control, a collar can be more convenient and less cumbersome.
  4. Indoor Use: Inside the house, a collar is often enough for attaching a leash quickly when needed, without the extra bulk of a harness.

How to train your dog to switch from a dog collar to a harness?

Switching from a dog collar to a harness can be a smooth transition if approached with patience and the right training techniques. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you train your dog to comfortably wear a harness:

  1. Introduce the Harness: Start by letting your dog sniff and investigate the harness. Place it near their sleeping area or feeding spot to allow them to get used to its presence and scent. This familiarity can help reduce any initial resistance.
  2. Create Positive Associations: Use treats, praise, and play to create positive associations with the harness. Every time your dog interacts with the harness, reward them. This could be touching it, allowing it to be placed near them, or eventually putting a part of their body through it.
  3. Gradually Wear the Harness: Once your dog seems comfortable around the harness, start putting it on them for short periods while indoors. Don’t fasten it at first; just let them wear it loosely during positive activities like feeding or playing. Gradually increase the time they wear it, and start fastening it so they can get used to the feel.
  4. Reward and Encourage: Every time your dog wears the harness, continue with positive reinforcement. Give treats, affection, and playtime to associate harness wearing with enjoyable experiences.
  5. Begin with Short Walks: Start taking your dog on short walks while wearing the harness. These initial outings should be in familiar, low-distraction areas to help your dog focus more on the feel of the harness rather than external stimuli.
  6. Monitor and Adjust: Pay close attention to any signs of discomfort or irritation. Ensure the harness is properly adjusted – not too tight, but secure enough that your dog can’t wriggle out. Make adjustments as needed.
  7. Practice Regularly: Consistency is key in getting your dog used to the harness. Regular practice will help solidify the harness as a normal part of their routine.
  8. Be Patient: Some dogs may take longer to adjust to a harness, especially if they have been using a collar for a long time. Be patient and continue with gradual training and positive reinforcement.

By following these steps, you can help ensure that your dog comfortably transitions from a collar to a harness, making walks safer and more enjoyable for both of you.


Choosing between a harness and a collar isn’t just about preference—it’s about understanding your dog’s needs and ensuring their walks are as safe and enjoyable as possible. By weighing the pros and cons and considering your dog’s unique characteristics, you can make an informed decision that leads to many happy trails.

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 dog collar and dog harness

  1. What is better for my dog, a harness or a collar? The better choice between a harness and a collar depends on your dog’s specific needs, behavior, and health. A harness is often recommended for dogs that pull on the leash, have respiratory or neck issues, or are engaged in vigorous activities like hiking. A collar is suitable for well-behaved dogs on walks and for holding identification tags.
  2. Do vets recommend collars or harnesses? Vets often recommend harnesses over collars, especially for dogs with neck or back problems, those prone to tracheal collapse, or brachycephalic breeds with breathing difficulties. However, they might suggest collars for well-trained dogs without such issues, mainly for identification purposes.
  3. Can a dog wear a harness all the time instead of a collar? It’s not recommended for a dog to wear a harness all the time. Constant wear can lead to skin irritation, discomfort, and even injury due to chafing, especially under the arms. Collars are more suitable for continuous wear, particularly because they hold ID tags.
  4. Are dogs calmer with a harness? A harness can contribute to a calmer walking experience because it offers more control and reduces the discomfort associated with pulling against a collar. This can make walks more pleasant and less stressful for the dog. However, a harness itself doesn’t directly calm a dog; it facilitates easier and safer control, which can lead to a more relaxed behavior during walks.

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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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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