Is a Collar or Harness Better for an Aggressive Dog?

Is a Collar or Harness Better for an Aggressive Dog?

If you’ve ever walked an aggressive dog, you know the experience can be more akin to a wild rodeo than a peaceful stroll. So, it begs the question, “Is a collar or harness better for an aggressive dog?” Choosing the right gear is not just about comfort—it’s about safety and control.

For aggressive dogs, a harness is often recommended over a collar. Harnesses provide better control and distribute pressure more evenly, which can help manage aggressive behavior without causing harm.

Let’s explore why this choice is vital for maintaining control and reducing stress for both the dog and the handler.

Understanding the Basics: Collar vs. Harness

Harnesses and collars serve different purposes when it comes to dog walking and training. While collars are good for well-behaved dogs, harnesses offer several advantages that make them a better choice for dogs that exhibit aggression or other challenging behaviors.

Why Choose a Harness for an Aggressive Dog:

  • Enhanced Control: A harness provides more control over the dog’s body compared to a collar. It allows you to guide and restrain the dog more effectively without putting pressure on the neck. This is particularly useful for managing sudden lunges or aggressive behavior, as you can steer the dog away from potential triggers without causing harm.
  • Reduced Risk of Injury: Aggressive dogs can harm themselves when they pull against a collar, potentially damaging their throat or neck. A harness distributes the force across a larger area of the dog’s body, reducing the risk of any injury related to pulling or sudden movements.
  • Behavioral Training Support: Harnesses can aid in behavioral training by discouraging pulling and promoting better leash manners. Some harnesses are designed with front leash attachments which can help redirect a dog’s attention back to the handler, making it easier to manage and train the dog in more appropriate behaviors.
  • Increased Comfort and Security: Harnesses often provide a snug and secure fit, which can help calm some dogs. The secure fit ensures that the dog cannot easily slip out of the harness, which can be a risk with collars, especially in tense situations.

Limitations of Using Collars:

  • Potential for Injury: Collars can increase the risk of neck injuries and worsen aggressive tendencies when the dog feels threatened or restrained.
  • Less Control: Collars give less control over the dog’s body, which can be problematic for handlers trying to manage a dog that is lashing out.

In summary, a harness is indeed a good choice for controlling an aggressive dog, providing better safety, control, and comfort for both the dog and handler. However, it’s essential to use it as part of a comprehensive training and behavior management strategy.

What’s the Best Harness for Aggressive Dogs

Choosing the right harness can make all the difference. Here are some features to look for in a harness for aggressive dogs:

1. Front-clip Harness:

  • Control and Training: Allows for steering the dog’s chest and shoulders, redirecting their focus towards you which can be useful in training.
  • Recommended Product: PetSafe Easy Walk Harness

2. Dual-clip Harness:

  • Versatility in Training: Offers attachment points both at the front and back, providing options for different training techniques.
  • Recommended Product: Ruffwear Front Range Harness

3. Padded Harness:

  • Extra Comfort: Helps prevent the harness from causing discomfort that could aggravate the dog’s aggressive behavior.
  • Recommended Product: Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness

4. Best Dog Harness

QQPETS Reflective No Pull Tactical Dog Harness is the best no pull dog harness. The QQPETS Reflective No Pull Tactical Dog Harness comes equipped with not one, but two leash attachment points—like having dual-climate control for your dog walks! One is on the back for those leisurely strolls when Fido is on his best behavior, and the other is on the chest for those turbo-pulled training sessions. This design offers versatility and enhanced control, making it a favorite among pet owners and trainers alike. The front clip is particularly handy for training purposes, especially with dogs that tend to pull. When they try to charge ahead, the front leash attachment gently steers them back towards the trainer, effectively putting a brake on their pulling spree. It’s like teaching your dog leash manners with a built-in ‘etiquette enforcer.’ Meanwhile, the back clip is perfect for relaxed walks with well-trained, non-pulling pooches, or when direct control over your dog’s direction isn’t necessary. It allows dogs to comfortably walk or run, moving freely and naturally. The dual-clip design allows for a smooth switch between training mode and comfortable walking mode without the hassle of changing harnesses. This makes it ideal for various walking environments and situations. The QQPETS Reflective No Pull Tactical Dog Harness is a multifunctional, effective training tool and a comfortable choice for everyday walks, making it a top pick for many pet parents. It’s suited for all stages of training and walking scenarios—like a Swiss Army knife for your dog’s outdoor adventures!

QQPETS No Pull Reflective dog harness

Is there any way to make my dog ​​less aggressive?

Reducing aggression in dogs involves a combination of training, behavior modification, and sometimes medical intervention. Here are several steps you can take to help make your dog less aggressive:

1. Professional Assessment

Consult with a professional dog trainer or a veterinary behaviorist. Aggression can stem from various causes such as fear, anxiety, territorial behavior, or even medical issues. A professional can help identify the root cause of the aggression and develop a tailored treatment plan.

2. Consistent Training

Implement consistent training techniques:

  • Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog for calm and non-aggressive behavior. Treats, praise, and play can reinforce good behavior.
  • Desensitization: Gradually expose your dog to the source of aggression in a controlled manner, increasing exposure as the dog becomes less reactive.
  • Counter-Conditioning: Change the dog’s emotional response to a previously aggressive trigger by associating the presence of the trigger with something positive, like treats or toys.

3. Increase Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Aggression can sometimes be a result of pent-up energy or boredom. Providing regular and varied exercise and mental stimulation can help alleviate these issues. Activities could include:

  • Long walks
  • Interactive play sessions
  • Puzzle toys
  • Agility training

4. Create a Structured Environment

Establish a routine and structure in your dog’s life to help them feel more secure and less anxious. A predictable environment can reduce stress, which may contribute to aggressive behavior.

5. Avoid Punishment

Avoid using punishment to address aggressive behavior. Punishment can increase anxiety and fear, potentially making aggression worse. Focus on positive reinforcement and consistent, gentle corrections.

6. Medical Evaluation

Consult with a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues that could be contributing to aggressive behavior. Conditions like thyroid dysfunction, pain, or neurological disorders can lead to aggression.

7. Use Appropriate Equipment

Ensure you use safe and suitable equipment like a well-fitted harness to manage and control your dog during walks, especially if the dog is large or particularly strong.

8. Socialization

Carefully manage and continue socialization with other dogs and people, as appropriate. Controlled, positive interactions can help improve social skills and reduce aggression.

9. Calming Aids

Consider using calming aids such as pheromone diffusers, calming treats, or anxiety wraps, especially in known stressful situations or environments.

10. Ongoing Support and Adjustment

Aggression can be a complex behavior to modify, requiring ongoing commitment and possibly adjustments in strategies over time. Regular follow-ups with a professional can help ensure you are on the right track and make necessary adjustments to your approach.

Each dog is unique, and the approach to managing aggression may vary. It’s crucial to remain patient and consistent, and to seek professional help when needed.


For aggressive dogs, harnesses are generally a safer and more effective option than collars. They provide enhanced control, reduce the risk of injury, and can aid significantly in behavior management. Choosing the right type and consistently using positive training techniques can help you and your dog enjoy safer, more peaceful walks.

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

Is a Collar or Harness Better for a Reactive Dog?

For reactive dogs, harnesses are generally recommended over collars:

  • Safety and Comfort: Harnesses distribute pressure across a larger area of the dog’s body, reducing the risk of injury associated with sudden lunges or pulls, which is especially important for reactive dogs.
  • Better Control: Harnesses provide better overall control of the dog’s body, making it easier to manage sudden movements or aggressive reactions without causing strain on the neck.

Is It Easier to Control a Dog with a Harness or Collar?

  • Harnesses are typically easier for controlling a dog, particularly if they are reactive or tend to pull. A harness gives you control over the dog’s shoulders and torso, which is more effective and safer for managing and redirecting a dog’s movement than controlling by the neck with a collar.

Do Dog Trainers Recommend Collars or Harnesses?

Dog trainers often recommend using harnesses, especially for training puppies, dogs that pull, or dogs with respiratory or tracheal issues. For reactive dogs, trainers usually recommend a no-pull harness with front and back leash attachments which provide additional control options:

  • Front Clip: Useful for redirecting a dog’s attention back towards the handler, crucial for managing reactive behaviors.
  • Back Clip: Offers more natural walking experience once the dog is better trained or for less reactive moments.

However, some trainers might use collars, particularly in specific training scenarios or for dogs that respond well to minimal control. The choice can depend on the training method and the individual dog’s response.

Is It Better to Walk a Dog on Collar or Harness?

  • Walking on a Harness: Generally, it’s better to walk a dog on a harness, especially if they are reactive or pull. Harnesses are safer, as they avoid putting pressure on the dog’s neck and throat, which is crucial for preventing injury and reducing stress and reactivity.
  • Walking on a Collar: May be suitable for dogs that are well-trained to walk without pulling or reacting aggressively. Collars can be convenient for quick outings or for dogs that are comfortable with minimal control equipment.

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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