Is a Collar or Harness Better for Dog Walking?

Is a Collar or Harness Better for Dog Walking?

Ever stood in the pet aisle, collar in one hand, harness in the other, wondering which is the golden ticket to a perfect walk? Well, you’re not alone! Let’s dive into the collar vs. harness showdown!

A harness is generally the better choice for dog walking. While collars are essential for identification and suitable for well-behaved, calm dogs on quick outings, the safety, control, and comfort advantages of harnesses make them the preferred choice for regular and extended dog walks.

Pros and cons of dog collars

Collars are the traditional go-to for dog walking, and they’re not just for holding tags and looking snazzy.

  1. Simplicity at Its Best: Easy to put on and take off, collars are the quick solution for a spontaneous stroll.
  2. Training Tool: For dogs with good leash manners, a collar can be all you need for effective communication and gentle guidance.

Collar for Dog Walking


  • Simple and Familiar: Most dogs are accustomed to wearing collars, which can make them a straightforward choice for quick walks.
  • Identification: Collars are essential for holding ID tags, which is vital for your dog’s safety.
  • Suitable for Well-behaved Dogs: For dogs that don’t pull on the leash and have good leash manners, a collar can be perfectly adequate.


  • Risk of Neck Injury: For dogs that pull, a collar can strain the neck, potentially leading to injuries such as tracheal collapse, especially in small breeds.
  • Less Control: If your dog is large or tends to pull, you might find you have less control with a collar compared to a harness.

Pros and cons of dog harness

Harnesses have gained massive popularity for good reason. They offer benefits that collars can’t match, especially for certain pups.

  1. Reduced Neck Strain: Perfect for pullers or breeds prone to respiratory issues, as harnesses distribute pressure more evenly across the chest and shoulders.
  2. Better Control: Ideal for training or managing larger breeds, harnesses give you leverage without causing discomfort.

Harness for Dog Walking


  • Reduces Neck Strain: A harness distributes pressure across the chest and shoulders rather than the neck, making it safer for dogs that pull or have respiratory issues.
  • Better Control: Especially for strong or large dogs, a harness can offer better control during walks and help manage pulling behavior more effectively.
  • Comfort and Safety: Harnesses are often padded and reduce the risk of your dog slipping out, enhancing comfort and security.


  • More Complex to Fit: Harnesses can be more complicated to put on correctly, especially for dogs that are not used to them.
  • Heat and Chafing: In hot weather, a harness can be warmer than a collar, and if not fitted correctly, it can lead to chafing.

When to Use a Harness

  1. For Walking and Training: Especially for dogs that pull or need guidance, a harness offers better control and reduces strain on the neck.
  2. For Dogs with Health Issues: Dogs with neck, back, or respiratory problems benefit from a harness as it distributes pressure away from the neck.
  3. Active Outdoor Activities: For activities like hiking or jogging, a harness provides secure control and comfort for your dog, preventing injury during vigorous movement.
  4. Puppies Learning Leash Manners: A harness can help in training puppies to walk on a leash without developing a habit of pulling.
  5. Dogs Prone to Escaping: A well-fitted harness is harder for a dog to slip out of compared to a collar, making it safer for adventurous or skittish dogs.

When to Use a Collar

  1. For Identification: A collar is essential for holding ID tags, which is crucial for your dog’s safety, especially when outside or in unfamiliar areas.
  2. Well-behaved Dogs on Short Walks: If your dog walks calmly without pulling, a collar can be sufficient for quick outings or bathroom breaks.
  3. During Supervised Play or at Home: For supervised play, especially in secure, enclosed areas, a collar is convenient for quick leash attachment if needed.
  4. In Safe, Controlled Environments: At home, in a secure yard, or during calm indoor activities, a collar is adequate for carrying identification without the bulk of a harness.

Best Collar for Walking Your Dog

  • For well-behaved dogs that don’t pull, a standard flat collar is often adequate. It’s simple, keeps ID tags, and is suitable for calm walks.
Neoprene Dog Collar
  • For dogs that need mild corrections or have a tendency to slip out, a martingale collar offers additional safety without the risks associated with choke chains.

Best Harness for Walking Your Dog

  • Front-Clip Harness: Ideal for training and managing dogs that pull. It redirects the dog’s attention towards you when they pull, making it easier to control and train them.
  • Back-Clip Harness: Suitable for dogs that are already trained and do not pull. It offers comfort and is easier to wear, ideal for relaxed walks and for dogs with good leash manners.
  • Dual-Clip Harness: Combines both front and back clips, offering versatility based on training needs and walking situations, allowing you to choose the most effective control point.

Combining Forces: Why Not Both?

Why choose? Many dog owners find a combination of both collar and harness provides the ultimate solution.

  1. Collar for ID: Keep your dog’s identification on their collar for constant wear, even at home.
  2. Harness for Walks: Switch to a harness for outings to ensure comfort and control where it counts.


  • For most walking scenarios, a harness is often the better choice, particularly if your dog pulls, is a puppy, or has any neck or back issues.
  • A collar is suitable for quick outings or for dogs that are calm on the leash and do not have any predispositions that would make neck pressure dangerous.

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 Harness and Dog Collar

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

  • Harness is often better for walking, especially if the dog pulls. A harness provides better control, reduces strain on the dog’s neck, and is safer for their trachea and spine. For well-behaved dogs that do not pull, a collar can be sufficient.

Do Vets Recommend Collars or Harnesses?

  • Veterinarians generally recommend harnesses for walking, particularly for dogs with a tendency to pull or those with neck or respiratory issues. Harnesses distribute pressure more evenly, avoiding strain on the neck. However, collars are essential for carrying ID tags.

Should a Dog Pull a Harness or Collar?

  • A harness is preferred if a dog pulls. Pulling on a collar can cause neck injuries and other health issues. A harness, especially a front-clip design, can help manage and reduce pulling behavior effectively.

Should I Use a Harness or Collar When Running with a Dog?

  • A harness is usually recommended for running with a dog. It offers better control, ensures the dog’s safety, and prevents injuries that could arise from pulling on a collar. A harness also allows for a more comfortable and enjoyable run for both the dog and the owner.

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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