Dog Harness VS Collar: The Pros and Cons

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A harness or collar for a puppy is a must-have accessory for every pet parent. These tools help to have your dog in control and prevent him from any kind of injury. But many pet owners get confused in the debate of harness versus collar. There can be multiple factors that an owner has to consider before choosing any of them.

By reading about the pros and cons of both the harness and collar, one can choose a collar or harness for his four-legged friend. But before we jump on to the pros and cons of both, it is necessary to understand the basic difference between a harness and a collar.

What is a Dog Collar?

A dog collar is a single strap that will fit loosely around your dog’s neck and contain the dog’s tags and licenses. It comes in different sizes, designs, and colors, giving the owners a choice to choose from a large variety.

What is a Dog Harness?

A dog harness will fit around your dog’s chest and torso and will provide more control and guidance for your dog. It, too, comes in different sizes and styles, but there is less variety than dog collars.

Now, as you have understood the difference between a dog collar and harness, let’s see the pros and cons of both of them.

The Pros and Cons of a Dog Harness vs. Collar

Due to the easy availability and more comfort, collars are more commonly used than harnesses. Most dog owners use collars for their puppies. But the collar has its pros and cons.

Dog Collar

dog collar


The biggest pro of a dog collar is its ability to hold the complete info of your dog. It contains the identification number, city tags, and licenses, etc.  So, in case of losing your dog, a dog collar around your dog’s neck will help people to identify his home by the information.

The dog collar around your pet’s neck keeps your dog much more comfortable. Wearing only a collar instead of a harness is much more relieving for him. You can also keep the collar on all the time.

The dog collars are also convenient to put on and off to the dog’s neck. So, even if you want to remove the collar after the walk, you can put it back around your dog’s neck in a jiffy.


Despite holding all this info, collars can still be an unsuitable choice for your dog. It can increase the risk of neck injury. As your dog pulls heavily, the retraction at the end of the leash will put immense pressure on its neck. This can result in a severe neck injury.

In addition to neck problems, collars can also cause significant respiratory and eye problems. For dog breeds with bulging eyes, the increased pressure on eyes due to collar can result in eye damage.

One more con of the collar is its inability to firmly control the pet. If your dog is a strong puller or belongs to Greyhounds or Whippets, family it can escape from the collar.

Dog Harness

As we have seen that dog collars may prove unsuitable for some dogs, a dog harness can be the best choice for them.  

dog harness


The most important pro of a harness is that it shifts the pressure from the neck to a bigger portion of the body. This reduces the risk of neck and eye problems.

A dog harness is good equipment for strong pullers. If your dog pulls too heavily and you often lose control of it, a dog harness can provide you with better control of it. It is also helpful while walking on a busy road.

If you have a dog that often jumps against people, a dog harness will help you control it easily. This also decreases the risk of choking him while pulling back.

A harness is also recommended for dogs suffering from medical conditions. Dogs suffering from respiratory problems must be controlled through harnesses rather than collars.


Although it is beneficial, a dog harness may cause nervousness in your dog. It can be challenging to put it around a nervous dog. In such cases, it is better to let the dogs get used to it by building a positive association.

Moreover, a harness can be unsuitable for dogs having very long fur. In this case, a harness can cause tangles or mats if worn for long periods.

A harness can also irritate the underside of the dog’s legs. This can cause discomfort for your dog.

Is it Better to Use a Harness or a Collar?

Although collars are necessary to hold the information of the dog at hand, some dogs need a harness to control it. It is not a question of which is better, rather which is more suitable for your pet friend depending upon its nature. Collars are commonly used for all dogs. But if you face the following difficulties regarding your dog, you should consider the option of a dog harness.

If your dog pulls excessively and causes you problems during the walk, a dog harness should be your go-to choice. It will help you better control your dog and put less pressure on its neck while pulling the leash back.

If you have a small dog suffering from a tracheal collapse, you should use a harness instead of a collar. Moreover, it would help if you also opted for a harness instead of a collar for dogs like French Bulldogs and Pugs.

However, if your dog is well-behaved and doesn’t cause much trouble, a collar can be a better option for your dog. It will allow more comfort for your dog, and you can also attach the license and ID with it.

Are Harnesses Safer than Collars?

As we have seen above, harnesses offer much more protection to the dogs than a regular collar.

A harness shifts the pressure from the neck of the dog to the broader area of the body. This decreases neck injury risks and also prevents respiratory problems.

A harness offers better control for your puppy which means that you can take him to the walk without much worry. It will reduce the risk of the dog damaging himself by getting nervous or frightened.

On the other hand, a collar increases the risks of neck injury due to the imbalance of pressure. It also increases the pressure on the eyes, causing eye damage.

So, yes! Harnesses are safer than collars. But it does not necessarily mean that you will have to use a harness instead of a collar. You can also opt for a collar if it is suitable for your dog.

How to Introduce Your Dog to a New Harness:

As we have seen, dogs may feel uncomfortable and nervous while you introduce them with a harness. It can be tricky to make your dog get along with a new harness. However, we have discussed some tips to help you get started.

  • Before you head outdoors with a new harness around your dog, first test it at home to check the size and comfort.
  • While training, it is helpful to put the treats or toys on the harness or near it. This will help your dog to make a positive association with the new harness.
  • You can also feed them treats through the harness. This way, a dog will get used to putting its head through the neck hole of the harness.
  • In the case of a dog sensitive to touch, first, begin gently touching the areas of his body where the harness touches. After getting him comfortable to be touched by hand, start touching his body areas by the harness.
  • When your dog becomes a little bit comfortable with a harness, use it before the meals and playtime. This will help them to believe that a harness is worn for the good things. This will mentally prepare them for wearing the harness before the walk.

When to Use a Collar rather than Just a Dog Harness?

It is good to have the collars around your dog’s neck all the time as it contains safety tags. But a dog harness should be used only for long walks and trips. Your dog does not need a dog harness when he is just hanging nearby. A collar is enough in this case.

If you are going for a short walk or just outside, a collar is enough. You can also go on long walks with just a collar if your pet is trained enough.

Collar or Harness for Puppies – Which one to pick?

 If you’re puppy training and want to take your dog walking you’ll want to pick the right dog harness or puppy collar. If your dog is pulling, find out which tool is better to use.

Final Thoughts

Considering all the pros and cons of both collar and harness, it becomes easy to choose from them. However, we still recommend you not to look for the better, instead for the suitable one. It would be best to choose a harness or a collar depending upon your dog’s health and behavior. We also recommend taking advice from your veterinarian regarding the harness versus collar.

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