Collar vs Harness For Puppy Training: How To Decide

When you first get a new puppy, you want to make sure you get the right things for it, and that includes a collar or harness. You’ll be taking your puppy out for a few walks a day, so, therefore, you must get your puppy the most comfortable, safe, and effective collar or harness. But which one is better for your puppy? Let’s take a look at the collar vs. harness for puppy training and how to decide. 

A harness is the best way to take your puppy out for a walk and training. They allow you to have total control over your puppies. We all know that puppies like to pull and tug, it is just part of their nature. Puppies are also curious little beasts and want to check every little thing out that comes across their path, and this is the reason why they pull. If you have the traditional collar, then the dog may hurt itself when it tries to pull ahead, as the conventional collar does not support the neck. 

Some dogs are prone to trachea collapse (when the windpipe collapses and cuts off airflow to the longs as well as from the lungs). It can be potentially life-threatening to dogs that are prone to tracheal collapses like the Yorkie and other small dog breeds. So, we must all be careful and familiarize ourselves with both before making a purchase.  

Collars Vs. Harness

Personal Experience With A Harness

When my husband and I got our dog Kiki who is a Yorkshire Terrier, we got her a collar. But after we took her out a few times to train her, we noticed she was pulling a lot. While she was pulling, she was coughing. We thought, well, this isn’t good. So we researched. We found out that Yorkies are prone to tracheal collapse. After finding that out, we bought her a harness that clips at the back. The harness is adjustable, so we can always get that perfect fit for her. We noticed a big difference while using the harness. She was much easier to control, and she pulled less. And, there was no more coughing.

The harness was a much better choice for lead training the dog, and it was not hurting her. It was easy for us to use the harness since she just put her little head into the front and lifted her legs so we could get it on properly. We have had the harness for ten years, and it still works great, and she always gets excited when she sees it!

The Trusty Harness

The harness is a great training tool for those with a puppy learning to behave on a leash. The harness also gives you more control than the traditional collar. Harnesses discourage pulling since it gets the dog nowhere on the harness. You will not have to put in a lot of time to train your dog on a leash if you use the harness. Harnesses attach to the dog’s body.

They are generally made with a strap for the chest in front of the legs. And a strap that goes around the torso behind the back legs. Harnesses come with a ring, either on the front or back, depending on what type of harness you get. The ring is there so that you can clip the leash on with ease. The main reason why people get a harness is to assist with puppy training, but they are great for service dogs who are there to help people who have a disability. 

Harnesses come in many different sizes, so you must get the right size for your breed. If you get the wrong size, your dog may be able to wriggle out it, or it can hurt your puppy if it is too tight. 

  Safer For Your Puppy

The harness is also safer for puppies as it takes the pressure away from your puppy’s neck. Like mentioned earlier, some dogs are prone to tracheal collapse, mostly small dog breeds. Not sure which small breeds are prone? Here is a list of the most common breeds that prone to tracheal collapse

  • Chihuahuas 
  • Pomeranians
  • Shih Tzu
  • Lhasa Apsos 
  • Yorkshire Terriers
  • Toy Poodles
  • Pugs
  • Maltese

We are not sure why these breeds, in particular, are prone, but it most likely has to do with genetics. It is crucial to be aware that just because tracheal collapse is seen in these breeds the most, it can occur in any dog breed, and size does not matter. 

So you can see why having a harness is a better choice for training your puppy to use a lead. It is safer for your pup and gives you more control. 

What Age Can A Puppy Start Wearing A Harness?

A puppy can start wearing a harness at eight weeks old. However, when you bring your puppy home, let it settle in for a few days before you begin the training. Let your dog get used to being in its new home. Take the puppy in the backyard for bathroom breaks. If you do not have a backyard, then set up bathroom space somewhere in the house or condo. After a few days of getting used to the home, you can start your harness training for the puppy.

Front-Attaching Or Back-Attaching

A harness is either back-attaching or front-attaching. A front-attaching harness is more effective for larger dogs rather than small as these lead from the front. A larger dog may not feel that they need to be guided by you if they have a back-attaching harness, and this may lead to more pulling and tugging. Pulling and tugging with a large dog breed can be difficult and painful for the owner. Big dogs have a lot of strength, and anyone that has walked a large dog knows what I mean.

A back-attaching harness is ideal for smaller dogs breed because it is more comfortable and does not put pressure on their little chests. Pressure on the chest can be painful for our small dogs. 

Pros And Cons Of A Harness 

The harness is great, and I like it. But let’s take a look at all the pros and cons. By having some pros and cons, it will help you to decide if the harness is the right tool for your puppy and its training.

Pros 

  • Harnesses come in different sizes
  • Easy on the neck 
  • Spreads out pressure evenly 
  • Excellent learning tool for puppies who have not learned to walk with a leash 
  • Offer better control- especially crucial around large crowds and nearby roads
  • Easier on arms, shoulders back for you if you have a large dog breed
  • Safer for small dogs breeds that are prone to tracheal collapse
  • A harness disperses pressure over larger areas of the body that reduces strain on the neck and back. Very good for small dogs who pull or tug when first learning.
  • Discourages pulling and tugging. When puppies wear a collar and pull on the leash, the dog is still moving, so it thinks the pulling is a great success! With a harness regardless of where it is attached it still redirects the puppy, so it will realize that pulling gets it nowhere
  • If your puppy needs some help getting up, a harness is there to assist in pulling up your little bundle of fur without hurting it or making it feel any discomfort
  • Great for those puppies that love to pull the Houdini act and escape from a traditional collar.  
  • Less likely to get tangled in a leash

Cons

  • Some breeds hate the harness. Therefore, it may cause more work for you.
  • A nightmare for dogs and puppies with long fur. Fur can get caught when pulling the adjustment tab down. Make sure that all hair is out of the way when adjusting the harness.
  • A harness can cause discomfort on the underside of legs. Kind of like chafing. No one likes chafing!

Traditional Collars

The traditional collar has been around for a very long time. A dog collar is generally a piece of material that we place around a dog’s neck. The primary function of a collar is for restraint, protection, fashion, and ID. Collars are used with a leash for taking dogs on walks, and for training puppies. A dog collar is ideal for dogs that do not pull or tug a lot. We know that does love to pull because they like to explore and always be ahead. However, pulling and tugging with a collar can lead to injury to you and your pup.

Training With A Collar

Using a dog collar to train your dog on a leash may take some time. Since you should never tug on the leash when a dog is pulling, you will have to be crafty. Make sure you have treats at the ready. When a dog starts to pull, you will have to stop. Tell the puppy no and start the walk again. You should have a few sessions a day using this method. Training your puppy to use a leash with a collar could take longer than if you use a harness.

Pros

  • Some dogs seem to be more comfortable when only wearing a collar
  • Collars are much easier to put on than a harness
  • The dog collar can usually hold your dog’s info. For example, it’s the identification, where it lives, vaccines, etc.

Cons

  • High risk of injury to the neck 
  • Especially bad for a dog that pulls and tugs, and has no training with a leash
  • Dangerous for dogs that are prone to tracheal collapse
  • The use of a dog collar can make walking your dog on a loose leash a nightmare
  • Collars are said to create eye pressure if the dog or puppy is pulling and tugging
  • Easy to accomplish the Houdini escape act. Dogs can wriggle out of the collar, no problem. I’m sure we have all witnessed that at some point
  • Takes longs to train a dog to walk with a leash 

Conclusion 

There you have it, my friends. There are benefits to using both harness and collars. It depends on your dog and if it is safe for your dog. Some dogs hate the harness but love the collar and vise versa. I hope you found this article useful in helping you decide if you should use a collar or harness for puppy training. 

I would say that the harness is the way to go. It is safer for your puppy, and gives you more control over the dog, without causing it any pain or discomfort. Once your dog is training for walks, you could always switch over to a traditional collar as they are a bit more comfortable. What do you think? We would love to hear from you! How did you decide which was best for training your puppy?

Recommended Collars and Harnesses

When you’re talking about how much you love your furry family friend, you know there’s no limit to what you would do to keep them safe. That’s why you need to ensure that you have not only a harness or collar for your pooch that’s comfortable, you also need one that’s safe.

I’ve looked at a lot of harnesses over the years. Some degrade in the sun, some come apart at the seams, and others, well, let’s just say that others seem to last forever. That’s why I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite harnesses and collars to help you make that decision to give your pooch the safest and most comfortable experience. Take a look at these harnesses, built to stand up to rigorous abuse and wear.

Harnesses

Dogline Quest Multi-Purpose Dog Harness

Dogline Quest Multi-Purpose Dog Harness
Dogline Quest Multi-Purpose Dog Harness. Perfect for a dog that likes to pull.

This harness is an excellent choice for you and your dog. The Dogline Quest Multi-purpose dog harness enables you to take control of your pooch that likes to pull and tug while giving it a positive training experience.

The straps on this harness cross around your dog’s chest and above its shoulders, giving your dog some comfort and mobility. This harness takes away pressure from the neck and disperses it evenly around the torso, which allows you more control. There is also a handy top handle that allows you to lift your dog out of a dangerous situation easily.    

Custom patches are made out of high-quality material that is made to last, as is the reflective patched. Hook and loop fasteners will hold the patches in their place. 

Easy To Adjust to fit your pet’s size with comfort and safety. 

The neck and chest straps are made to fit your dog’s size. This harness is made with quick-drying, lightweight neoprene so your little furry friend can enjoy going for walks in the rain and snow!  

The reflective trim on the harness makes you and your pooch visible to drivers at night. 

The Quest Dog Harness, along with Saddlebag, makes it great for service dogs. You can add more patches and saddlebags that can carry treats, first aid kits, and even medications. Easy to take off with its two buckles. You won’t even have to pick up your dog. 

I like this harness because it is gentle on my dog, who is a Yorkie, and easy to take off. When we are out the night, I don’t have to worry about being seen by drivers because of the reflective patches and trim. What a fantastic harness!

Unimax Multi-Purpose Harness

Unimax Multi-Purpose Harness
Unimax Multi-Purpose Dog Harness comes with a removable chest plate as well as removable patches!

The Dogline Unimax Multi-Purpose Dog Vest Harness comes with a removable chest plate, and you can get custom removable patches as well! 

These harnesses are ideal for training dogs, therapy dogs, service dogs, and more. The harness is built with breathable nylon and neoprene lining. It is machine washable, and weather-resistant materials make this a very low maintenance and ideal dog harness. 

The removable chest plates are great because it provides the best comfort for your dog. The plate and trim around this harness are reflective so you can use this harness during the night and feel safe. 

  • Made of durable, water-resistant materials; lined with padded neoprene for comfort; assembled and ready to use
  • Adjustable front and underbelly straps; removable chest plate; quick release buckle
  • Top of training vest contains a durable built-in handle for extra control
  • Reflective front strap, trim and lettering on patches

Max Aire Mesh Harness

MaxAire Mesh Harness For Dogs
The MaxAire Mesh Harness for dogs is breathable and light.

Another great harness from Dogline. The MaxAire Mesh Harness comes with optional removable patches. This great little vest is made out of lightweight materials, with sturdy mesh that breaths and keeps your pooch nice and comfy!

This harness is one of the lightest service dog vests out there and works well in warmer climates due to the lightweight and breathable mesh. 

Options to get the reflective strip on both sides of the harness with an option to attach two side patches. This harness has adjustable straps and stainless steel D-rings for your dog’s leash and Identification tabs. How wonderful! Plus, this harness has quick-release buckles that allow for easy on and off.

This harness is available in four sizes and eight colors. Make sure to measure your dog before placing your order!

I like the idea of this harness because it is so light and breathable. I also like the idea of a quick-release buckle. You can’t go wrong with the Max Aire Mesh Harness. 

Collars 

Biothane Waterproof Dog Collar

Biothane Waterproof Dog Collar
The Bionthane waterproof dog collar is comfortable and durable

Are you tired of soaking wet collars after a walk out in the rain with your pup? Well, then the Biothane waterproof collar may be just what you are looking for! This dog collar is made from Biothane, so water rolls right off it, leaving your dog’s collar dry and free from wet dog smell. 

To clean this collar, all you have to do wipe it with a damp cloth and poof! All clean and looking new! Biothane is much stronger than most other collar materials, so it lasts longer than most collars. 

This collar is the choice of work law enforcement and military units with its electroplated back hardware. It also comes with a D-ring that goes with most of Doglines’s leashes. 

Available in many sizes and ten colors. If you are looking for a simple but durable dog collar, then look no further, because this one will last forever!

Comfort Microfibre Flat Collar 

Comfort Microfibre Flat Dog Collar
The comfort microfibre flat collar is soft and provides comfort.

The comfort microfibre flat collar from Dogline is incredibly soft and made from durable microfibre material. This collar provides control and safety for you and your dog. This collar comes in eight great colors that are sure to catch the eye of everyone you pass by!

They are available in five sizes and compatible with any breed and size of canines. The collars are handmade and stitched with wax thread. They will not stretch!

Soft Leather Round Martingale Collar

Soft Leather Round Martingale Collar
The soft leather round martingale dog collar is made from 100% genuine cow leather.

If you are looking for a more sophisticated dog collar, then I suggest you take a look at the Soft Leather Round Martingale Collar. This collar is made from 100% genuine cow leather. They provide phenomenal comfort and safety to your dog.  

This collar comes in nine sizes and in black, red, and brown. Every collar is dyed, which means it will keep its color. All collars are handmade with a rivetless pattern, which will eliminate any hair getting caught.

The soft leather round martingale collar is padded and will not stretch.

This collar is for those that are looking for an elegant and sophisticated classic look for their dog. You can’t go wrong with leather as it lasts forever and always looks good.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can My Dog Wear A Harness And A Collar?

It is a good idea that your dog wears a collar and a harness for training. It also allows you to add all your puppies tags, like identification, address, name, vaccines, etc. However, when it is playtime, the collar and harness should come off—the reason for taking them off is they can get caught on something and hurt your dog. 

Can A Dog Wear A Harness All Day?

You should not keep your dog’s harness on the dog all day. The reason being is that they can get uncomfortable and cause chafing. It can also wear down the hair and create some hair loss, damage to its coat like matting, and skin irritation. A harness is meant for walking a dog, not keeping it in the harness all day. Some adult dogs and puppies may try chewing throw the harness, which is not something you want. They could swallow pieces and get sick or worse. Not to mention that you will have to buy a new one.  

The same thing goes for collars. Collars should not stay on your dog or puppy 24/7. The collar can cause skin irritation and sores, just like the harness. Dogs will chew through a collar, this I know. When we first got our dog (4 months old), she tried eating through the collar. This was pretty bad because she got it stuck in her mouth while it was still on her neck, and could not get it out with my assistance. It is a good thing we were at home. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened. Another reason by the harness is a better option for training your puppy.

Bibliography 

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