Dog Harness vs Collar (What is Better?)

DOG HARNESS vs COLLAR – The one thing that our furry friends live for is a walk. Anytime you get the chance to take your dog on a walk, you will most likely see them jumping with excitement.

Because, after an entire day of watching over the house while you went to work, your dog will finally get the chance to see some new views and smell new things.

The question that arises with these walks is that are dog collars better than a harness. The quick answer to your question is that we recommend keeping both on hand. Why? Because each product category comes with its own benefits.


Both the harnesses and the collars come with their own benefits, but there are still some drawbacks to each type.

Since you own both, the flaws can be eliminated by the use of the other product; for example, if your dog keeps removing its collar, then a harness might be a better option. Keep reading to find out the benefits of each product type.


Before jumping onto the benefits, we believe that outlining the main differences between the two can aid in better judgment for the pet owner because then they can decide for themselves what would be better for their dog.

A collar is simply a band that goes around the neck of your dog. These collars can be made from multiple materials like leather or even cloth, depending on what your dog is more comfortable in.

The fundamental purpose behind creating a harness was to make sure that dogs aren't harmed

You can adjust the size of the collar according to the neck of your dog, ensuring that your furry friend doesn’t feel constrained wearing a collar.

The fun thing about collars is that they come in different colors and qualities. In fact, many brands have started launching branded dog collars for our boujee friends, but the basic idea behind a collar is two things:

  • One, it allows for a leash to be attached to the collar so that when you are out on a walk with your dog, your dog doesn’t stray away, and you are in control of where it goes
  • Second, it allows your dog to attach identification to it; for example, many dollars come with additional attachments like your dog’s name or adding a card that indicates your contact number in case your dog gets lost. These collars are able to help you identify your dog.

Many collars have now been modernized; for instance, many come with a GPS system; if in case your dog gets lost, you can find them.

A harness, on the other hand, is more like a suit that dogs wear, and the leash can be attached to the center of the dog’s body as opposed to the neck.

The fundamental purpose behind creating a harness was to make sure that dogs aren’t harmed because many collars can harm the trachea of a dog upon constant pulling, but when you use a harness, there is no excessive pulling or tugging on the neck.

Instead, a harness completely hugged the body of the dog, starting from the spine and tied down towards the stomach.

The leash is attached at the back of the harness, towards the center, which ensures that your dog is not being harmed during their walk and they don’t end up choking if they happen to run.


We believe that our doggos deserve the best thing possible, not just for their health but also for their style as well and you cannot deny the fact that just like fashion apparel is custom and unique to each different human, so are collars and harnesses when it comes to dogs.

This is why we are going to list a few benefits of having collars and harnesses while talking about the drawbacks of each product as well.

Pros of a collar

First and foremost, collars can be pretty convenient for dog owners to attach identification and other information regarding their dogs.

This information can include the name of the contact, the contact of the owner, any diseases or concerns that the dog might have, and whether the dog has gotten any vaccination or not.

This type of information can really aid in helping not just the owner but also those who find the dog in case they are lost because many people do not know what to do when they find a dog and take them directly to the shelter or call pet control.

Have you ever noticed that there’s a perception that prevails that all those dogs that have a collar attached to their neck and most likely dogs of a particular owner while dogs without a collar are street dogs and left alone?

This is highly important because if your pup happens to be without a collar while they get lost, then there’s a chance that even when someone finds your dog, they will either contact pet control or keep the dog for themselves without you ever knowing what happened.

Sounds scary, right? This is the number one reason for pet owners to attach a collar to their dogs because by doing so, you are creating an identity for your dogs.

Trust me, specific collars can actually help other people to locate the owner of the dog and return your precious bud safe and sound to you.

Many collars come in different designs; for instance, with modern advancements, many companies have now launched light-based collars, which turn on in the dark.

The reason for doing this was that many Americans suffered from Night blindness (nyctalopia), so light collars were created so that those people’s dogs could help them know where exactly they are going, even during the night.

You might assume that collars have no purpose, but when you see benefits like these, you are going to want to buy a collar for your own doggo as well.

Additionally, collars don’t just fulfill the purpose of coming in creative and unique designs but they also give the dog owner complete control over their dog. The collar allows us to ensure that the dog does not go in any different direction other than the path that you have in mind.

The best thing about collars is that you get to attach a leash to them, so while your precious pup has his best walk, you can also put on your sneakers and go for a run.

While this benefit might not be direct but having a collar can aid in the bonding between you and your dog. Let me tell you why.

It’s because your dog loves to go on walks because being able to smell the air of new places and try to locate different items increase their happy hormone, and when dogs get to do things they love with their owner, this automatically strengthens their bond with you.

If you’re a new pet parent, then this might be the best plan to go for because having a collar and a leash means that you get to walk and run with your dog side by side, allowing you to enjoy your time, strengthen your bond with your dog, and remain fit and healthy.

With the advancements today, many collars are now coming in different designs, different styles, and, most importantly, different materials. Some dogs are allergic to certain kinds of material.

For illustration, a tiny poodle might find a thick leather belt-like collar to be abrasive and rough, which is why companies have launched poodle-friendly collars as well, which won’t harm your doggo as much if they have sensitive skin or coats.

Many people and companies believe that using a collar is an excellent method in training your dog because if your dog happens to be eliciting unacceptable behaviors during their walk, then tugging on their leash can automatically instill within them that their conduct was terrible and they cannot do that again.

However, with this method, it is crucial to make sure that you also have treats on deck as well because if you only keep pursuing negative reinforcements, then it might cause your dog to become aggressive in the long term.

Which is why I recommend that keeping yummy dog treats on hand can be beneficial because as soon as they perform a “good” act then giving them a treat can not only make them happy but also allow you to engage in adequate positive reinforcements.

To simplify, only shunning your dog and focusing on their destructive behaviors is not good; you also need to recognize their good behaviors as well so that they remain happy.

Cons of a collar

Even though the benefits might exceed the cons, that does not mean that using collars for your dog is a good decision. We advise all pet owners to read the cons of using collars as well in order to understand whether using collars is appropriate for their dogs or not.

If your dog has a medical concern like glaucoma, any previous spinal injuries, or anything wrong with their eyes or brain, then using a collar is practically an extreme penalty. How can we say this, you might ask.

Dogs are naturally inquisitive animals which means that as soon as they get the chance to run after a squirrel or find something interesting, they will do so, which means that if they have a collar with a leash attached to it, then they might end up injuring their neck or worse, their spine.

In this instance, if your dog happens to have any previous medical histories, for example, many dogs adopted from the shelter do have previous injuries, and if they concern the spine or their head, then we would recommend skipping the use of collars altogether since your dog’s health should be your top priority.

Some collars can be too damaging for your dog. As already mentioned, small and sensitive to the touch dogs like a poodle might find a leather collar harmful.

The problem that arises with collars is that you cannot identify issues with them until after you have used them, like:

  • Many pet owners have complained that dark-colored collars leave color stains behind on their dog’s white fur, which makes it difficult to take them out.
  • Some collars give allergic reactions to their dogs; for representation, a rough collar might leave rashes on your doggo’s neck
  • You might need to constantly keep buying new collars in case your dog outgrows them, or another scenario might be that if your dog has a smaller neck, then they might wiggle themselves out of it and end up getting lost while you go inside the store

Collars are especially dangerous for a specific type of breed. A poodle or a small pug might not be able to handle the pressure of a collar, which is why for such species, a harness might be a better option.

A list of all those dogs that should be given a collar to wear are:

  • Poodles
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Boxers
  • Pugs
  • French Bulldogs
  • Boston Terriers
  • Maltese
  • Chihuahuas
  • Chinese Crested
  • Italian Greyhound

If your dog happens to fall in this category, then shifting to a harness and skipping collars altogether is a better option.

Pros of a harness

The basic idea that, as pet owners, we need to keep in mind is that anything that we purchase for our dogs will have drawbacks to it as well. In this instance, collars do have tons of benefits, but they also come with their fair share of problems.

This is why we highly recommend dog owners invest in both the harness and a collar because whatever a collar might not be able to fulfill, a harness will.

For example:

A collar might cause tracheal issues, and especially for dogs who already have a previous spinal injury then for those dogs, using a harness is more doable as it completely hugs the body of the dog from the shoulder to the stomach, so even if you pull on the leash, nothing will happen to the dog’s back or the spine because they will be pulled from this stomach which is the gravitational point for your dog.

Not only would owning a harness mean more comfort for your dog but for smaller dogs with sensitive necks, a harness will be more convenient and will ensure that your dog is safe

Smaller dogs like poodles and pugs are easily able to slip out from their collars. Let’s suppose you have to stop by the local grocery store, and you cannot take your dog in, so you tie their leash outside, but you’re worried your dog might slip out of a collar.

In this instance, a harness would be an ideal fit because it will make sure that your dog doesn’t slip out of it since a harness is practically like another layer of coat that closes from the stomach area, so even if dogs want to, they can’t really escape it unless you loosen it yourself.

Have you ever experienced sharp back aches because of constantly having your neck bent in order to work on your laptop or while using your phone? In that situation, sometimes all you want is a back puller that you can just wear to straighten your neck to relieve the pain.

The same is applicable to dogs, only that dogs do not experience pain from using phones but because of constantly smelling the ground which is why a harness might actually help in eliminating any back pain that your dog might have because it straightens the dog’s body.

Many pet owners make larger dogs wear a harness as well because they might’ve been injured, and wearing a harness sort of works like a cast because it helps in keeping their neck and back straight, in turn relieving them from any pain.

A harness is perfect for puppies to train because nowadays many people believe that pulling on a dog’s collar as a way of negative reinforcement is actually animal abuse and should not be done.

This is why many people have shifted to a harness when it comes to training small puppies or even adult dogs because it doesn’t harm the dog’s neck or spine.

One of the most important benefits of owning a harness is that, unlike a collar, a harness will make sure that the leash does not get entanglement between your pup’s legs.

Many dogs happen to fall quite frequently when a leash is attached to their collar because dogs like to run around in circles, and since they do that, many times the leash gets stuck, and in worse case scenarios, your dog might even end up choking, which is why a harness is a better choice.

When it comes to a harness, a leash is attached to the center of the harness, which is located around the middle of the dog’s spine, and in that situation, even if your dog happens to run around in circles around a pole, there are lower chances of the leash becoming tangled up.

Cons of a harness

The first and foremost problem with a harness is that dogs are living entities as well, and just like any other living mammal, they feel the heat as well, so if you’re living in an area that is overly heated and the sun is practically burning at you then making your dog wear a harness is like you wearing a leather jacket in the scorching heat.

We recommend that if you’re going on short walks, then a collar will be just the right fit.

There is also another disadvantage that while using a harness, since it is harder to pull the dog back, the dog might start pulling you, which is something you absolutely do not want.

A dog needs to know that its owner is in control, and while wearing a harness, it might be difficult for you to pull, and you might find yourself being pulled by the dog to different locations.

Make sure that this does not happen, so shifting between a harness and a collar might be a better choice.

On a less problematic note, a harness is relatively easy to use, but it requires a lot of effort to take the harness off and then make the dogs wear it again because it’s like making your dog wear a shirt.

And if your dog is excited and refuses to stay in place then making them wear a harness will the most challenging job you might have to do.

If the harness is too tight, then it might even harm the coat of your dog, making the hair flatten out. This might not seem like an issue to you but imagine you having flat and greasy hair all the time from wearing a hat all day long.

The same is applicable to dogs, so make sure not to make it a happen to wear harnesses and to keep shifting between a collar and harness from time to time.



DOG HARNESS vs COLLAR – To make it simple for you, we will list down scenarios where we believe you should use a harness and a collar, keeping in mind the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Use a collar when:

  • You’re patrolling the backyard or going out on a short 3 to 4-minute walk to get some fresh air. Please make sure not to have your dogs wear collars on those long 30 to 60 minutes walk because it might hurt your dog’s neck by the time they come back home.
  • You’re on a play date, because your dog is only playing games, and you will most likely not be holding their leash. That’s the time that wearing a dog collar would be convenient because it would help other dogs identify and become friends with your precious pup.
  • You go to the park, then a collar is crucial because collars have attached identification to them, so if in case your dog gets lost during the park date, then other people can quickly locate them and contact you when they find your dog.

Also Read: How to Train Your Dog with a Vibration Collar?

Use a harness when:

  • You plan on going hiking. Hiking is as exhausting for your dog as it is for you, so using a collar during a time when they are climbing up and down is going to damage their trachea, which is why a harness would be a better option during this time.
  • You’re planning to go on a morning run of 1 hour, then a harness is like a best friend to your dog because dogs can run faster than us and when they see someone else running, then dogs will never adjust themselves to your speed initially so imagine if they are wearing a collar and they run as fast as they can when they see you run, their neck and trachea will be badly injured.
  • We advise that during long walks and runs, make your dog wear a harness so that they are safe from any injuries.

We hope you found this article “DOG HARNESS vs COLLAR” helpful! Happy pet-parenting!

Related Posts
Jackob Evans

Hi, I’m Jacob. I’ve been a professional blogger for over six years, and in that time, I’ve written countless blogs that have helped millions of people worldwide. A DVM by profession, I have treated and cured thousands of dogs, if not millions.

Leave a Comment