Management & Training

Collar vs. Harness

harness vs collar

It is a long debated subject, a really true classic theme in “4-legged world”, which has often created two neat formations… two parties made by hard extremists.

Which is better? Collar or harness?

Any  dog lover has wondered at least once in his life.


The collar is the most popular mean used and, usually, it is the first thing  you buy .

There are leather collars, nylon collars and metal collars. Because of its particular position, it allows your dog to feel quickly the variation in the leash’s tension, but this position is a very sentive spot for your dog, and if  you are not very careful, you can cause windpipe’s injuries, contractions and nerves’ compressures.

But is the collar so dangerous? It all depends on the way you choose to use it

Physical problems can arouse when your dog always stretches the leash and when the leash is the semi-strangle or strangle one.  A few little pulls to teach to  your dog to be by your side is a general guideline, well known and practiced by a lot of people, but this is a very big mistake, which  often leads to injuries and makes the dog to do the very contrary,

For example, if you have a very nervous dog, always attacking other dogs while walking, to be strangled and to feel pain could reinforce his aggressivity and create this dangerous association: the more pain, the more aggressive and frustrated he can be, the more he stretches .

Obviously, the collar is not the very devil. When you have a trained dog, very easy to walk with, the collar is a very good support and it does not cause any problems at all.

The most important thing to remember  is not to squeeze the collar too much: you have to be able to put your finger between the collar and the dog’s neck, and the leash must not be stretched.


The harness is a very recent invention, it is obviously more bulky than the collar and far from being fast to put on your dog.

First thing to say, the harness is clearly not a cure-all.

When you choose the right harness, you have to consider first of all the comfort for your dog. The harness must be comfortable, without rubbings on the armpits or elbows.

There are a lot of different kinds of harness, the most comfortable and commensurate one is the H- shape harness. Once put on, if you look your dog from the top, you should see the H shape, from the breast to the ribs. Your dog is able to move freely with this kind of fastening, especially when moving his front legs.

The harness hook, where you hook the leash, must be at the top of your dog’s back. In this way, the power you exert is equally spread all along your dog’s body.

You cannot obviously tug hard your dog just because he is wearing the harness! It is not a magical mean to stop your dog to pull or to try to attack other dogs, as in the aforementioned example.

As it often happens when talking about animals, it is not the mean used to give the right solution, but the relationship between your dog and you.

As for the answer at the beginning…which is better? Collar or harness?

To tell the truth, there is no simple and unique answer.

Likely, the collar-supporters and the harness-supporters will not change their positions, as it happens in all the discussions that create neat oppositions.

This article has not the presumption to end this legendary diatribe. Its aim should be to shift the focus from the choice of the mean used to how we choose you use it.


This is the secret! you have to be aware that your walking with your dog is a result of your mutual partnership! Do that, and you’ll be able to walk with your dog both with the collar and with the harness.

You have to understand, on your own or with your trainer’s help, that collar or harness are no miracles. There are no shortcuts, and no mean could ever replace the right training for your dog.