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Collars vs Harnesses: Which is Better for Dog Walking?

Collars vs Harnesses: Which is Better for Dog Walking?

  • by Rufus and Coco

Taking walks with your dog is essential for keeping them healthy and happy. Besides their regular potty walks, dogs should engage in some longer exercise sessions on a weekly basis. Spending time outdoors is important for socialising with other animals and people and offers multiple benefits to their body, too.

Choosing the right gear to walk your dog with can make a world of difference. Not only does the lead need to be good-quality, but you also need to be able to restrain your dog’s movements, especially when they risk getting into a potentially dangerous situation.

But which one is better, the collar or the harness? We’re giving you all the benefits and drawbacks of using one or the other below, so keep on reading.


Are Harnesses or Collars Better for Dog Walking?

If you need a short answer, we’ll give you one but do keep in mind that it also depends on your and your dog’s preferences and what the both of you are comfortable with.

Harnesses are the better choice of the two for the simple reason that they put less strain on your dog’s body when you need to pull. A model like our own Sportflex Harness can help your dog feel comfortable and can put your mind at ease in terms of security. Plus, it's quick-dry material definitely helps for those puddles or sudden drizzles you might encounter during your walks.

The pros and cons of using a collar

Reasons to use a collar

Collars are very inexpensive when compared to harnesses, although depending on the material they are made of, even harnesses these days can be considered budget-friendly.

Another advantage of using a collar is that it is customisable, so it will fit your puppy as they grow up (at least for a period of time). They’re also easier to fit on your dog’s body compared to harnesses, and they can be worn all the time.

Take the Rufus & Coco Duramax Collar as an example. It can be worn anytime, regardless of the weather, and thanks to its dirt and odour-resistant design, you don’t even need to worry about clean-up as often as with other collars. Fit it with your dog’s ID tag, and you’re all set.

Reasons to avoid a collar

Some collars can be too tight and can therefore cause some amount of discomfort and even pain to your dog. On the other hand, letting it too loose can be a risk since your pet can get away when it decides to chase something.

More importantly, collars put a lot of strain on your pup’s neck. If your dog isn’t trained to walk on a lead just yet and they tend to pull a lot, using a collar can harm their neck, their airway, and even their spine.


The pros and cons of using a harness

Reasons to use a harness

Harnesses are much more comfortable for your dog. Even when you need to pull tighter than usual, your dog is restrained without the force of the pull causing any damage to their body.

The Rufus & Coco Kings Cross Harness can be particularly helpful for dogs that experience back pain due to injuries or arthritis or those that have suffered a tracheal collapse.

With some models, you can attach them either to the front or to the back. And while seeing your dog turn towards you when you pull on the lead can be a little strange, it definitely deters them from constantly chasing or jumping whenever they see something interesting.

And let’s not forget, it’s much more comfortable for a dog to travel in a car with a harness and a Seat Belt Attachment rather than with a collar.

Reasons to avoid a harness

The most significant con when it comes to using a harness is that it isn’t as easy to put on as a collar. Also, if it’s too loose, slipping out of it can be a breeze for most dogs, whereas if it’s too tight, it can be uncomfortable across a wider body area.

Some harnesses don’t have any place to which you might be able to attach your dog’s ID tag, therefore requiring you to use a decorative collar.

Depending on the material they are made of, and whether they fit very snugly, they could chafe your dog’s skin. Harnesses aren’t necessarily something that dogs can wear all the time, which is not the case with collars.


Final thoughts

While walking your dog in a harness is better for health and safety reasons, it also comes with drawbacks. The best of both worlds would be to get both a collar and a harness – even if the collar is made from textile material, it can be particularly useful for keeping your dog’s ID tag.

In the end, using a harness is better if you are training a puppy, especially if you clip it in the front. Doing so in the back can teach your dog to pull on the leash to guide you, so it might not be the best idea for particularly large breeds.

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