Choosing the Right Collar or Harness

How to Choose the Right Collar

Keeping a regular collar (also known as a flat collar) on your dog is must for any dog owner. In addition to a microchip, your dog should be wearing a collar and ID tags at all times. Even the most responsible pet owners might have to face the devastating situation of a lost dog, and your four-legged friend is much more likely to get home to you quickly if he is wearing a collar.

However, a flat collar may not be the ideal choice for everyday walks with your dog.

  • Even a dog that pulls lightly can be at risk of neck injuries and other health issues due to damage from a collar.
  • Scared or panicked dogs can quite easily slip out of flat collars.
  • Prong and choke collars carry the highest likelihood of injury and damage to your dog, but even a flat collar can be harmful if you jerk the leash too hard.

Studies have shown that there are many health issues that can be caused from walking your dog on a collar, including:

  • Hypothyroidism, which can be caused from trauma to the thyroid gland in the neck
  • Ear and eye issues as a result of extensive pressure on the neck
  • Behavior problems caused by pain or other physical injuries from the use of a collar

Toronto Pet Photographer - Posh Pets Photography

Photo by Karen Weiler | www.poshpetsphoto.com

While it is important to keep a flat collar on your dog for identification purposes, it is a good idea to attach the leash to a back-led or chest-led harness rather than the collar.


How Should You Choose the Right Collar or Harness?
You may be overwhelmed with options when it comes to collars and harnesses for your dog. Check out the links below to figure out the best (and worst) options for you and your dog:


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  • Nev George RE

    I went through a variety of collars for our Cavapoo, I tried a flat leather type but he didn't seem comfortable so I opted for the Ezydog padded collar which protects his neck especially if he might lunge not that he does.

  • Ripley Wolfwood

    I recently came by as young adult husky who needed a home. I had been wanting a dog for years but the time/space/money etc was never right. A trainer without a dog. Seems silly. But this dog is pretty low key for a husky, and he is one of the mildest mannered dogs I've ever met. He doesn't eem to have an aggressive bone in his body. I haven't done full temperament testing, but he doesn't seem like he is a food or object guarder, he lets my daughter lay all over him, and doesn't seem to mind spending most time laying around inside. That said, the guy who had him before me let him get away with some bad habits, namely begging and pulling on his leash.

    I am working on both, and have been using the "stop/go" method on the pulling. SOmetimes he seems to get it, but he's not really good around distractions, like a ll the smells at the park and other dogs. Even when I stop and wait for him to stop pulling he will stop and then all of a sudden bolt to the end of the leash at a gallop....BOING!

    I give you all this back story basically because I'd like him to be able to pass a CGC, but he needs to do it on a flat buckle collar. WHile I have no issue with a no-pull harness in theory, I don't want to depend on it. But I AM worried about his neck some. Can you give me some advice???

  • Claudia Siniawski

    Dogs playing are at risk of getting caught on each other's collar so it's a good idea to remove them.

    http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/16_5/features/take-it-all-off_20740-1.html

  • Vonnie Fulton

    Yet people in the US and very few in the UK are still using prong collars! How can anyone think they are a good idea?

  • shirley sinclair

    I have a small springer spaniel of 11 months.She has to be kept in a crate most of the time as she is very headstrong and I can't control her. I've used a mikki, halti,everything recommended but nothing seems to work.When she is out of the cage she bites and leaves bruises.She has been to a behaviourist who seems to suggest she needs off the lead but she has no recall and just runs away.I've run out of ideas otherwise she is a great pup,loving.i don't want to give up on her.What do you recommend I walk her on or what else I can do

  • Claire cayton

    Hi there I own two springer spaniels one who is almost 5 & his half brother who is 8 months old, my 5 yr old dog has always pulled on a lead & so since he was 1 yr old I have used a halti head collar and that has worked for him, he walks lovely on it & doesn't seem to mind the feeling of it, my 8 month old pup is a different story altogether, he hates wearing his halti & will try his best to pull it off or rub against the bushes to get it off so today I have purchased a harness for him to try & make our walks enjoyable. What works for one dog doesn't necessarily work for another. Both dogs spend about twenty minutes on their leads as we walk to our local woods then they spend an hour running round having a good time off leash, both my dogs have excellent recall and the frustrating thing is that when I call them to heel when off leash they will happily do as I ask so I often ask myself why they won't do the same when on leash!!! Anyway back to off leash, springer spaniels are exceptionally clever dogs, your dog being crated the majority of time will end up frustrating him/her and it is vital that you give your dog lots of mental & physical stimulation, they have lots of energy & need a good walk/run everyday in order to tire them out. Spaniels are people dogs & will once he/she sees you as pack leader will do as you ask (at the moment you are seen as the big bad wolf & that's why the dog is biting because he/she is frustrated & needs to Chanel his/her energy not be caged. I would try to take the dog out for a good 30-60 minute walk then at home leave the dog in another room uncaged then call the dog from another room & when the dog comes to you then give it a high value treat (little piece of chicken, meat, cheese) and lots of praise, keep doing this on a daily basis then when you have got the courage take the training outside & hopefully your dog will have great recall & will be building a good relationship up with you. My dogs get walked in the am & get fed once we get home from walks (so they feel they are doing a job for you & earning their food) I do not leave food down for them all day & a small trick us to prepare the dogs food on unit & pretend to eat something from your dogs bowl ( in the wild the pack leader will eat first then the lower ranking will then get a turn, this helps your dog to look at you as pack leader. Hopefully doing all these things will help you along the way to having a special bond with your spaniel, these dogs are highly intelligent, people orientated & as long as they get their exercise on a daily basis are the greatest companion. They love routine. If you put yourself in the position of your dog you would go crazy being locked in all the time & not socialising it's just the same feeling for your dog. Good luck

  • K9mutt Training

    Thanks so much for this. I have allowed any of these devices in any of my classes for years. I always tell the students I want you to not be giving false ques to your dog-- where people stand there jerking on a dog for absolutely no reason - it has become a painful habit they do not realize they are doing it. I always have extra collars, harnesses and leashes so there is no excuse. Thanks again.

  • Fancy Nancy

    I would like to recommend a really well made no pull harness made by 2 Hounds. I find the lead under the neck is very useful to encourage the dog not to pull, and once they are comfortable walking, the clip on the back of the shoulders works really well. I discovered this when one of my clients was unable to stop her dog from pulling, while on vacation she went into a pet shop located on Cape Cod that carried them. Not only did it stop the dog from pulling, it was super well made with a soft velvet belly strap that made it super comfortable for the dog to wear. It's easy to get in and out of and it comes in a variety of colors and flexible sizes. I have encouraged a few other clients to purchase the no pull harness, a variety of sizes and breeds, and each one is very pleased with the product.

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