Why Use a Dog Harness instead of a Collar?

Why a harness? Isn't a collar good enough?

The short answer is no. Why? 

Firstly, research shows dogs are more unruly and disobedient when led on a neck collar. So there are better ways to manage your dog other than using a collar for control.

Plus, pulling or tugging from the dog, or owner, onto a narrow collar, can cause significant trauma to the neck Just over 2 g of weight can suppress a dog's nerve's function by up to 50%. 

Why is this important? Because the cervical and accessory spinal nerves run under the collar. Excessive strain on the dog's neck can risk damage to these nerves. 

So while a collar is a great way to attach identification to your dog, it's not necessarily the best way to walk your dog. 

Benefits of a dog harness

Controlling your dog on walks is essential for a happy dog and owner, and the right type of equipment can help. Body harnesses are a great option offering:

  • Comfort for your dog
  • An easy adjustment phase
  • Less stress and possible injury on the neck area
  • Better management of a pulling dog
  • Security when travelling in the car
  • Better security when tethering to a post 

There is an ample variety of harnesses available on the market, so it can be confusing to make a choice that suits you and your dog. In the next post, I'll run through the different types of harnesses and how to choose the best ones for your dog. 

If you have a questions or feedback, sent me a message of leave a comment below.


1. Ogburne et al Applied Animal Behavioural Science133 (1998), pp. 133-142
2. Kaufman, J. (2007). The collar's role: Avoiding neck, spine and other injuries. The Retriever: Labrador Education And Rescue Network's Newsletter, November 2–5.
3.P.C. Goody. Dog anatomy: A pictorial approach to canine structure (6th ed.), J A Allen, London, United Kingdom (2013), p. 217
4. Vetstreet.com April 2014


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