Written by FOTP Team
Choosing the right method of restraint for your dog can seem like a daunting task, especially in a market rife with options, all of which claim to be the best there is! With a whole manor of different shaped and sized harnesses and collars, choosing the wrong option is not only bad for your wallet, but can also have serious consequences for the health and welfare of your dog.
Just like collars and harnesses, dogs come in all shapes and sizes. All collars and harnesses have their generalised pros and cons, but what suits one dog, won’t suit the next. To help you on your way to solving the collar VS harness dilemma, let’s consider some important factors.
Collars are not only a means of identification for your dog but are an ideal method of restraint for dogs that are trained on the lead not to pull because they don’t restrict movement in any way. For any collar, a proper fit is essential. As a good rule of thumb, you should be able to fit two adult fingers between your dog’s collar and neck. Additionally, ensure that the collar is not too thin as this will create a reduction in the contact area between the collar and dogs’ neck, concentrating the pressure and force into a smaller area.
Harnesses Are Best?
In many cases harnesses are ideal, whether it be providing more control, reducing pressure to the neck (and the chance of a multitude of potential related injuries and health problems), training to discourage pulling or for work purposes, they definitely have their place.
Ongoing research is revealing that poor choice of harness can completely undo these advantages. There’s a wide range of harnesses available on the Two Main Factors to Consider,
1. Harness fit
A correctly sized harness for your dog is essential. A harness that is too big is liable to slip, and too small may cause pinching, movement restriction, pressure points and rubbing. Much like a collar, a good rule of thumb is ensuring that you can fit two fingers (and no more) between your dog and the harness.
A well fitted harness will not pull, chafe, or irritate your dog and will stay put with minimal movement. If your dog is young, regularly recheck harness fit to ensure they aren’t outgrowing it.doggy market, with differing designs, shapes, fabrics, and amount of padding. So, what makes a harness good or bad?
2. Harness design
Unfortunately, there are many harnesses available on the market that seem to have been manufactured with a disregard to the dog’s anatomy. Be sure to choose a harness that doesn’t restrict your dog’s movement and range of motion.
Harnesses that have straps that run across their shoulder (such as the ‘no pull’ harness) are undoubtedly ones to avoid. Although they can be effective at reducing pulling, the straps that run across their shoulder and chest sit on some important muscles for shoulder function, restricting shoulder extension and forelimb protection.
Long term abnormal and restricted movement can have a large impact on the musculoskeletal health of your dog. Imagine walking around with the ends of your shoelaces tied together for long periods of time. You adjust your walk to reduce discomfort and after a while you begin to feel tight, sore and uncomfortable as your body compensates. Eventually you get abnormal wear and tear on joints, tendons and ligaments. Now consider this analogy to your dog and its ill-fitting harness.
Whilst almost every harness design has its advantages and trade offs, in general Y-shaped harnesses restrict your dog’s movement the least. Not all Y-shaped harnesses are made equal so be sure to do your research and ensure that straps don’t restrict the following regions,
Unfortunately, whether your choice be harness or collar, there is nearly always a trade-off, so always choose a method of restraint that best suits your dog! Many problems regarding restraints arise in dogs that pull excessively, so training your dog not to pull will lead to the best outcomes.