Collars vs Harness – What is the right choice for your dog’s walks?

Jan 16, 2023 | Walks

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Collars have become a part of every household with a dog. A young puppy is immediately put on a collar, and walking a dog on a collar has been normalised. Some dog trainers use collars to control a dog’s walk. Examples of tools that control a dog by inflicting physical discomfort and pain are choke, prong, shock collars and head halters.

Other regular collars are sometimes advertised to have no impact on your dog’s welfare. We’ve created an infographic for you to understand the potential damage that a collar can cause.

dog outside on patio resting with flowers

What about using harness?

There are also various harnesses that are being sold in pet shops. Not all companies are making harnesses that help your dog’s walk. A Y-shaped harness keeps the shoulder joints free and is the best shape of a harness for your dog.

In the above image, both dogs are wearing a Y-shaped well-fitted harness. The numbers correspond to important aspects that help a dog while walking.

1) The centre of the Y must fit between the shoulders on the breast (sternum) bone

2) The neck is free

3) The armpits are free

Pulling while walking

Using a harness will significantly reduce your dog’s discomfort if he pulls during a walk. However, pulling still negatively impacts your dog’s body. It is therefore important that your dog learns to walk slowly on a loose leash that helps his posture and balance.

Loose leash walking is an important skill. In an ideal world, our dogs would get to walk off-leash all the time. But as responsible guardians and with respect to our environment, it is impractical to do that. Teaching a dog loose leash walking not only involves training but also requires us to change our own behaviours and take into consideration other elements of our dog’s life. Once a dog feels comfortable during a walk, pulling will naturally reduce and walks will become relaxing for both you and your dog.

Loose leash walking is one of many learning you will get when you sign up for Level 1 of our International Dog Trainer School. Level 1 is an introductory course designed for all dog lovers, enthusiasts and guardians. It is also the first level for those who want to pursue a career as a dog behaviour specialist.


  1. – Els Vidts – Belgium © 2014

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