Collar or harness for the dog? | Expert tips

Collar or harness for the dog? | Expert tips

Some dogs wear a collar, others a harness. But which is better? Puppy owners in particular are asking this question. Two experts, Christina Bennerscheid and Annalisa Edeler, provide information about the advantages and disadvantages of collars and harnesses.

When does the dog have to be on a leash?

Having dogs on a leash in everyday life is essential. On streets, in the city, on public transport, but also in many other places and even public green spaces, it is sometimes mandatory not to let dogs run free. The federal states and cities regulate the line obligation individually.

Especially when traveling to other federal states and when moving, dog owners should find out whether there is a leash requirement. Because letting the dog run in places with a leash is considered an administrative offense and can be fined. When walking on a leash, dog owners must decide whether they want to lead their dog with a collar or on a harness.

Collar or harness – depending on the purpose

Dog trainers Christina Bennerscheid and Annalisa Edeler recommend that you first ask yourself why the dog should be on a leash: “Do I want to communicate with my dog ​​and lead him? Then a collar is definitely the better choice. With a collar you can build a good and safe leash. I have a better, easier and more precise way of interacting with the dog ”.

For the dog, putting on a harness can be linked, for example, to a ritualized job, such as driving training: “The dog can combine putting on the harness with its task at hand and can already adapt to it mentally. Or if I have an insecure dog that tends to pull back in difficult situations and pull out of the holder, then harness is the better choice here, ”say the two experts. Harnesses should also be used when working with the towline, for example during callback training or simply for freewheeling.

Dog collar: a health question?

The neck of dogs is a sensitive region and should therefore not be subjected to excessive pressure. The consequences of frequent tugging on the collar are health problems such as:

  • laryngitis
  • Damage to the spine
  • Damage to the trachea, cough or chronic wheezing
  • Blood pressure too high
  • Increased intraocular pressure

Conditions on a good collar

Collars must be wide enough to relieve pressure on the neck and larynx. In addition, attention should be paid to a certain quality and a robust material so that the dog cannot tear itself away. The collar clasp should also be stable. There is a wide selection of materials. There are collars made of leather, biothane, nylon or other materials. The collar should not be too heavy and supple for the dog. Collars with reflectors or so-called luminies can provide more security at dusk or in the dark season. Electric collars, also called Teletak devices, collars without a pull stop or spiked collars are not legally permitted in Germany and are considered to be against animal welfare.

The right harness

From a medical point of view, even poorly fitting harnesses are questionable because the dog can also suffer back and posture damage if the harness is constantly tugged. Therefore, when choosing a harness, pay attention to the fit and good padding. The harness must not restrict the dog’s mobility. The movement of the shoulder blades is often restricted, particularly with Norwegian harnesses, where a belt runs horizontally across the chest. Safety harnesses are recommended for dogs that need special protection. In the meantime there are some manufacturers who make tableware to measure. For all dog owners who want to buy their harness in stores, it is advisable to take the dog with them to the store to take a close look at the correct fit.

Leashes are essential

In order to rule out health consequences, good line handling must first be built up, trained and enforced.

Conclusion: collar or harness

First of all, dog owners should ask themselves why the dog has to be on a leash. A collar is an advantage when walking, as better communication between humans and dogs is possible. Dishes are an advantage for certain training sessions. In both cases, it is essential to ensure a good fit and adequate pressure distribution.

In summary: advantages and disadvantages of collars and harnesses



✓ more precise action
✓ Better communication between humans and dogs possible


✓ If used incorrectly, health damage to the dog
✓ easier sliding out

Dog harness


✓ no or difficult to slide out
✓ better pressure distribution


✓ less precise communication
✓ difficult to get for some breeds

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