Pros and Cons of Collars, Harnesses and Head Halters for Walking Your Dog

Guest Post By Susan Wright, DMV – Learn more about Susan at the end of this post

It can get quite confusing trying to figure out the best type of collar or harness to use for walking your dog. You want your dog to be comfortable and safe but at the same time you need to enjoy the walk as well. If you’re constantly being pulled and tugged by your dog, the nice walk outside in the sunshine may not be as pleasant for you as you’d like it to be.

Pros and Cons

There is a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of each, but a lot of it comes down to the respect that your dog has for you and how well you can walk together, as well as your personal preference. A head halter has been designed to help you get control over your dog’s head so that he can’t continually pull on the leash whenever he wants and you can change his direction if you need to. These head halters do work in that regard, but are they safe for the dog?

The answer is yes and no. Head halters can do a lot of harm to your dog’s neck. By continually pulling his head to the side, damage can be done that can be irreversible. As well, some dogs don’t respond well to head restraint and may fight and struggle when they have to wear them. On the other hand, your dog can learn to tolerate the head halter, and if you train him to walk nicely by your side, there won’t be any harmful pulling at his neck. If you’re having a hard time controlling your pet during a walk and you’re unsure about whether a halter will hurt him, it’s better to look at other alternatives and leave the head halters on the shelf at the pet store.

Dog collars have been used for years and are used by most owners to walk their pets. They are easy to use since the collar remains on your dog at all times and all you need to do to get out the door is strap on a leash and off you go for your walk. You won’t have to worry about adjusting a harness or putting on a halter every time you decide to head out. The problem with the standard collar is that it too can lead to injuries, and your dog can pull hard while wearing one.

Risks of Using the Wrong Collar

A dog that is pulling on his leash will be pulling on his collar and can cause pain in his neck. While you may have a dog that is a great walker and doesn’t tend to pull on the leash, there might be times when he will spurt off in a moment of excitement or to chase a cat. These are the times when his neck gets pulled excessively and over time it can hurt. Not only that, but the constant pulling can make walking more of a pain than a pleasure for you.

The only safe way to really walk your dog is with a properly fitting harness. When your dog pulls on the leash the impact will be felt over a wider area and not in his neck alone. They can be more cumbersome to use because they will need to be attached and taken off after every walk, but they are well worth the effort. As well, some harnesses have been designed to reduce the pull from your dog to give you more control during your walk.

The dog walking accessory you choose depends on your dog’s size and how well trained he is. Try each one for yourself, and see which you like best.

Dr. Susan Wright DMV is a highly trained veterinarian of more than a decade. Dr. Wright also enjoys sharing tips that help keep the cost of owning a dog lower

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