If you are a new owner of a small dog, the choice between using a collar or a harness for your walks sooner or later becomes yours. It must be recognized that each of the two has several advantages that do not facilitate the decision. Are you still hesitating to make a choice? In this article, we explain the particularities of each to help you make the best possible purchase.
What is the difference between a harness and a collar?
Basically, a harness and a collar have the same function, namely to allow you to keep control of your pet while walking. They allow you to keep it away from danger and prevent it from disturbing passers-by. Nevertheless, these are two accessories with several points of difference.
The collar is a tool that is fixed around the animal's neck while the harness is attached to its chest and back. The two are therefore differentiated through their mode of positioning on the animal. Then, it should be noted that with a collar, a traction force is exerted on the neck and the nape of the animal's neck to retain it. On the contrary with a harness, the traction is distributed over the whole body of the animal. Thus, the second difference between the two concerns the area of application of the pulling force of the accessory leash.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the collar is a tool that is quite easily placed on the animal's neck. It can stay on the animal's neck for a long time and can be useful when you need to give it a tag containing your contact details in case it gets lost.
However, things are different with the harness. Already, it should be noted that the accessory arises with a little more difficulty than the first, because it needs to be well adjusted to guarantee the comfort of the animal. Also, you can not leave it on the animal after the walk, because it may be uncomfortable when he wants to have fun. So the third big difference is ease of use .
Why use a harness rather than a collar for your pet?
To understand the reasons why the harness is more recommended, it is important to start by looking at the limits of the collar that it comes to solve.
The downside of the collar
The collar is arguably the most used accessory by dog owners due to its simplicity. Although he may take it badly at first, the puppy will get used to it after a while. The necklace even ended up being used for teething. However, simplicity does not necessarily mean comfort and the fact that the dog is used to the collar does not always make it more pleasant for him to wear.
Indeed, as underlined above, the traction force is exerted on the neck and the nape of the neck of the dog. This greatly increases the risk of injury, because this area has several organs. If you have a rather turbulent dog during walks , the collar may press on his throat and cause him pain.
It is not uncommon to see dogs exhibiting breathing difficulties or coughing after desperate attempts to go eat or attack their congeners by forcing the collar. You should know that the throat is a very sensitive part of the dog's body due to the presence of the larynx, thyroid glands and blood vessels.
Even if in the majority of the cases the animal does not present after-effects, the risk of hyperthyroidism , pains or cervical or intraocular pressure exists, although being very weak. All this to make you understand that wearing a collar can create real discomfort and injury despite all the advantages of this accessory.
The advantage of the harness
The harness makes up for the shortcomings of the collar. It is therefore not without reason that many specialists recommend that owners use it rather than a collar to restrain their animals. With the harness, the traction force is no longer localized, but distributed over the entire body of the animal. In this case, you no longer pull his neck, but his entire body at once and that makes all the difference.
Thus, with a harness, there is very little chance of seeing your dog injured if he ever pulls violently on the leash. Also, his resistance is lower with the harness , because his whole body is immediately blocked when you pull. Harness walks are therefore more controlled, as you have almost total control over the direction the dog takes. You can more easily redirect him when he drifts with a simple squeeze of the leash. The walk is also more pleasant, because the fights between you in the animal will be less and less frequent.
In addition, it should be noted that the harness greatly facilitates the training of the animal. It allows you to teach him certain movements such as walking, sitting down or even standing still. Also, it is more suitable when you have to practice sports or when you go out in the car.
The particularity of the Kanyfree anti-pull harness
If the harness proves to be more effective, it does not mean that all types of harness will do. Indeed, some harnesses because of their material or their size can cause some discomfort to the dog. Also, if the structure of the harness is not made by professionals, it is likely to cause pain to the dog. Luckily, the Kanyfree Anti-Pull Harness distributes the pulling force all over the dog's body to hold him firmly without causing injury.
The Kanyfree harness's ventral hook allows your dog to pivot naturally without pain when you face danger. Also, this harness has the particularity of being reflective. This guarantees the safety of the dog during your night walks. In addition, it offers a customizable fit as the dog's morphology changes. It can therefore be used for a long time or throughout the dog's growth.
Another particularity of this harness is that unlike others on the market, it is worn in 5 seconds. If harnesses were known for their difficulty to be worn compared to collars, the Kanyfree anti-pulling harness completely changes the game. With its ventral hook , dorsal hook , ergonomic handle and reflective stitching, it is one of the most complete harness models on the market.
What are the types of dog harnesses?
The harness is available in several types, which allows you to choose the one that will be best suited to your dog.
The classic harness
This is the basic harness used to take your dog on walks and serves to replace the traditional collar. It is a harness that can be found on the market in several forms represented by letters of the alphabet. Thus, you have the Y-harness characterized by straps that cross over the chest.
You also have the T-harnesses much more recommended for small dogs or rigged dogs. We could also add the H-harness which is very comfortable and suitable for all types of dogs. You will have more details on the forms of harnesses later in the article.
The training harness
It is a very popular type of harness in the education circles of the pet world. It allows you to gradually eliminate certain bad habits of your dog to make him more docile. By using a training harness, you will teach your dog not to pull violently on the leash when you are out for a walk. In addition, the training harness will also be used to train him for activities like pulling heavy loads .
There are several kinds of training harnesses among which you have: the anti-pulling harness and the pulling harness. The first makes it possible to reverse the force of traction on the animal which is then exerted from the bottom upwards. In other words, the anti-pulling harness makes it possible to interrupt the tugging of the dog by raising its legs in height and without causing it any pain. This type of harness forces him to modulate his speed according to yours, which makes the walk less exhausting for both of you.
The second has a completely opposite function to the first which is supposed to prevent it from pulling too hard. The pulling harness is used to teach the dog to drag heavy loads. It is more used by professionals of various trades, including the police or the army.
The sports harness
There are types of harnesses specially designed to allow you to practice certain types of sports. These are what we call sports harnesses and there are all kinds. Among other things, you have the flyball harness which gives the dog a certain freedom of movement while allowing you to maintain control with a handle.
It is used very often for hiking. We can also talk about the harness for canicross , this sport where the dog and its handler are connected during a race and are forced to provide a synchronized effort.
The therapeutic harness
The therapeutic harness or harness is used for dogs with physical disabilities or those who are very old. It is a fairly enveloping type of harness that supports the dog's movements. It thus makes your walks less painful for him and above all easier.
Note that it is important to choose the type of harness that best suits the activity you are doing with your dog. A therapeutic harness could seem uncomfortable for a dog on a hike just as a walking harness could represent a handicap if it is used for canicross.
What are the forms of harnesses?
There are several forms of harnesses available in the market.
The T-shaped harness
It is a model of harness that is generally found on large dogs, because it has a handle on the back that allows you to control the animal well. It is a very practical harness for short walks with your dog, but which cannot be used for sports activities.
In this case, the dog would risk feeling discomfort that will have an impact on these performances. There are T-shaped harness models that are equipped with an additional chest strap and allow them to be used as a strain relief harness. Note that T-shaped harnesses are very practical and very easy to put on.
The H-shaped harness
It is a very common form of harness and is characterized by its H shape. Unlike the previous one, it is a little more difficult to put on, but allows you to keep total control over the animal. It is put on by passing the straps through the front legs of the dog.
Specialists often recommend opting for a harness with straps that are at least wide in order to reduce friction when the animal pulls on the leash. It is a form of harness that is also used to take walks with the animal.
X or Y shaped harnesses
These are harnesses that are distinguished by their X or Y shape at chest level. They are very versatile and ensure optimal comfort for your pet during your walks. This type of harness holds perfectly, regardless of whether they are in anti-pulling mode , i.e. with a clip on the chest, or in traction mode with the clip on the back.
These are harnesses that cover the entire back of the animal and are often used when hiking. Integral harnesses make it possible to carry the animal in the event that it cannot overcome certain types of obstacles. In addition, it is made up of pockets allowing the dog to carry fairly light equipment. This is a type of harness that is also used on older dogs to help them climb stairs. It is also sometimes seen on dogs with osteoarthritis.
How to choose your dog harness?
To make the most of all the advantages of a harness with your dog, it is important to choose your equipment carefully. You must buy the harness that will be able to guarantee excellent comfort for your dog and facilitate your activities with him. To do this, several factors must be taken into account.
The use of the harness
As you have seen, the activity you will be doing with your dog is an important indicator of the type of harness you might need. As part of a canine sport where the dog has to pull a heavy load, you can opt for a pulling harness. If, on the other hand, you want to educate him in a certain number of gestures, the anti-pulling harness is more recommended.
As explained above, there are all types for the dozens of different activities you can do with your dog. Thus, you will find hiking harnesses as well as sea rescue harnesses, canicross harnesses or even harnesses for athletic dogs.
When buying a harness for your dog, you need to make sure that it fits his size perfectly. The harness must be adjusted according to his morphology in order to be as comfortable as possible for him. It shouldn't be too big or too tight, but should provide the best fit . You can measure the circumference of the part behind the front legs where the harness sits to get an idea of your dog's size.
Fortunately, there are harness models with scratch or straps that allow you to make adjustments according to the size of your pet. However, this does not mean that you can choose any model regardless of size. This factor is even more important to watch out for when shopping online.
The material of the harness
The material is another important comfort parameter to consider when choosing your harness. You must choose a material that does not cause irritation and that facilitates the evaporation of perspiration. Similarly, it is always better to opt for a material that washes easily. Thus, your pet will feel more comfortable and you will have little trouble maintaining it on a daily basis.
Each harness model is different and this is a serious advantage for dog owners, as some have additional options. These are added items for additional function on the harness.
This is the case, for example, of harnesses with a handle on the top that allows you to control your dog more easily, or pockets to carry certain objects, or reflective seams . The options can be of different kinds, so do not hesitate to explore several avenues.
Harnesses also stand out when it comes to style in the market. You can therefore choose your harness model based on its originality or its aesthetic appearance . This includes the choice of colors, the shape or the design of the harness which can help you make a relevant choice.
It is true that for the dog these parameters are secondary, but it is important if you like to take care of his look. In this case, do not hesitate to make your choice among the ranges, neutral, decorated, refined or trendy.
Where to buy a dog harness?
Buying a quality harness for your dog can cost you around $15 to $80. You should know that the place of purchase of the harness will be of paramount importance on its price. Here are some tips to help you find yours.
To start, your hunt for the ideal harness, it is better to go to the supermarkets. This is where you will find the most basic models on the market. They are generally low-end and cheaper, which does not guarantee you enough comfort. However, if your budget is very limited, this is a good option.
In a pet store, you are sure to come across a wider selection of harnesses of various categories. Although you're still somewhat limited by the number of harness types, chances are you'll find the one you're looking for.
Also, the advantage of going to a pet store is that you can have your dog try the harness on to make sure it fits him properly. Finally, you are always free to browse several establishments until you find your harness.
On the Internet, the choice of harnesses is almost limitless. Indeed, there are hundreds of websites that offer various ranges of harnesses among which you will soon find the one that suits you. In many cases, prices are more affordable than pet stores and you'll save more time researching.
Nevertheless, it is important to choose a quality site with a good reputation in the field. Scams are always numerous on the internet and the possibility of buying a poor quality product is much higher than in pet stores.
The ideal would be to always read the opinions of former buyers on the site since you will not be able to try the harness before buying it. Likewise, you should target sites that only accept free returns so that you can return the harness if the size or pattern does not match your expectations.
How do you know if your harness is suitable for your dog?
First and foremost, you need to be sure that the harness your dog is wearing is suitable for the type of activity you are doing. Then, to know if your dog is comfortable with the harness, you have to observe his behavior. If it's starting to scratch all over the place, flipping around, or still trying to pull it off even after a week of use, you need to ask yourself some questions.
In these cases, start by checking if the harness is not too tight against him. Look for red marks on his body or areas where hair has been pulled out or damaged. Make sure the harness is right side up and not upside down. Finally, check that there is no torsion at the level of the fasteners of the accessory.