collar vs harness

Every dog owner has their preference and, honestly, choose what is best for you and your dog! Harnesses and collars both have pros and cons, especially depending on what breed of dog you have and how reactive they are, so you need to pick which one is right for you. Today, we at Doggy Brace are going to go over the pros and cons of both! 

The Pros and Cons of Dog Collars

Everyone knows what a dog collar is, so these need no introduction. There are a few different kinds of dog collars, including flat collars, choke collars, shock/vibration collars, and martingale collars (ones that have limited slip). 

The Pros

 ID Tags

We love collars because they’re easy to use and you can attack identification tags on them super easily. These tags can have your name and phone number, your dog’s name, and your vet’s name on them, just in case they ever get loose. 

Training Capabilities

Depending on your dog’s needs, collars can be perfect for training. Shock/vibration collars (we do not condone shocking or hurting your dog and always advocate for vibration collars) help correct a dog’s behavior or get their attention in an instant. These work great for highly reactive dogs or those who are training to be service dogs or working dogs. 

Many dog trainers recommend that you begin leash training for a puppy with a four-foot leash and flat collar and use positive reinforcement to encourage your pup to walk by your side.

There is one con here: choke collars.These are inhumane tools made of metal links that are designed to control your dog by tightening around your dog’s neck in an often painful way. They were popular in the 1970s and 1980s for particularly aggressive dogs. Thankfully, these collars are no longer popular and often swapped out for the much more human vibration collars. 

Better Handling

Collars usually give you better control and handling over your dog, as they require less physical strength than a harness. However, keep in mind that a collar is only better at handling due to their placement – around the dog’s neck. Your dog knows when too much is too much, because they often choke themselves during the action. 

The Cons of Dog Collars


Your dog’s collar needs to fit. If it’s too loose, your dog can easily slip loose and escape. If it’s too tight, it can hurt your dog. 

Your Dog’s Comfort

Collars are notoriously bad for reactive dogs or those who aren’t leash trained. They pull against the collar and often hurt themselves, which can contribute to back pain, throat damage, and other discomforts. On top of that, the wrong material and fit can rub your dog’s skin raw! 

The Pros and Cons of Dog Harnesses

Dog harnesses come in all shapes and sizes. The usual shape of it is a shirt-like structure that wraps around your dog’s chests, stomach, and front two legs. Harnesses can be thick, thin, have pockets, be used to pull/attach to things, or just for regular walks. 

The Pros


Harnesses that fit right are notoriously more comfortable for your dog than collars. They can pull without hurting themselves and have more freedom because the pressure is distributed across their chest instead of around their neck. 

On top of that, they help prevent your dog getting tangled in their lease. Say goodbye to the days of fishing your leash out from under your dog’s legs – harnesses keep the leash above them and behind them at all times. 

They are also 1000% better for dogs with tracheal collapse, back problems, and snub noses, such as pugs and bulldogs. 


As long as the harness fits, there is a greatly reduced risk of your dog slipping free. Excited dogs have a harder time getting free of a harness because it allows them to freely jump and lurch without much restriction. 

Cons of a Dog Harness

Ease of Use

Dog harnesses are harder to put on and take off. Normally, you can train your dog to step into the sleeves or to be comfortable with you picking up and placing their legs. Reactionary dogs or sensitive pups may find harnesses scary the first couple of times. 


Because harnesses wrap around your dog’s chest, they don’t discourage pulling that well. That means you will need more strength to handle your dog. 

On top of that, harnesses that hook on the back can actually help train your dog to pull you — the exact opposite of what you want. So be sure your dog knows who is in charge during walks with a harness, or else they may end up walking you! 

So, Which is Better?

It depends. Collars are often better for training and non-reactive dogs. They can help with strong dog breeds as well. Harnesses are better for dogs with breathing problems, snub noses, or who are more reactive and prone to pulling. Which you choose, make sure it fits! 

That’s all from us. Play on!