Dog Collars and Harnesses: Things to Consider

A dog who gets plenty of exercise is a well-behaved dog. When shopping for dog collars and harnesses people have asked me which they should purchase to walk thier dog. For our dogs there are times when I use a collar and times when I use a harness. We’ll discuss this further.

When shopping for dog collars and harnesses there are factors to consider. A suitable collar or harness can make the world of difference for you and your dog during the walk. From my years of experience caring for dogs of different breeds I will clarify what I have found to be the best choice for our dogs. I will share quality, low-cost products that I have found to be the most beneficial in dog walking options.

Things To Consider

A little dog wearing a chain collar that is too big.

When shopping for dog collars and harnesses you want to consider the size of your dog and your dog’s behavior during the walk. In my recent post I mentioned my dog Archer who is a large Shepherd/Bloodhound who pulled and lunged during the walk.

Using a dog harness with a front clip for the leash was ideal for Archer as it allowed me to have more control of his body and I was able to control his direction thanks to the front clip hookup. I think the reason the front clip harness works best – especially for bigger dogs is because you are leading with their center of gravity which is their chest. When you lead with their chest you have more control. Of all the harnesses I have tried the PetSafe Easy Walk Harness has been the most effective.  

The PetSafe Easy Walk harness is easy to use and adjusts to size.  And it is reasonably priced.  

PetSafe Easy Walk Harness can be purchased from Amazon.  Amazon also offers the PetSafe Deluxe Easy Walk Harness with padded straps.  

Whether we use a collar, or a harness also depends on where we are walking. If we are walking or going for a run in the field close to home, we won’t use the harness for Archer as there is no one around but us. If we go for a walk through town, I would use the harness. Even though Archer has mellowed with age he still gets excited when he sees other dogs and people, so I need to have full control of him during these times.

The Care Plan

Part of your dog’s care plan should include her collar and/or harness. Family members and significant others should be aware of what your dog is to wear on the walk. It might be suitable for our furry friend to wear his harness on the walk but while playing in the back yard a collar is fine.

My Preference

My preference for dog walking is the PetSafe Easy Walk Harness especially for dogs that pull or lunge during the walk. With a harness it is more difficult for a dog to get out of.  And there is no choking or strain on the dog’s neck as there is with collars. In my experience with big dogs with behaviors – a harness with a front clip for the leash is the idea walking harness.

PetSafe Easy Walk Harness can be purchased from Amazon.  Amazon also offers the PetSafe Deluxe Easy Walk Harness with padded straps.  

If you decide to use a harness you might want to consider getting one that is padded. A few years back while caring for a Rottweiler-cross I found the first harness I used for her caused chaffing under her arms. This was because Roxy pulled while on the leash and the harness did not fit her correctly. I found a padded harness that fit Roxy properly and eliminated the chaffing under her arms.

PetSafe Easy Walk Harness can be purchased from Amazon.  Amazon also offers the PetSafe Deluxe Easy Walk Harness with padded straps.  

Always make sure that your dog’s collar or harness fits properly. An ill-fitting collar or harness can be ineffective during training and can also hurt your dog. When ordering dog collars and harnesses online I have always taken my dog’s measurements and ordered according to their size chart. This saves having to return a product that doesn’t fit properly.

Whether you are using a collar or harness you want to ensure that your dog always has his ID tag on him, is tattooed or microchipped.  Regardless of walking on the leash in the city or a free run in the country or dog park- you always want to make sure that your dog is identifiable. 

Our dogs are either tattooed or microchipped and also have ID tags.  A lost or missing pet is heartbreaking.

Why Is the Walk So Important?

Dog wearing a harness and leash walking with owner.

In my experience dogs that don’t get enough exercise will often misbehave, chew household items, and may even become aggressive. Just like us they need to get out of the house, exercise, socialize and get rid of pent-up energy.
The walk is an important time for our dogs. During the walk our dogs sniff, explore and process their environment. To me the walk is my time to spend with my dog that builds trust and companionship.  The dog walk is also an excellent opportunity for training exercises.

Bottom Line

Taking your dog for a walk should be a shared enjoyable experience for both dog and owner. When we walk our dogs, it should be relaxing and pleasant. The correct fitting collar or harness is an important part of the walk. From my experience with different breeds and dogs of various sizes and ages – I will share with you the collars and harnesses that I have found to be the most effective.

I am not a veterinarian or dog trainer. I have cared for and worked with many dog breeds of various ages-majority of my dogs have been rescues.  I draw from years of hands-on experience.

If you have any questions or comments – please let me know in the comments below.

Thank you


“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” – Gilda Radner

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