Choosing the Right Collar or Harness For Your Dog

When walking your dog, you’ll need to attach the lead to either a collar or a harness. There are various styles of each one, and beyond that, there’s also a range of materials, colours and designs to choose from. You might want a simple black leather one, or you may go for a matching floral set.

What you choose will partly depend on the breed, personality and behaviour of your dog. A small well behaved dog will need a very different collar or harness to a large dog that pulls.

So, how do you choose the right collar or harness for your dog?

Collar Styles

Traditional Buckle: Similar to a belt a human would wear – it features holes for adjusting the size and a prong to keep it in place. These tend to be collars made of sturdy material such as leather. This collar isn’t as quick and easy to remove as others.

Recommended for: Larger and stronger dogs as well as those that wear their collar all the time.    

Quick Release Buckle: This tends to be a plastic buckle that clips together. This collar is easy to remove. These are made of fabric, usually nylon – and you often have more choice of colours and designs.

It is recommended for Smaller dogs and sometimes a requirement for those at doggy daycare.  

Safety/Center Ring: This collar features an O-shaped ring – this is designed to avoid dogs being choked if their collar gets caught and enable them to escape.

It is recommended for dogs that roam more freely on large areas of land – including herding dogs.

Martingale: These are similar to choke chains, but while they can be damaging to your pooch if not used properly, these are much more comfortable and far safer. They tend to have a small section of the chain which mimics the effects without hurting the dog. They are also available without any chain at all.

It is recommended for: Dogs that are in training.

Harness styles

Back-clip: This is the most common type of harness the lead attaches to it at the dogs back. It’s comfortable for the dog and easy to use.

It is recommended for smaller dogs as well as larger dogs that don’t pull.

Front-clip: These aren’t as common as other harness styles. The lead clips to the front of the harness.

It is recommended for: Dogs that pull, especially larger breeds.

Dual-clip: This is a mixture of the above – the lead can be clipped to the front or back.

Recommended for: Dogs that are known to pull or lunge because you have the option to get more control if and when you need it.

Choosing the right size

Whether you choose a collar or a harness, you need the right size. Too small and this could rub and hurt them. Too loose and there is a chance they could get out of it and escape.

 So, for a collar, first measure their head (from the throat, over-ears to top of head) and neck size – when measuring the latter, place two fingers between the measuring tape and their neck.  

 Then, for a harness, you need to measure the neck (just above the shoulders and just below where the collar would sit) and the chest (the widest part, from the bottom of the rib cage). Their weight may also need to be taken into account for a harness.

Ultimately choosing the right collar or harness for your dog comes down to the breed and their behaviour when out walking. Consider this, and you’ll choose the perfect one for your particular pooch. 

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