Dog Parent Dilemma: Collar or Harness? Deciding What's Best for Your Pup

  • by Andrea Nunez
Dog Parent Dilemma: Collar or Harness? Deciding What's Best for Your Pup

Have you recently welcomed a new pup into your home, or perhaps you're an experienced dog parent pondering the best choice between a dog collar and a dog harness? The collar versus harness conundrum is one that dog owners have wrestled with for years, with opinions varying widely. This article aims to delve into this dog parent dilemma, providing insights to help you make an informed decision about what's best for your beloved canine.

Understanding the Dog Collar

Dog collars are a traditional choice and offer many conveniences. They're easily adjustable and allow for quick attachment of identification tags and leashes. There are also a wide range of types, designs, and materials to choose from, including leather dog collars like the ones you can find on the NINA WOOF main page, which are cruelty-free, vegan, and sustainable.

Different Types of Dog Collars

Dog collars are not one-size-fits-all; they come in various types to suit different dogs and different purposes. Let's look at some of the most common types:

Shock Collar for Dogs

A shock collar is a training tool often used for behavior correction. They work by sending a small electrical stimulation to get your dog's attention. However, they are a point of contention among dog trainers and pet owners, with concerns about their effect on a dog's psychological wellbeing.

Halo Collar

The Halo collar combines GPS tracking with custom training, allowing owners to keep tabs on their dogs and maintain safe boundaries.

Martingale Collars

Martingale collars are also known as limited-slip collars and are designed for dogs whose heads are smaller than their necks, making it easy for them to slip out of traditional collars.

Fi Dog Collar

The Fi dog collar is a smart collar that tracks your dog's activity and location. It can be especially useful for dogs who like to explore and give their owners a bit of a scare.

Bark Collar

A bark collar can help manage excessive barking by providing a correction (sound, vibration, or static stimulation) when it detects the vibration of your dog's vocal cords.

Prong Collar

Prong collars, also known as pinch collars, are controversial. They work by pinching the dog's neck when the leash is pulled.

E Collar

E-collars, or electronic collars, are often used for training and can work with a remote that allows you to send a signal to your dog's neck collar.

Gentle Leader

The Gentle Leader is a type of head dog collar designed to provide control by guiding your dog's head, helping prevent pulling and lunging.

Leather Dog Collars

Leather dog collars, such as those from NINA WOOF, are durable, stylish, and comfortable, making them a popular choice for many dog owners.

Seresto Collar

The Seresto collar is designed to repel and kill ticks and fleas. It offers eight months of continuous protection, making it a convenient option for flea and tick prevention.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Dog Collars

Collars, from the standard leather dog collar to more specific types like the shock collar or seresto collar, have their pros and cons.


  1. They're easy to put on and take off

  2. You can attach ID tags to them, which is crucial in case your dog gets lost

  3. They're a great tool for training – some dogs react well to collar corrections during training


  1. Can cause injury: In case of a strong pull or jerk, a collar can cause neck injury or thyroid issues in dogs.

  2. Potential for escape: Agile dogs, or those with narrow heads, can sometimes slip out of their collars.

Personalized Dog Collars and Their Importance

Custom dog collars, engraved with your pet's name and your contact details, can be a lifesaver if your dog goes missing. There are various options for personalized dog collars on the market, and the NINA WOOF collection features an array of stylish, high-quality choices including custom dog collars.

Discovering the Dog Harness

The dog harness is another popular option among pet parents. Unlike collars, which go around the neck, a harness fits around a dog’s body, offering a different set of benefits and potential drawbacks.

Different Types of Dog Harnesses

Just like collars, harnesses also come in different types:

Service Dog Vest

A service dog vest identifies a dog as a service animal and often has pockets where you can carry necessary items.

No Pull Dog Harness

A no pull dog harness has a leash attachment in front of the chest and helps reduce pulling by allowing you to steer your dog.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Dog Harnesses


  1. Offers better control: Especially for parents of larger dogs, a harness provides better control during walks.

  2. Less risk of injury: As the pressure is distributed across the body, there's less risk of injury compared to a collar.


  1. Can be uncomfortable: Some dogs might find a harness uncomfortable, especially if it's not the right fit.

  2. More time-consuming to put on: A harness takes a bit longer to put on compared to a collar.

Pull Harness vs. No Pull Harness: What's the Difference?

When discussing harnesses, you've likely come across the terms "pull harness" and "no pull harness." Understanding the difference between these two types is crucial to making the right choice for your dog.

A pull harness, often used for sled dogs or dogs involved in weight pulling sports, is designed to evenly distribute weight across the dog's chest and shoulders, making it easier for them to pull heavy loads. This type of harness can encourage pulling when used during everyday walks and is generally not recommended for the average pet parent.

On the other hand, a no pull harness is designed to discourage pulling and make walks more enjoyable. When your dog tries to pull, this type of harness redirects their forward motion by turning their body towards you, making it more difficult for them to pull. The no pull harness can be a game-changer for those who struggle with dogs who like to tug on the leash.

Remember, no matter the type of harness you choose, it's important to ensure it fits correctly and doesn't cause any discomfort or chafing on your dog.

Understanding Leash Attachment Points

The leash attachment point is where you clip the leash onto the collar or harness, and it plays a significant role in controlling your dog's movement.

Typically, collars have a single leash attachment point at the back of the dog's neck. Most harnesses also have this back-clip design. This setup works well for calm dogs who do not pull on the leash.

However, some harnesses offer a front-clip design, with the attachment point located on the chest. This design helps deter pulling by redirecting the dog towards you when they try to pull, providing more control.

Some no-pull harnesses offer dual attachment points - one on the back and one on the chest - providing the flexibility to use whichever suits your dog's training needs. This feature can be especially helpful during the training phase or if your dog tends to switch between calm and more excited states.

Collar vs. Harness: Safety Considerations

When considering safety, it's essential to note that both collars and harnesses can be part of a safe walk, but they must be used appropriately. A collar can be unsafe if your pup pulls hard, potentially causing neck injuries.

The harness, on the other hand, could be unsafe if it doesn't fit properly, as a loose harness can chafe a dog's skin and even allow a dog to escape. In addition to these considerations, there are other tools like dog seat belts and dog cones that can contribute to your pet's safety.

The Role of Dog Seat Belts

A dog seat belt can keep your pup secure during car rides. It can either attach to your dog’s harness or collar. Given that a harness provides more stability, it’s generally considered safer for use with a seat belt.

The Place for Dog Cones in Your Pet Care Kit

Dog cones, also known as E-collars (Elizabethan collars, not to be confused with electronic collars), can prevent your pet from licking or scratching a wound or surgical site, helping it to heal faster. These are generally not related to the collar vs. harness debate but are a crucial part of your dog care kit.

Collar vs. Harness: Training Considerations

Both collars and harnesses can be effective tools for training, depending on the technique used.

Use of Dog Training Collars

Dog training collars, such as shock collars, bark collars, or e-collars, can be effective tools for managing behavior and training your dog. However, they should be used responsibly and as a last resort, and not as a substitute for positive reinforcement training methods.

How Harnesses Can Aid in Control and Training

Harnesses, particularly no-pull dog harnesses, can be beneficial for training dogs not to pull on the leash. By providing the ability to control and guide your dog's body, they can make walks more pleasant for both of you.

Collar vs. Harness: Health Implications

There are certain health considerations to keep in mind when choosing between a collar and a harness for your dog.

Collars can potentially cause or worsen respiratory problems and thyroid issues in dogs. This is especially true for breeds prone to brachycephalic syndrome, such as Bulldogs and Pugs, where pressure on the neck can exacerbate breathing issues.

On the other hand, a poorly fitted harness can cause issues like skin irritation or chafing. Some believe that harnesses could potentially affect a dog's natural gait, although further research is needed in this area.

Collar vs. Harness: The Style Factor

Apart from function, style is a significant factor for many pet parents. And why not? Who doesn't want their four-legged friends to look their best?

Trendy Dog Collars

From the fashionable halo dog collar to the stylish leather dog collars from NINA WOOF, there's no shortage of trendy options to ensure your pet stands out.

Stylish Harness Options

When it comes to harnesses, the no-pull dog harness not only offers functionality but also comes in various styles, allowing your dog to be comfortable, controlled, and chic.

Innovations in Dog Collars and Harnesses

In this digital age, pet accessories have not been left behind. Innovations in dog collars and harnesses offer enhanced functionality, adding convenience and peace of mind for pet parents.

Wireless Dog Fence: The Petsafe Wireless Fence

A Petsafe wireless fence is an innovative system that creates an invisible boundary to keep your dog within a specific area. It works with a special dog collar that gives a warning sound and a safe static correction if your dog approaches the boundary.

Dog Tracker Enabled Collars and Harnesses: The Fi Collar

The Fi collar is a smart collar that features a GPS tracker. This means you can always know where your dog is, which is especially useful if your dog is an escape artist or you live in an area with a high risk of dog theft.

AirTag-Enabled Dog Collar

Apple's AirTag technology isn't just for finding your lost keys. An AirTag-enabled dog collar, like those found on NINA WOOF, allows you to keep tabs on your furry friend using the same technology.

Collar or Harness: What’s Right for Your Dog?

Choosing between a collar or harness comes down to your dog’s breed, behavior, health, and your personal preferences. A harness might be a better choice for a small dog, a dog that pulls, or a dog with respiratory or neck issues. On the other hand, a dog collar could be perfect for a well-behaved dog who doesn't pull on the leash or a dog who doesn't like the feeling of a harness.

As always, if you're unsure, consult with a professional dog trainer or your vet. They can provide advice tailored to your pup's specific needs.

Additional Resources

Choosing between a collar and a harness is just one part of being a responsible and informed pet parent. At NINA WOOF, we aim to provide you with all the knowledge you need to take the best possible care of your four-legged friend.

Here are some additional resources you might find helpful:

Understanding the Importance of Proper Waste Disposal

For every pet parent, it's important to understand the impact that improper pet waste disposal can have on our environment. Check out our blog post on this subject to learn about the benefits of biodegradable bags.

Delving Deeper into Dog Collar and Dog Harnesses

If you're looking for more information on this topic, consider reading our detailed guide to choosing a dog collar or harness.

General Pet Parenting Knowledge

Lastly, our main blog contains a wealth of information on all things dog-related, from safety tips to style guides, and more.

Remember, being a great pet parent means continuously learning and adapting to your pet's needs. We're here to help you every step of the way pick the right dog's collar!

Conclusion about dog's collar and how to take care of a dog's neck

The collar vs. harness debate doesn't have a definitive answer, as the best choice depends on your dog's individual needs. We hope this comprehensive guide has shed light on the topic, aiding you in making an informed decision. Remember, whether you choose a dog collar or a harness, the goal is to ensure your dog’s neck comfort, safety, and happiness.


  1. Are collars harmful to dogs? Collars can potentially cause harm if they're not used correctly or if a pup pulls hard on the leash. However, many dogs wear collars without any issue. It's crucial to choose a well-fitted collar and to monitor your dog for any signs of discomfort.

  2. Are harnesses better for dogs than collars? Harnesses can provide more control and can be a better choice for dogs that pull or have respiratory or neck issues. However, not all dogs need a harness, and some might even find them uncomfortable.

  3. Can I use both a collar and a harness for my dog? Yes, many dog parents use both. They might attach the leash to a harness for walks, while the dog's collar holds the ID tags.

  4. Which is more comfortable for dogs, a collar or a harness? This depends on the dog. Some might find collars more comfortable, while others prefer harnesses. It's important to observe your dog's behavior to see which they prefer.

  5. What are martingale collars and when should they be used? Martingale collars are a type of dog collar that tightens when a pup pulls but has a limit to prevent choking. They're typically used for dogs with narrow heads who can slip out of regular collars, such as Greyhounds and Whippets.

  6. What is a prong collar? A prong collar is a device with metal prongs that tighten around a dog's neck when it pulls on the leash. While some trainers use them for strong, uncontrolled dogs, they should be used with caution as they can potentially cause physical harm and stress.

  7. What is a gentle leader? A gentle leader is a type of head collar that applies pressure at the back of the neck and muzzle when a dog pulls on a leash. It's a humane tool for managing pulling and providing control, but it requires time for your dog to get used to it.

  8. Can a dog wear a collar/harness all the time? While some dogs wear collars all the time, it's often recommended to remove them at home to prevent them from getting caught on something. Harnesses should generally be removed after walks or training sessions.

  9. What are waterproof collars and why might I need one for my dog? Waterproof collars are made from water-resistant materials such as PVC or coated nylon, designed to withstand wet conditions without getting damaged or causing discomfort to your dog. These are especially useful if your dog loves swimming, gets bathed often, or if you live in a region with frequent rainfall. They are easy to clean, quick to dry, and resistant to odor, making them a practical choice for active and water-loving dogs.

  10. What are reflective collars and when are they beneficial? Reflective collars have material that reflects light, making your dog more visible in low-light conditions. These collars are beneficial for early morning or late evening walks when it's dark outside. The reflective feature can help keep your dog safe by making them more noticeable to motorists and cyclists, reducing the risk of accidents. If you and your pup enjoy walks during dawn or dusk, or if you live in an area with limited lighting, a reflective collar can be a smart choice.

  11. What is a freedom harness, and how does it differ from other harnesses? A Freedom harness is a type of no-pull harness that features two leash attachment points: one at the chest and one at the back. This design allows for more control over your dog's movements. What sets the Freedom harness apart is its "velvet" belly strap designed to minimize rubbing and chafing, making it a more comfortable option for your dog, especially on long walks or during training sessions.

  12. What should I consider when choosing collars and harnesses for toy breeds? When choosing collars and harnesses for very small breeds, the first consideration should be the size and weight of the product. It should be lightweight and appropriately sized so as not to overwhelm your small dog or cause discomfort. Furthermore, because toy breeds can be more prone to certain health issues, like tracheal collapse, a harness is often recommended over a collar to distribute pressure more evenly and prevent stress on the neck.

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