Should You Use a Collar or a Harness? #dogtraining #dogtrainer #leashtraining #puppytraining #dogs

As a dog trainer with years of experience, I often get asked the question: Should you use a collar or a harness for your furry companion? In this blog post, I will delve into this debate and provide you with valuable insights into the world of leash training and puppy training. Join me as we explore the pros and cons of both options, allowing you to make an informed decision that suits your dog’s needs. Let’s dive in and explore this common dilemma that many dog owners face!

Should You Use a Collar or a Harness for Dog Training? #dogtraining #dogtrainer #leashtraining #puppytraining #dogs


As a professional dog trainer, I often encounter questions from new pet owners about the best training tools to use for their furry companions. One of the most common dilemmas is whether to use a collar or a harness. In this article, I will present Part 3 of a series on dog training and discuss the pros and cons of each option to help you make an informed decision. So let’s dive right in!

Collar or Harness: The Choice is Yours!

When it comes to training your dog, the choice between a collar and a harness boils down to personal preference and the specific needs of your dog. Both tools have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to understand how each can impact your dog’s training experience.

Collars: The Traditional Approach

Collars have been a popular choice for dog training for many years. Traditional or compulsion trainers often prefer collars due to their reliance on neck contact to correct unwanted behaviors. However, it’s crucial to note that using collars improperly or with excessive force can cause harm and discomfort to your dog.

Here are some key features and considerations of using collars for dog training:

  1. Neck Contact: Collars utilize neck contact to communicate with your dog during training sessions.
  2. Limited Control: Collars may provide limited control over larger or stronger dogs, making it more challenging to handle leash pulling.
  3. Potential Discomfort: Some dogs may find collars uncomfortable, especially if not fitted properly or if they have respiratory issues.

Harnesses: A Modern Approach

In recent years, harnesses have gained popularity as a more effective and humane alternative to collars for dog training. Harnesses distribute pressure evenly across your dog’s body, reducing the risk of strain on their necks or choking.

Here are some key features and considerations of using harnesses for dog training:

  1. Comfortable Fit: Harnesses are designed to fit snugly around your dog’s body, providing a comfortable training experience.
  2. Better Control: Harnesses offer improved control over your dog’s movements, making it easier to manage leash pulling and other behavioral issues.
  3. Health Considerations: Harnesses are particularly beneficial for dogs with respiratory problems or breeds prone to neck injuries.

Addressing the Misconception about Leash Training

It’s essential to address a common misconception about leash training that often leads to confusion when choosing between a collar and a harness. Some pet owners believe that using a harness encourages pulling behavior, but this is not entirely accurate. The behavior depends on how the training is conducted rather than the tool used.

Both collars and harnesses can be used in conjunction with positive reinforcement training methods to teach your dog leash manners and prevent pulling. The key is to focus on rewarding desired behaviors and redirecting unwanted ones rather than relying solely on the training tool itself.

By selecting the appropriate training tool and employing positive reinforcement techniques, pet owners can achieve great results in leash training, regardless of whether they choose a collar or a harness.


Ultimately, the decision to use a collar or a harness for dog training depends on various factors, such as the size, breed, and specific needs of your furry friend. While collars have been a traditional choice, harnesses offer a modern and more comfortable option that promotes better control and reduces the risk of injury.

When choosing between a collar and a harness, it’s crucial to prioritize your dog’s well-being and training needs. Consulting with a professional dog trainer can provide valuable guidance and ensure you select the most suitable tool for your dog.

Remember, successful training is not about the tool itself but how you use it to communicate and bond with your dog. Let’s prioritize force-free, modern, and evidence-based training methods for a happier and healthier relationship with our beloved four-legged companions.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Q: What is the best choice for a small breed puppy?

    • A: Harnesses are generally a better choice for small breed puppies as they provide more control and minimize strain on their delicate necks.
  2. Q: Are there any specific harnesses recommended for leash training?

    • A: Look for harnesses with front leash attachments, which can help discourage pulling.
  3. Q: Can I switch between a collar and a harness during training?

    • A: It’s possible to switch between a collar and a harness, but consistency is key. It’s best to choose one tool and stick with it to avoid confusion for your dog.
  4. Q: Can a harness be used for all dog breeds?

    • A: Yes, harnesses are suitable for all breeds, but the type and fit may vary based on your dog’s specific requirements.
  5. Q: Should I consult a professional dog trainer before deciding between a collar and a harness?

    • A: It’s highly recommended to consult with a professional dog trainer who can assess your dog’s needs and provide personalized guidance on training tools.

Now that you have a better understanding of the options available, you can make an informed decision and choose the training tool that suits your dog’s needs. Happy training!