Dog Comm says yes, generally, your dog should wear a harness. My own dogs mostly wear harnesses. My oldie whippet Gracie wears a harness and always has done since she had surgery on her neck 4 years ago. My other oldie Hattie doesn’t as she is rarely on the lead anyway so she just wears a collar – and she doesn’t pull on the lead. My pointer cross Morris wears a harness when he’s on lead, and I remove it when he’s running free as he’s a bit of a loony and might get himself caught up on a branch. The new pup Hobson, is getting used to wearing a little fleece lined harness at the mo. We prefer harnesses that are Y shaped at the front, not ones that go straight across at the front. The ones that go straight across can cause discomfort to the elbow area. So stick to the Y shaped ones.
Have a look at this excellent drawing from the folk at Dog Games showing the damage that can happen if you continually use a collar and your dog is pulling. If you can hear them choking or struggling at all on a collar, then this is causing discomfort on their neck and throat.
Here’s little Hobson wearing his little fleece harness. It’s soft and comfy.
For dogs who are really strong (and also could be reactive) we like a harness with a front ring, you can use it with a lead that has two trigger clips, join one to the back of the harness and one to the front, so that you have more control over the front end of the dog too. The Perfect Fit harnesses have a front ring. Also take a look at Mekuti, TTouch, Ruffwear and Xtra dog harnesses. We like all of them.
Sylvi and Morris are both wearing Ruffwear harnesses at the moment. They wash and dry easily too.
This is Morris in his Ruffwear harness.
Sylvi also wears a Dogmatic head collar. She’s exceptionally strong and has an addiction to ponds and rivers! with very strong dogs, we would recommend a head collar along with a harness for maximum control and safety. There are so many head collars on the market, we have tried lots of them and so have our clients, and the Dogmatic seems to win every time. It’s soft, doesn’t ride up into the eyes, and doesn’t tighten around the face. Those are the key points.
There are plenty of harnesses on the market, so make sure you have a really good look before you buy one. They should last years for an adult dog too, so although some might seem expensive, it’s probably worth it in the end. And it’s most definitely worth it for your dog’s neck.
© Dog Comm 2018
ABTC Registered Animal Training Instructor