Dog Collars vs. Harnesses

By Todd Bowerman

A dog halter is a specialized piece of equipment designed to encourage your dog to stop pulling on his leash during walks. Halters can make it much easier to handle large, powerful dogs. Depending on the dog, a traditional collar on its own may be enough for daily walks, but they don't provide the control you need should your dog have poor walking etiquette. Additionally, dogs who pull on walks while a leash is connected to their collars may end up with health problems down the line.

Sizing Up the Problem

A dog who pulls can be a safety risk to both you and himself. If you’re unable to control your dog due to his strength, walking him will certainly not be an enjoyable experience. Halters are best deployed with larger or stronger dogs that are difficult to control with a leash alone. If you use a flexi-leash, a halter will not help your solution as halters rely on your being able to control the leash at all times. Small dogs likely do not require the aid of a halter, as you will have little difficulty in keeping them under control.

Considering Alternatives

Halters are helpful in that they immediately change the walking behavior of your dog. However, they offer no meaningful long-term fix to the problem of a pulling pup. Instead of using a halter, consider working with a dog trainer to help your dog learn the basics of polite walking. A well-trained dog with impeccable leash manners is far more reliable than any accessory you can buy at a pet store. Besides, if you ever find yourself without the halter, your dog will revert to his old walking habits.

Benefits and Problems of Collars

Traditional dog collars are designed primarily to carry your dog’s identification tags. They are not comfortable for dogs who pull, and do not help you in controlling a dog with bad leash manners. However, your dog is likely already used to walking with a collar and using one for walks does not require additional training steps. Dogs who continually pull or yank against their collars are at risk of tracheal damage. Collars are normally sufficient for dogs with good leash manners.

Benefits of Halters

Halters provide a quick solution to the problem of a pulling dog, and are excellent for filling the gaps between training sessions. They give you a safe way to control your dog on walks while he’s still learning proper walking manners. Unfortunately, polite walking with a halter does not always translate into polite walking without; your dog may continue to pull when the halter is removed. It’s best to use a halter as a stopgap measure while you teach your dog the basics of walking on a leash.

By Todd Bowerman

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About the Author
Based primarily in Austin, Texas, Todd Bowerman has been working as a writer since 2004. He has provided numerous independent clients with ghostwriting and SEO copywriting services. Bowerman currently serves as editor-in-chief of Button Masher Online. He studied English at DePaul University.