View Full Version : harness vs collar

Super Princess
11th June 2012, 10:28 PM
I know theres MANY conversations about these on CT ..i did a search yesterday ;)

just wondering..the consensus on here are that the harnesses are good for them for walks due to SM.

This was something we weren't aware of with Oliver..he always had a collar.

do you think it would be bad to have a collar for the tags...so thats left on the majority of the time incase god for bid pup got out or loose.

and use a harness for a walk (leaving the collar on but not attached to the leash?)

What are the favorite types of harnesses?

11th June 2012, 10:49 PM
Fletcher started out with a Coastal brand harness (sized 5/8 I think) I LOVE it. I would only by a step in harness, believe me sometimes even that is hard with a wiggly puppy excited to go out. Plus since he's a puppy I will be buying more as he grows and I found the price great. I want to buy him the mesh kind when he out grows this one tho, they just looking more comfortable, to me. I do not keep a collar or harness on him inside because he is crated or in his area (out of sight) and you should not leave on either when crating your dog. It might somehow get caught on something (NOT GOOD) Personally, I'm not a fan of just a collar for a puppy who is not yet trained to walk well or leave it. I don't want to pull on Fletcher at all but I feel a little better at doing it with a harness than a collar (I pick him up when he won't listen to me so I don't have to pull on him but for a second- he seems to like to run for kids in the neighborhood). I plan on having him micro chipped when he gets fixed..also I think he will wear a collar around the house (not when he's created) after I get some real training/he can have the run of the house/completely potty trained. I plan in getting him tags that say he is micro chipped and my info. Also someone on CT said to use a laundry marker on the inside of the collar or harness too. I thought it was a good tip.


11th June 2012, 10:51 PM
Chelsea that is actually exactly what we do with Sonny. He always wears his collar which has his tags on it, but we take his harness on and off for walks. He is doesn't mind his collar or harness. He gets excited when he sees the harness come out and helps step into it for me to put it on. :)

We have gone through SEVERAL harnesses due to Sonny having growth spurts, losing them and a naughty little puppy chewing through a couple. However I have always gone back to this one. This isn't the brand that we have, but it is the same type. I like it because you can hook the leash in the front which is supposed to give you more control especially when training or you can hook it on the back which is what we use now. I'm not sure which brand we have, I just got it at Petsmart.


11th June 2012, 10:54 PM
I should add that it did take Sonny a little time to get used to his collar when we first put it on him.

Brian M
12th June 2012, 08:53 AM
Hello Chelsea

For me it has to be a harness ,we have the step in fleece type so we dont yank anything over their heads like the puppia ones ,and
at home they have nothing on so its only when we go out they all have a harness with their ID's on .They are all chipped and we have
a porch on the front and back of the house and fences and gates all around the property so its unlikely they can ever get out ,nobody has managed yet .

Best Wishes


Ps Plus for safety in the house with a puppy I was always fearful a collar could not snagged on something .One of our drivers at work jumped out of
his wagon and one of his rings snagged on the wing mirror ,nearly took his finger off .

murphy's mum
12th June 2012, 10:00 AM
Our two wear harnesses for traveling in the car, and for going on walks. The both wear collars too, with their tags on them. We take their collars off while they are in the house too, like Brian we have a good secure fence front and back, and I feel they are more comfortable without their collars in the house.

I wouldn't feel too bad about Oliver wearing a collar, some Cavaliers do better in a collar than a harness. Misty actually went through a stage where her old harness became an irritant to her SM, and was walked on just her collar for a couple of month. She was fine walking like this, although she did pull like crazy. We kept trying different harnesses but they just set her off. We did eventually find a harness she was comfortable in, the Ezydog harness that's sold in the Cavalier Matters shop :D

12th June 2012, 10:01 AM
Hi, I think every sm dog is different. It very much depends on where the sensitivity is. Molly is sensitivee around the neck, so she wears a harness. Dougall has sensitivity in various places along his back so he wears a collar. Coco is terribly sensitive along her side but has absolutely now sensitivity in her neck, she also has a collar.

12th June 2012, 10:15 AM
Vets I know all recommend small dogs in particular (and all puppies) be walked on harnesses. This is because they are far more prone to ending up with a collapsed trachea due to pulling against a collar. Also as a couple have said to me (and I know from experience!), it is far, far easier to quickly grab and pick up a small dog in a dangerous situation with a harness than to be lunging to reach a scared dog who may pull away and even slip out of a collar. And there was a large study that showed most dogs that were walked on collars -- large to small dogs! -- had some degree of misalignment on neck and back vertebrae and other problems even if you cannot see it directly affecting the dog.


From which:

Alarming facts from a recent survey :

63% of the dogs examined had neck and spinal injuries.
78% of the dogs with aggression or over activity problems had neck and spinal injuries.
Of the dogs with neck injuries, 91% had experienced hard jerks on a leash or had strained against their leashes.

The study concludes that leash corrections, the dog forging ahead or a tethered pet hitting the end of a solid line may inflict spinal injury.

Excerpts from the above mentioned survey:

“During 1992 several Chiropractors, my students and I conducted a study of 400 dogs from different dog clubs in Sweden. Dog owners were offered a free examination of their dog by a chiropractor in return for their voluntary participation.
Those who volunteered to participate in the study had mostly ordinary dogs, in that owners presented them to us without any suspicion of spinal anomalies…Canine back problems are common. The result of our study showed that the chiropractors found back anomalies in 63% of the 400 dogs…dogs that “acted out” in other words, that exhibited over activity and aggression, 78% had spinal anomalies. Spinal anomalies seem to constitute an irritation that often results in stress reactions, aggression or fear.

For most SM dogs and dogs that do not have SM, a harness has got to be the preferred way of walking a dog (not one of the ones that pinches or restrains to prevent a dog jumping or pulling though -- for those kinds of dogs simply get a humane, front clip harness. :) I use these on all my cavaliers and our alsatian. Some SM dogs have more sensitivity if walked on a harness and are better on a collar but this is more unusual.

All of my dogs also wear collars with their tags (the collar alone doesn't bother my 3 SM dogs, only if walked on it). Also, in many places dogs must under law have tags if they go outside. For anyone concerned about the safety of collars (especially on puppies or on dogs that are sometimes crated) 1) remove collars before crating and 2) there are safety release dog collars available -- Dog Training Ireland carries them in their shop for example over here but they are widely available online.

From years in rescue I can say that TAGS are probably just as important if not more so than a microchip (though I would always chip every pet!!! In court it may make the difference between reclaiming a stolen dog, for one). Not all rescue centres/pounds properly scan and if people find your dog they may never think to check for a chip, whereas they can instantly ring a number on a collar. A dog in Ireland was recently reunited with its owner after a year or more -- but ONLY after a rescue or pound -- which clearly never checked for a chip or missed it!! -- sent the dog to Dog's Trust, who scanned the dog and reunited it with a happy and surprised owner. This got a lot of coverage in ireland but all I could think was -- what the heck happened that the rescue/pound didn't check for a chip?! That dog could have been rehomed or destroyed.

12th June 2012, 11:54 AM
May I also add that Care-A-Lot Pet Supplies, beats Petsmart every time on price, I'm lucky to have both stores in my area. I have also found they carry more products I can only find online. Also Coastal (the company I bought my harness from) guarantees their products for life, they will replace it even if you puppy chews it up. I have already tested that out, yes Fletcher chewed the plastic clip so I had to call and they mailed my out another one no problems. Honestly I don't know why a company would do that it was my fault but they did, however they do not advertise this guarantee (someone told me) and yes I guess it'll keep my loyal to the company too.

Also in my state, dogs are required to wear their rabies tags (state issued) when they are outside. So Fletcher will need to wear to tags.....out older dog wears just a collar. The 2 tags make it sound like he's wearing a bell :) My husband never has him on a leash....even at work, around cars and other people. It scares me, but its his dog been doing it for 12 years now. My husband was raised in the "deep" south, his dog is a "shop" dog even tho he's a poodle!!

Just wanted to add.

12th June 2012, 03:28 PM
What would you guys say is the best harness? Puppia?
And are those step-in?

12th June 2012, 06:08 PM
For me, Puppia harnesses look the best, but for my two dogs, they don't like having them put on over their heads. I suppose having typical cavalier ears doesn't help either. I use a step-in type that clips behind the neck area and on the body.
I'm on the hunt for a 'miracle' harness though - Bosco still scratches a bit when we are out walking on the lead. If he is free to run around he's fine, but being on the lead just seems to make his SM worse and it's not really feasible to only walk him off lead.

Super Princess
13th June 2012, 02:05 AM
i like the idea of the step in ones. I acutally have one for my youngest cat.
i have two cats..meekos 16 and although itll always make me nervous..i let him out because hes been used to it his entire life. we moved to a new neighbourhood with a busier road and THAT freaks me out..but theres not much i can do..you cant teach an old cat new tricks..i tried. he HATES the harness
simba the little one..hes two.. gets upset when meeko goes out and he dosnt.. i dont trust him at all on this road. so i bought a cheap harness for him and just attach it to a leash thats attached to a pole outside.. he puts up with it as long as no 'strangers' come up the drivway. he dosnt like strangers..even if its my dad.

anyhoo..step is work pretty good. ive found one on etsy that i like.. she custom makes them http://www.etsy.com/shop/daydogdesigns?ref=pr_shop_more nothign i have to worry about now. but bookmarked for later.

on the other hand im also really liking the smooth feeling of the leather or fabric kind. leather or faux leather especially for collars..which i will probably have on full time just in case.
oliver was microchipped but usualyl wore his collar i think in his later days dad got in the habbit of taking it off him when in the house.

13th June 2012, 02:23 AM
I just got harnesses for my two from this Etsy shop.


I'm really happy with them, I'll try to remember to post pictures of the dogs wearing them tomorrow. The stitching is perfectly done, and they seem very durable.

13th June 2012, 10:47 AM
I just got harnesses for my two from this Etsy shop.


I'm really happy with them, I'll try to remember to post pictures of the dogs wearing them tomorrow. The stitching is perfectly done, and they seem very durable.

Oh so cute!!!!!! Hmmmm I might have to have one of those for Fletcher went he's done growing because I would be sad of he outgrew that :)