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  • Writer's pictureJeff Causby, CTDI, ABCDT

Collars Vs. Harnesses

Updated: Apr 23, 2019

#1) NECK DAMAGE Repeated stress on the neck can lead to long-term medical issues like damaging the thyroid glands and tissues around then neck area and salivary glands. A harness is much better at dispersing pressure out over the body instead of all on the neck. The neck is sensitive and should not have repeated stress applied to it.

#2) IRRITABILITY Your dog’s neck is very sensitive so, hooking up to a collar is very uncomfortable to a dog. And if your dog doesn’t show that, it doesn’t mean that your dog isn’t uncomfortable. Your dog can enjoy walking so much or meeting people so much, that the collar is ignored because the joy of going out and exploring outweighs the discomfort.

#3) ASSOCIATIVE LEARNING Keep in mind that one of the main ways dogs learn, is through associations. That means that your dog is making associations just like we are, every day but, on a much larger scale. So, if your dog is irritated by the collar already, then your dog may associate other dogs with being on the annoying collar. This is when you will see a dog be okay with other dogs, while off leash but, the second you put them on their collar, they turn into some reactive dog that you've never seen before.


So, think about that let’s say your dog is at the least irritated by the discomfort of the harness and all your dog wants to do is enjoy the day with their human but, they have this irritating collar on that seems to never release the pressure and on top of that, the human keeps stopping every time you feel that irritating pressure which exacerbates the problem and then out of no where another heavy breathing dog pulls their owner almost seemingly out of no where and scares the dog and then BOOM! You have 3 stress triggers stacked and that’s not even counting the annoyed owner that is tugging back on the leash, sighing every three minutes out of frustration, not allowing ample smelling. This is how you create a reactive or even an aggressive dog out of a dog who would otherwise be fine, OFF LEASH.

Trainers Note:

I believe the fastest way to rehabilitating a reactive dog, a leash reactive dog, or a down right aggressive dog is to first start teaching them harness work which basically means start with harness foundation training and go all the way up to more advanced harness training like having your dog go and get the harness and bring it you to have you then put it on the dog to go out for a walk.

Harness Recommendation: We actually have a favorite harness called Comfortflex Harness and you can find it on our site here.

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