Should I Walk My Puppy With a Collar or Harness? (Solved!)

The harness is the best way to walk your dog, but your dog should still wear a collar. The collar will serve as a place to hang identification and other important tags from, while the harness will serve to walk your dog safely without straining their neck.

Leave the collar on when you get back home, but always take off the harness at this time so that it doesn’t overly strain your dog’s shoulders.

In this article, we’re going to talk about collars and harnesses in response to questions trending this week from dog owners just like you! Find out what an anxiety-wrap harness is, what age to a puppy can start a harness, and more – details to these questions and more are waiting for you below!

Why you shouldn’t use a dog harness?

Walking your dog with a harness is the right thing to do, but a harness can actually be a bad thing if you leave it on all of the time. A dog harness takes the pressure off of your dog’s neck, but moves it to their shoulders and back or the front of their chest.

If you leave the harness on, the consistent pressure on your dog’s shoulder muscles can lead to aches and pains and even eventual problems with the joints. So, put it on for walking outside, but immediately take it off when your dog is back home to avoid any issues.

Are harnesses bad for puppies?

No, harnesses aren’t bad for puppies, as long as you take it off when you aren’t walking your pup. Harnesses are the ideal way to walk your puppy or adult dog, because with a collar-walk anytime your dog pulls against you or you tug the leash, all of that force goes straight to their neck.

The harness gives you a way to put that force on their stronger backs or chests, so that walking your dog doesn’t have to be such a ‘pain in the neck’.

Do dogs walk better with a harness?

Yes! The harness gives you more control, but there is going to be a bit of a learning curve. This is because when your dog is in a harness, they can pull you with more force than they would with a collar.

Once you get used to this, however, you have a lot more control and your dog gets a nice, happy walk without getting their neck strained in the process.

Should a puppy wear a collar all the time?

You can leave the collar on your puppy all of the time once they are used to it, though later when they are adults and you don’t have to take them out at night so often then you might consider taking it off every evening.

Just be sure when you are first introducing the collar that you only put it on for brief, then slightly longer periods, for the first 2 weeks so that your puppy can get used to it.

What age can you put a harness on a puppy?

You can put a harness on a puppy as early as 8 weeks and while it will be awkward for them at first, they’ll quickly grow used to it. Just remember to keep walks brief – only 5 minutes for every month of age. Aside from this, avoid puddles of water, other dogs, and don’t let your dog sniff feces.

Until around 16 weeks of age, your puppy is still getting their vaccinations, so you need to isolate them as much as possible on their walks to protect them from getting sick before they have a natural defense.

What type of collar is best for a puppy?

That depends on the age of the puppy. If your puppy is under 8 weeks, you need something super-soft and light, like a satin collar or a whelping collar. A whelping collar is designed for newborn pups, to help identify them if they have no obvious distinctive marks, and shouldn’t chafe or strain your pup’s neck.

For 8 weeks and up, a lightweight nylon collar is the perfect choice. It’s strong, comes in reflective colors, won’t strain your puppy’s neck, and they are also quite inexpensive to boot! It should be under 12 inches and adjustable for best results.

What harness is best for a puppy?

You have a lot of good choices out there when it comes to a puppy harness. We recommend that you go with something which is both reflective and well-padded. There are cheap harnesses that are basically just a framework of straps, and these can dig in to a puppy’s sensitive skin, so avoid these.

Look for options such as (or similar to) the ComfortFlex Reflective padded harness. Extra padding at the chest and on the shoulders makes for a comfortable fit and once your pup is used to it, they’ll come running every time that they see that you are getting it for them!

How do I get my puppy used to wearing a collar?

Start off by letting your puppy sniff the collar and see it and after this, try putting it on for up to 5 minutes. After attaching the collar, give your puppy a little praise and a treat, and play with them a little to distract them from the collar.

Take the collar off again after the 5 minutes elapses, give your dog another treat, and repeat the process a little later. Leave the collar on for longer and longer periods, until your pup doesn’t really seem to mind or notice it anymore.

At the latest, your pup should be used to it within 2 weeks, but most puppies will adjust to their collar much faster than that.

How long should a puppy wear a harness?

While you could conceivably leave a padded harness on most or all of the time, it’s not a good idea. No matter how well-fitting and padded the harness is, it still puts pressure on your puppy’s shoulder muscles.

This can lead to aches and pains and further trouble down the line, even with adult dogs, so always take the harness off whenever you aren’t walking your dog with it!

Can a dog harness help with anxiety?

Yes, there are harnesses designed to calm a dog, and these are called ‘anxiety wraps’. These harnesses look a bit like a vest and they apply pressure to your dog’s chest, with the theory behind it being that this pressure is calming as it is similar to a hug or to swaddling an infant child.

While this is unproven, some owners report that they do seem to have a calming effect on their dogs.