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There is a lot of debate as to what type to use. Should I use a collar or harness? It all depends on your dog, what issues you are trying to address, training, etc. Read on to find out what type will be suitable for you and your furry friend!

Collar or Harness - Which is Best?


Bettina Thomas-Smith, Herbs Editor
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Great information and tips, Bettina. Thank you!


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I have a whole setup of stuff for my dogs. When going on walks, they wear harnesses attached to leashes attached to a belt worn by me. (I like having my hands free.) One has a backpack he wears if we are going on a long walk. That same dog also has a life jacket he wears if we are going near the river. (The other one is too little for a pack and I haven't saved up the money for a life jacket for her yet.) They have collars that have their tags on them which they wear when I take them out of the immediate neighborhood. I do have a choke collar which is ONLY used to take the dog from the house to their enclosure where their doghouse is. I found that if they are both off leash, they will run off to play in the wildflowers, whereas if I take one on leash from the house to the enclosure, then the other will follow closely and not escape. I use the choke collar for this purpose because it is easy to slip it on the dog, take him 4 yards over to the enclosure and then slip it off, especially handy for a midnight potty break!

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I always thought choke collars were mean. I had a dog and tried to use one on her, she pulled and pulled on it and then she would gag and cough, so I got her a harness which she often managed to wriggle out of. When we got a new dog, we learned how to use a choke collar and that there is a right and wrong way to put it on - it should pull towards the person, so if the dog is on your left, it should pull left. A firm but gentle tug to correct or direct the dog and a quick release are key to using a choke collar. This has been very effective with our dog and she now walks very nicely, heels and sits when directed. With consistent training they will sit and stay quite a long time. I like the idea of having your hands free though! Where do you go to get something like that? Actually we have two dogs now and never got around to getting another choke chain for this crazy ball of energy, he uses an old collar and one of those leashes you can make longer at will, someone gave it to us but we just use it because we had it already. He has gotten much better from walking with the other dog who was trained, but I think we would have to do more training before I could put them on my waist and not have him tangle me up and knock me over.

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I got the idea from seeing some service dog videos where they were talking about hands-free use of the dog. They sell several dog walking belts (mostly geared towards runners, actually), but what I use is a military-issue riggers belt (designed for you to grab onto to help haul your fellow soldier over walls and whatnot on an obstacle course). My dogs are pretty small, and I have them trained to come back to me when they reach the end of their leash. If you have larger dogs, you may wish to consider a thickly woven gait belt with a ginormous plastic clip closure like they use in hospitals or physical therapists offices. A medical supply store would probably carry them. I am currently working on teaching my dogs to pull when directed so that they can help haul me up the hilly walking trail we like to use. Edited to remove typos and misspellings because I could not English this morning!

Last edited by sad_1; 09/30/13 03:17 AM.
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Ray, I do post my article link on one of my Pinterest boards along with a picture if I have one. I have started getting more people following me and re-pinning my articles as a result, which also increases my traffic.

It's worth a try, why not?


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