4 Reasons Why You Should Use a Harness

Recently Rocco, a five-month-old Border Terrier, tragically passed away due to an unexpected accident: he caught his collar on a kitchen door handle and was strangled by his collar. The owner suspects “he must had been jumping up to get to the work top and fell down catching the collar, my poor Mum found him hanging on the door”. The news was shared on the Facebook group “Border Terrier Owners,” where members of the group started sharing pictures of their dogs with their collars removed and by their side.

Image credit: skip_the_border_terrier

The owner of the group also set up a fundraising page, where “all raised money will be donated to Border Terrier Welfare in the name of Rocco.” If you want to read more on the story, look up the hashtag #CollarsOffForRocco, or read Metro’s article here. You can also donate money to the fundraiser here.

Collars are most importantly used to carry the identification tag of your dog. These tags can save your dog’s life if they get lost or run away. However, it is also possible to attach the tag to a harness and use microchipping for extra safety.

Here are 4 reasons to use harnesses:

1. Harnesses provide better control of your dog

Although harnesses come in many shapes and sizes, they all mainly offer support around the chest, back and legs, rather than the neck. It is important to have control over your dog on busy roads, crowds, and any other public areas.

2. Harnesses keep your dog focused

Harnesses are a great training tool for dogs, especially when used with clicker training. It is especially important to keep your dog focused on walks, and as was mentioned earlier, any busy roads, crowds, or any public areas. You want your dog to feel focused and safe under your control.

3. Harnesses are better for dogs with health issues or injuries

Many injuries in dogs are linked to collars, such as hypothyroidism (low thyriod gland hormone), collapsing trachea, ear and eye issues, and paw licking and foreleg lameness.

4. Specific breeds can benefit from harnesses, and especially those with short noses

Many dogs tend to tug and pull on their leashes when being outdoors, which hurts their necks. In fact, some breeds, like pugs for example, “risk their eyeballs protruding from the sockets if too much pressure is put around their neck” (Harmony Animal Hospital). Dr. Ann Hohenhaus also states that “tugging and pulling on a collar puts extra stress on the windpipe and will provoke a severe coughing episode”.

It should be noted that your dog may not be so fond of the feeling of a harness at first, but they gradually get used to them over time. At first, try only using the harness for outings and walks, taking it off once you get back home, then slowly start leaving it on for longer periods of time. Personally, I made sure that my dogs get used to harnesses from puppyhood, and they do not mind wearing them all day and night. It is also important to consider the dog’s shape and size, as well as comfort and quality of the harness when purchasing. Remember, when choosing a harness for your pet, always bring them along with you to the shop so that you and shop assistant are able to find the perfect fit!

Cat owners should also be wary of collars for their furry ones. Although they are great paired with a bell to warn potential prey, such as birds, of the cat’s presence, the cat could also potentially get caught on a branch or bush.

Do you use a collar or a harness for your pet? Leave a comment and let us know!