Dog Health & More
Monday May 7th, 2012
Use a collar: If your dog has no respiratory or trachea problems and doesn't pull on leash.
Use a harness or head halter: If your dog pulls on leash or has respiratory or trachea problems.
A collar fits like a necklace, and is generally made of cloth, nylon, or leather. Nylon or cloth provide the best value and color range; leather softens with age and is the most durable. Collars usually have buckle-release or quick-release closures.
There are a few special kinds of collars:
Harnesses go around the neck, in front of the shoulders, and behind the front legs. Most are made of nylon or leather, but some are made of fabric and look more like clothing.
Because harnesses don't put pressure on the throat, they're recommended for dogs who have an upper respiratory disease or diseases of the throat or trachea, and for dogs who pull on the leash. Pulling puts a lot of pressure on the throat and trachea, causing irritation and coughing; harnesses relieve that pressure and allow you to walk your dog safely.
For growing puppies, remember to check and change sizes frequently.
Harnesses also vary in size. But fitting them is a bit complicated because harnesses, unlike collars, don't follow one universal design. You can get ones the dog steps into, ones you slip over the dog's head, ones that resemble a figure eight, and so on.
Unless you're experienced with harnesses, have a trainer or store clerk help with the first fit to make sure it's on right--you don't want to watch your dog bolt out of it when he sights the first squirrel on the horizon.
That said, it helps to know that most harnesses are adjustable, and the most important thing to fit is the girth. Measure your dog around the chest directly behind the legs — this is the girth. Also, make sure the harness looks symmetrical on your dog; if it doesn't, it's not on correctly.