Many Labradoodle owners find themselves wondering if they should get a collar or harness for their dog for every day walks and training.
Using a harness instead of a collar makes it easier to control and manage your Labradoodle, even if they don’t have the best leash manners. A harness disperses pressure over a wider area of your dogs’ body, decreasing strain on the back and neck, while also discouraging pulling.
There are several benefits to using a harness instead of a collar, and in this article we’re going to look at why your Labradoodle needs a harness instead of a collar.
Labradoodle Collar Or Harness
Some people just go to the local pet store, and pick the first equipment they spot, not giving much consideration into if they should really get a harness or a collar, but there are actually quite a lot of differences between the two.
Purpose of a Harness And a Collar
Both a harness and a collar serve the same purpose: when combined with a leash, they allow you to control your dog, and make it impossible for him to escape.
Depending on the dog and dog-walkers temperament, there will be quite great forces pulling on the leash, harness, and collar. And that is exactly the most important detail when choosing between a harness and a collar.
Labradoodle Collar Or Harness
One of the most important factors when deciding between a collar or harness for a Labradoodle is the possible injuries your dog might suffer if he’s a heavy puller, and the leash is attached to a collar instead of a harness.
A 1994 study done by Anders Hallgren, a famous Swedish dog psychologist, found that there was a clear connection between neck problems and how you handle a collar. If you yank the leash, or if the dog is a heavy puller, there is a very high risk that the dog will develop neck problems. His research showed that 91% of all dogs that suffered neck problems, were due to high forced pulling of the leash.
Since then, there has been a larger focus on numerous other issues that might occur on a dog that is a heavy puller, or if the owner yanks too hard on the leash when walking their dog with a collar. Some of those issues are very severe to dogs’ health.
Collar Or Harness – Possible Health Issues
A collar is placed around the neck of the dog. When you pull on the leash, the force is directly applied to the neck where you can find important organs such as the thyroid gland, larynx, trachea, and blood vessels.
With a collar, the dog owner has a larger ability to impact the dog, but the cost is an added risk of injuring the dog. The latest studies have shown that the long-term effects of this lead to chronic inflammation of the spine and the thyroid gland.
A harness places the force on the dogs’ chest and back. The force is a lot better distributed over the dogs’ body, resulting in the daily walks being a lot less annoying to the dog. However, a harness that isn’t placed correctly can have an effect on the dogs’ shoulder blades, resulting in their natural movement pattern being negatively influenced.
What Type Of Harness Exists
Seeing as a harness is the best choice for most situations, you should note that there are different types of harnesses. Some are better suited for puppies, and others are better for a dog which pulls a lot.
There are 4 types of harness:
- Step-in harness: tightened around the body in the front in the back.
- Y-harness: has a focused pull on the chest of the dog.
- Pulling harness: used for allowing the dog to pull things.
- Anti-pull harness: a training device to help with proper behavior.
Most dog owners will purchase a Y-harness, as they are a great fit on most dogs, and at the same time is a great harness to use for walking every single day.
Which Harness Should You Get For A Labradoodle
The first thing you should do before ultimately deciding on a specific harness, is go to a pet store and test all of the different products. This will allow you to see how it fits your specific dog, how your dog pulls with it, and how much control you feel you have.
Labradoodles are quite wide dogs, so make sure you find a harness that isn’t slim fit, but one which has some wideness.
No Two Dogs Are The Same
Just as with people, no two dogs are alike. This is why you should take your dogs’ individual characteristics and needs into consideration when choosing a harness.
This might seem unmanageable, but in reality there isn’t any other way of finding the perfect harness, that trying out some of the different products.
Most stores will allow you to test the product for up to 30 days, giving you ample time to decide if you, and your dog like the harness you’ve chosen to give a test drive. So make sure you just don’t get the first you see, and certainly also not just the cheapest you can find, as you will have to get one that’s just right for your Labradoodle.
Harness Pros’ and Cons
It’s a good thing most people seem to prefer a harness to a collar these days. Some dog owners even experience their dogs start walking a lot more disciplined just by using a harness instead of a collar, which might be due to the dog no longer actively trying to get away from the undesirable pressure from a collar.
There are quite a lot of dogs who aren’t too fond of being put in a harness, and some might try to escape as soon as they notice the harness. This is something that can be improved through clicker training, by not appearing threatening when you’re about to put it on your dog or avoid a harness that has to go over the head when putting it on the dog. When you’re finally outside walking, I doubt there are many dogs who even notices the harness any longer.
A Collar Can Be Useful
As you’ve might have noticed I would certainly recommend that you attach the leash to a harness instead of a collar. But if you still prefer using a collar, I would advise that you at least get a collar that is both with and firm, without a choking mechanism.
The collar should cover atleast two cervical vertebra in case the dog will suddenly start pulling. But remember, never yank the leash with a lot of power. Instead you should train it to walk while the leash is loosened, and teach it to come when called, instead of having to pull constantly.
Under any circumstance, it’s a good idea to still have a collar for your dog, as that’s the best solution for attaching an ID-tag to your dog in case he runs away without you having had a chance to get him in a harness before a walk.
Labradoodle Collar or Harness Conclusion
As stated, I would highly recommended that you use both a collar and a harness for your Labradoodle. But you should only use the collar for their ID-tag, and the harness is where you then attach the leash before going anywhere.
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