Dogs being walked in honolulu

A collar or a harness. Which is right for your precious little one? Which is more expensive, and what is better for that certain situation? They both have their benefits and drawbacks, but it really comes down to two things.

  1. What is the situation you are accommodating for, and ‘Why’ are you considering a change?
  2. The main argument against a collar is the pressure applied to the animal’s trachea (windpipe).

Below, we’ve designed a simple cost/benefit table for you! Though there are many more benefits (depending on the situation), these are possibly the main concerns for you.

The Traditional Dog Collar

The Body Harness

Often very inexpensive

Good quality design can cost you $30 and up (more expensive).

Convenient location for dog tags

Untrained dogs have potential to chew and destroy

Very easy to apply

Sometimes difficult to apply

Does very little to discourage pulling

Does very little to discourage pulling

NEVER recommended for small puppies or small toy breeds (ex. Chihuahua)! 

May or may not discourage pulling, depending on the design

One simple design

Countless possible designs for almost any purpose

May offer much more reflective area for nighttime drivers to see

When it comes to puppies or toy/teacup breeds, your answer can’t be more straightforward. Because they are delicate, much more prone to injury than larger dogs, you don’t want something applying pressure to the trachea. Though it can be the simplest, most basic design, you’ll want to go with a body harness.

What Discourages Pulling Better?

As you already know, there are countless designs of both above. The table you see only accounts for the traditional dog collar, but others exist serving many purposes.

Head Halter: The ‘head halter’ is almost like a harness for the dog’s face, and will force the head to turn in one direction if pulled, thus discouraging pulling, but the dog must also be trained simply to allow you to put it on. There are body harnesses that will also force a dog to turn in one direction if pulled, though not quite as effective.

‘Pinch’ or Prong Collar: Dog lovers might see these painful-looking metal devices and cringe, but in reality, they can be a useful tool if used properly. Though these collars are often called ‘choke chains’, that is the last thing they should do. In fact, these are designed to pinch the loose skin around your dog’s neck if pulled, not choke. If applied incorrectly, however, a metal prong jabbing into the trachea can be very dangerous. These are NOT recommended to use with small breeds or puppies.

  • ‘Slip collars’, also called choke chains often, are designed to tighten when pulled, then loosen when the dog stops pulling. Of course, these can also malfunction if worn incorrectly.

Reflection/ Traffic & Road Safety

If you’ve ever had a pet run out in the middle of a busy road, you know well that terrifying ‘slow motion’ feeling you get when something dire is about to happen but there’s absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.

No matter what material a dog collar is made out of, it can only offer a small reflective surface area. The vast majority of dog collars aren’t reflective at all. Most body harnesses made for dogs these days offer at least a small reflective surface, and some are designed completely with road safety in mind. If you invest in the right dog harness, your dog will light up like a Christmas tree in front of a car’s headlights and would be absolutely impossible to miss unless the driver wasn’t looking at all.

So with all this in mind, you may want to keep using what you are already using or get a new reflective collar or a harness for your little chihuahua. Whatever you decide, we wish you and your furry friend lots of happy walks!