Even dogs that are properly trained can sometimes pull, and we made the decision right away not to just use a collar (including a prong or choke chain) with our dogs. When we adopted Luna, she pulled hard. She wanted to smell and see everything, but after she coughed from pulling on a flat collar a couple of times, we knew we needed to resort to something else. Fortunately, a trainer at Petco introduced us to chest harnesses, and while this didn’t completely stop the pulling, it did stop the coughing and potential damage to her neck.
We’ve become accustomed to seeing dogs on collars, so we may not think about the potential damage they can cause. However, according to PetMD Editorial (2018) collars can damage the tissue and even the thyroid and salivary glands of the neck. Using a chest harness can prevent this damage. I think about it this way, I can carry a heavy backpack over my shoulders but couldn’t possibly carry a heavy pack by strapping it around my neck.
There are several types of harnesses, and I’ve bought several for my own dogs. I finally went with the Kurgo Enhanced Strength Tru-Fit Dog Car Harness because it serves well as a walking harness and also is a crash-tested harness that can be used to restrain your dog in the car. While I don’t absolutely love this harness because it is a little restricting in the shoulders on my two dogs, it was the best one for us since we don’t have crates in the car. When you’re looking for a harness, it is best to have your dog with you so that you can try it on or at least be sure that the store accepts returns and save the packaging.
Editorial, PetMD. (2018). “5 Ways Collars Can Harm Your Dog.” PetMD, PetMD, 29 Jan. 2021, www.petmd.com/dog/care/5-ways-collars-can-harm-your-dog.