Doggists – why all the harnesses, and not collars?

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  • Doggists – why all the harnesses, and not collars?
  • IHN
    Member

    I am a doggist, have been for about ten years on and off. Said dog, Nelson, has a collar for lead attachment purposes.

    This used to be normal, but more and more I’m seeing dogs with harnesses instead. One of the points of a collar is that it dissuades a dog from pulling on the lead and harnesses certainly do not (as any husky sledder will tell you).

    Of course, the best thing for dissuading a dog from pulling is to train it not to, and my anecdotal observations seem to be that I see more dogs with a collar walking to heel and more dogs with harnesses pulling on the lead.

    qwerty
    Member

    Collars keep getting caught on the cars interior.

    IHN
    Member

    Really? I’m struggling to picture how but fair enough.

    Premier Icon salad_dodger
    Subscriber

    Doggin joke wasted on IHN!

    Its a why of buying your way out of a problem rather making some effprt to train pooch

    IHN
    Member

    Doggin joke wasted on IHN!

    Curses! 🙂

    IHN
    Member

    Its a why of buying your way out of a problem rather making some effprt to train pooch

    But you’re not even doing that, you’re encouraging the problem. This assumes that the problem is seen as the dog pulling, not that the poor little thing is hurting itself pulling, obviously.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    If you want to stop a dog pulling get a figure of 8 head collar.

    Harnesses allow a dog to pull more, not less – it’s why my wife uses one for canicross. If sh tries to walk him normally with it on and he starts pulling she has to sit down to have enough leverage to stop him!

    I think it’s partly fashion and partly the perception that a collar is ‘a bad thing’.

    We don’t use a slip lead because our dog pulled so much he threw up every time we tried one…

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    Basically…. Edge-of-town retail park chain pet stores have a lot of shelf space to fill. You thought all you needed for dog ownership was a collar, a lead and a can opener…. but no theres a whole supermarket-worth of accessories. People buy things like harnesses  because they’re for sale, and of course they would’t be for sale unless there was a good reason for buying them. So being for sale is in itself proof that you need one.

    ‘Pets at Home’ and the like are also very good at making people think theres a food/thing thats specifically for ‘dogs like yours’ – breed, ages and size specific things that you need because your spaniel is between 6 and 7 years old.

    Incidentally either theres a completely different species of dog now, or theres a been a really significant shift in climate over the past 10 years… but all dogs seem to need to wear coats now too.

    Premier Icon DaveRambo
    Subscriber

    There will be exceptions but in short it’s the easy option.

    We have a dog and use a slip lead on him when we go out walking – it took a lot of time and effort to stop him pulling – and still takes occasional effort as he isn’t perfect yet at 2 1/2.

    Using a harness makes it easier for the dog to pull which they like and makes you feel better that they aren’t choking themselves – an easy option. I can’t think of many occasions where I’ve seen a dog in a harness that is walking calmly by their owners side (old dogs excepted)

    There will be the excuse of ‘this breed’ or ‘my dog’ can’t be trained to walk nicely and not pull – all of which is clearly not true.

    Premier Icon Scapegoat
    Subscriber

    Halti harnesses actually stop or discourage pulling .The rear of chest section is designed to tighten around the chest.

    A dog seeks reward for its actions . It wants the reward of getting ahead in a walk, and a strong dog will happily ignore the discomfort of a  collar against its neck or even throat if it’s keen enough to get on .

    The harnesses you are so scornful about are useful in early training, and are nothing to do with or related in ant way to sled or carriage harnesses. . I used one for about a month, but now it’s in the bin, having done its job .

    IHN
    Member

    If you want to stop a dog pulling get a figure of 8 head collar.[b]then train it[/b]

    surely? But yeah, anti-pulling collars are available.

    I think it’s partly fashion and partly the perception that a collar is ‘a bad thing’.

    Agreed, and defintely the latter

    all dogs seem to need to wear coats now too.

    Yup. Mental.

    Premier Icon Scapegoat
    Subscriber

    Unless of course you’re referring to harnesses on handbag dogs. They’re actually handles.

    IHN
    Member

    Just to be clear, I’m not talking about using slip leads (or choke chains as they used to be called, for good reason). I’m talking about a fixed collar, with a loop for attaching a lead.

    Using a harness makes it easier for the dog to pull which they like

    Good for them. What they like/want isn’t the point though, they should be trained to how they should behave.

    A dog seeks reward for its actions

    Agreed, and they can be trained, through reward, to walk to heel (or at least not pull)

    I can’t think of many occasions where I’ve seen a dog in a harness that is walking calmly by their owners side

    And that’s bad, right?

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    If you have a dog that pulls a lot (despite training, some still do you know. (I know I know, it’s really hard to imagine, but please, for the sake of argument just imagine that this is the case)) – collars are around their neck – harnesses are around the chest and body. Not sure if I need to explain why the body is better for the dog, but I’ve heard dogs cough and choke when they’ve pulled on their collar attached lead. Dumb idiots still dont get the message eh? Anyone would think they’re not that bright.

    That said, my dog had a harness because it was easier when taking them on the bike. And she’s stuck with it, (I think the ex-wife finds it easier than a collar, but I haven’t really asked.)

    dantsw13
    Member

    My young pup has a harness for the car. In a crash she won’t be decapitated by a collar.

    Premier Icon piha
    Subscriber

    My dog will wear a harness at different times.

    If I’m taking him out into the countryside where sheep and deer are prevalent I will put his harness on and keep him on the lead. I feel the harness gives me more security to deal with his urge to chase deer or his interest in the sheep. Also over rough ground it means that if I trip its not going to pull on his neck.

    I like the ‘clip on’ points of the harness, the main one is on top of the dogs back and therefore the lead doesn’t get caught up around his legs (I tend to use a longer lead when out in the countryside with him especially if I know there could be distractions). Anyone that uses a choke chain to train a dog shouldn’t own a dog IMO.

    And he looks well ‘ard in his bad boy harness….obvs!

    IHN
    Member

    Fair enough, I’m not going to be that internet d1ck that says “every dog can be trained to walk perfectly to heel and never pull” and there will cases where where harness use is appropriate to prevent harm to the dog. Thing is that those should be the exceptional cases, but it seems more that harness use is becoming the norm in lieu of actually training the thing.

    And there are definitely times when a harness is more useful (like when riding with a dog or strapping it into a car, I used to do the same).

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Mate of mine uses harnesses when walking their cats.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I like the ‘clip on’ points of the harness

    Yes, there is this – one of the reasons I liked the harness for on the bike – I could just reach down and unclip the lead, or clip it back on without slowing or dismounting – with a collar it tends to slip round their neck, makes it a bit more fiddly.

    IHN
    Member

    . I feel the harness gives me more security to deal with his urge to chase deer or his interest in the sheep.

    Why more secure than a collar? (Genuine Q)

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    People buy things like harnesses  because they’re for sale

    Life, being as clever as you, must be such a breeze.

    Premier Icon mattbee
    Subscriber

    We have a Ruffwear harness with panniers and a big handle on the back that we used to use when he was fitter & could do big mountain walks. He could carry his own water, bowl, towel etc & the handle was useful for helping him with stiles which he never seemed to grasp the concept of!
    The other one was bought on our dog walker’s advice to help stop him pulling and contrary to many of your opinions it works. (It’s a Halti one)
    This is because the attachment point for the lead is low on the chest so if he pulls he just pivots around it.
    After a few times he just stopped pulling completely.
    Collars don’t stop pulling in my opinion. The dog pulls and starts to choke itself. Doesn’t understand why it’s choking (as dogs are pretty thick when it comes to the whole ‘cause & effect’ thing) so it pulls harder to get wary from the thing that is choking it.
    I can understand the whole ‘feeling of security’ thing too; the beagle we had when I was growing up could slip a collar so quickly you wouldn’t believe it.

    Houns
    Member

    Collars hurt/injure dogs.

    kerley
    Member

    For smaller breeds a collar can be very bad for throat and tracheal issues.  I have never used collars and never.  My dogs don’t pull though and even if they did I may not notice as they weigh 1.7kg each.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Dogs with collars can pull, dogs with harnesses can pull, both can be trained to not pull Ok some will pull no matter what. Sled dogs have a huge urge to pull and are trained to pull when on a harness that’s why they pull not because of the harness.

    My dogs don’t pull though and even if they did I may not notice as they weigh 1.7kg each.

    That’s rat.

    rene59
    Member

    Some of the harnesses double up as a means to secure the dog in the car.

    Premier Icon simmy
    Subscriber

    I have a Julius K9 harness on my lab as well as his collar.

    The main reason for my Dog having his harness is he is a rescue and despite constant training, he still pulls towards certain people and certain Dogs.

    Having the harness means I can hold the handle on it to control him.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I think people (including myself) have explained all this pretty well. Are you getting a better comprehension now IHN? Or are you in the people buy them cos they can corner?

    rone
    Member

    We had a dog with a iffy shoulder after use on collar. Vet says harness will help spread the load, never looked back.

    I’d imagine it’s a similar reason we don’t use a neck collar to secure yourself when rock climbing.

    user-removed
    Member

    Just to go slightly OT for a second, my mum’s Siamese cat used to follow her on her daily walks round the local loch requiring her to pick it up and carry it home.  Eventually she bought a carrying harness thing which strapped the cat to her body.  We all laughed so hard, and so long, that she never used it.  Sorry mum.

    I’ve never used a harness – I was lucky enough to have a few months at home with our rescue when we first got him at six months old, so was able to devote (many!) hours to training him.  I do appreciate this was a luxury which most folk don’t have.

    The only slight concern I have is letting a dog run free with a harness – if needs be, our mutt can reverse out of his collar, say if he gets stuck on a branch or is led away by a ne’er-do-well.  He’s lost a few collars this way but I’d rather that than have him stuck somewhere.

    IHN
    Member

    Collars hurt/injure dogs.

    Really? All collars? All dogs?

    Are you getting a better comprehension now IHN? Or are you in the people buy them cos they can corner?

    I’m in the “there are clearly situations where a harness is appropriate, but they seem to be the default choice to stop dogs hurting themselves when they pull rather than training them not to pull in the first place” corner.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    The only slight concern I have is letting a dog run free with a harness

    Not a problem. Except when they jump in water. Makes it all wet and horrible that does. (found a pic!*)

    There’s a gate on my walk, dog is too impatient to wait the few seconds for me to open the gate, so she squeezes under the metal fence. Sometimes she doesn’t get the limbo right and the harness catches on the fence, she’s pretty stupid, but not stupid enough to keep going. Does a little reverse, limbos a few mm lower and she’s through. She’s a pointer, so always venturing into undergrowth and the harness hasn’t been an issue at all.

    *

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    I’m in the “there are clearly situations where a harness is appropriate, but they seem to be the default choice to stop dogs hurting themselves when they pull rather than training them not to pull in the first place” corner.

    Not really no.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Not really no.

    I completely agree.

    Premier Icon piha
    Subscriber

    <em class=”bbcode-em”>Quote “INH

    <em class=”bbcode-em”>. I feel the harness gives me more security to deal with his urge to chase deer or his interest in the sheep.

    Why more secure than a collar? (Genuine Q)”

    The harness fits the dog very well. It has lots of contact points around the dogs body, rather than one just around the neck. If his attention is distracted then I can pull the lead up and guide the dog to where I want him to go. There is no tug of war or shaking of the head to try to release a neck lead, so maybe the dog feels happier or more secure with the harness in some instances. The harness also has a loop on the chest so I can double harness the dog for extra security if I feel I need to.

    When at home I generally walk him on a neck lead and have little issue with it. Apart from one local dog that isn’t well managed. This dog (well, the owner really!) causes my dog lot of stress and the collar lead makes it harder to get my dog away. The other dog has attacked us twice recently with the owner refusing to put it on a lead, my dog is big and very strong and now gets very defensive when this other dog appears. I might start putting his harness on for local walks if this issue continues.

    Just for the record though, my dog is kept on the lead around the local parks and streets but is off lead in the woods or common.

    Premier Icon benp1
    Subscriber

    My lab wears a normal collar. He pulls when we walk him because he’s trained to pull me along on the bike, which he does just great! We use a halti head collar when we walk him on the road, he’s off the lead in the park

    I’ve been meaning to get him a proper harness for walking in the hills, when I might need to lift him up something. I had to push him up a section on devils kitchen heading up to glyder fawr, he found his way up everything else but one section required opposing thumbs

    I’ve not found the right harness than I can lift him with safely, most are for walking. The ruffwear ones are pricey! Plus, he’s 35kg of muscle, he’s not an easy 1 handed lift – that’s like two suitcases!

    Premier Icon mattbee
    Subscriber

    BenP, we don’t use our Ruffwear one anymore. If you want it you can have it.
    Was used on a 28kg Lab x Springer.
    I used it with a short length of lsk rope to belay him down some bits on Tryfan, down to the lower terrace of Dancibg Ledge, that sort of thing.

    sbob
    Member

    I use a harness on my dog as I want his head and throat unimpeded when I’m getting him to bite people.

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