Dog Harness vs Collar For Labradors: Which one is Best

You need to learn how to lead and control your dog, whether you’ve just brought home a new Labrador puppy or already have one who follows you around the house and is eager to go on walks.

The main concern here is his safety, so you don’t want to restrain him in a way that might be uncomfortable or unintentionally damaging. Because of this, choosing between a harness and collar for your Labrador puppy is a sensible decision.

A harness is preferable to a Lab puppy’s collar because it offers more security and control. A harness reduces strain by distributing pressure across the upper body and relieving pressure on the dog’s comparatively weak neck instead of a collar. A front-clip harness is the best type of harness for pulling dogs.

I’m referring to a conventional flat collar with buckles or clasps when I say “collar.” Prong, pinch, shock, martingale, or chain slip collars have no place on this website.

Dog Harness vs Collar For Labradors

Both collars and harnesses can be used to train Labrador puppies, but one provides you more leeway, while the other, if used incorrectly, might almost be considered cruel. I’m guessing you don’t want to walk on eggshells constantly and want to choose the solution that gives you confidence that you’re not inadvertently hurting your dog.

And you can only do that if you choose a harness. It only seems sensible that I compare the advantages and disadvantages of each solution.

Dog Collar Benefits

Easy identification and tracking

While lead-walking with a collar might be challenging, especially for an active breed like a Labrador, it is simpler to detect and track than a harness. Given its size, a harness shouldn’t be worn constantly by your Labrador. A collar, particularly a light, humane one, doesn’t carry the same load and can usually be worn by your dog.

You should be sure your Labrador won’t be mistaken for a stray if he escapes or ends farther away than anticipated. If your puppy is chipped, you can still track him without a harness, making a tracking collar unnecessary.

However, the fact that your Labrador is wearing a collar may prevent “rescuing” or being mistaken for a stray. Finally, remember that your dog’s skin and fur need to breathe, so it’s a good idea to remove the collar after the last bathroom stop. Keeping your Lab’s collar on constantly can be hazardous, particularly at night and when he is in his crate.

Facilitates Impromptu Walks

It’s simpler to hang out with your pals in a relaxed environment than arriving for a cocktail dinner party. The level of attire necessary makes a significant impact. Some folks would rather quickly snap the lead on the collar and go for a walk than use a harness, which can sometimes look like a dog’s tuxedo.

This is a time for introspection: do you find it difficult to leave the house to walk your Labrador? If so, a leash will serve as a justification to postpone the stroll. Taking your dog for a walk as easily as possible can ensure that you do so.

Negative aspects of a dog collar

After giving collars their due, it’s time to discuss the shortcomings that render dog collars unnecessary.

It can harm the fur and skin of your dog.

Understandably, using the same collar constantly would bother your dog’s skin, given how quickly Labrador puppies develop, particularly between the eighth and sixteenth weeks. Even worse, your Lab may have more nerve damage due to its inability to recognize the pressure from a collar. If your Labrador pulls on his lead, the pressure might rapidly cause irreparable harm.

Troublesome Dogs

Some Labradors can be bothered by collars, even the kindest ones. I cannot predict whether your puppy will be proud of his collar or detest wearing it because this trait is so personality-driven. The majority of young puppies could have problems wearing bulky collars.

Early adoption of a light collar can make up for this drawback. Building on the foundation of familiarity laid by owners who train their dogs to tolerate light collars from an early age, some dog trainers can lead-train dogs wearing collars.

Need Consistent change

Given that we’re talking about harnesses and collars for Labrador pups, we must take note of their rapid development. This calls for the ability of both goods to accommodate various sizes. The majority of harnesses may fit a variety of body sizes. However, your Labrador could begin choking on the collar without your knowledge regarding collars. Collars with adjustability can solve this issue.

Ineffective How to Control Your Dog Safely

This disadvantage is the cherry on top for me regarding the collar vs. harness controversy. Even if your Labrador has been sympathetically trained to accept his collar and even go on long walks with the leash linked to the said collar, what happens when your dog becomes overexcited?

I wouldn’t say I like that while using a collar; you are forced to accidentally damage your dog when he attempts to tug on the lead.

He can’t be held in that posture without suffocating, quite literally. No matter how unlikely your Labrador will spiral out of control, you should not leave it as your only course of action.

Evaluation of dog collars

Dog collars are a terrific way to show who the dog belongs to and keep your Labrador from being mistaken for and treated like a stray. Besides that, wearing a collar is not advantageous, especially when walking on a lead. To avoid the risks of lead walking a puppy with a collar, a subtle approach would be to use a light collar and a harness whenever you use a lead.

Benefits of a Dog Harness

Prevents Accidents

You can pull on the leash without injuring your Labrador since a harness distributes pressure across his upper body rather than just his neck.

The ability of your Labrador to draw the lead without getting wounded is more crucial. It is important to remember that to prevent walking your dog from becoming tiresome, you still need to train him to stop pulling on the leash.

More Room for Mistakes

If your Labrador puppy is wearing a collar, you must monitor his growth carefully to ensure that the collar doesn’t start suffocating him. When using a harness, your dog’s neck is not put under stress, even if it gets too tight.

Harnesses also provide greater flexibility for growth. Above all, it is more obvious when your puppy outgrows his harness instead of his collar.

You Are Given Cruelty-Free Control

The ultimate drawback of dog collars is thus reversed. In the worst situation, you can forcefully restrain your Lab while causing him less harm. It’s cruel to tug on a collar while your Labrador tries to escape.

However, you should be aware that pulling on a dog’s collar makes them more susceptible to giving in than doing the same with a harness. However, in this situation, kindness and ease are incompatible because a submission with a collar emerges via the discomfort.

Harnesses for Labrador puppies have drawbacks.

They Can’t Always Wear Them

A dog harness must be large enough to be effective; they are not little. That, regrettably, also implies that a sizable section of your Labrador’s upper body will continue to be covered by the harness.

As a result, unlike a collar, you cannot leave it on for most of the day. In other words, you would only want your dog wearing a harness while out on walks. Most well-trained Labradors can take short walks without a leash; the harness is only used on lead walks.

It Will Take Some Time for Your Dog to Adjust.

Given the stress it alleviates, this size-related drawback is a reasonable trade-off. The somewhat long waiting period is well worth eliminating cruelty from the situation.

With a young Lab puppy, introducing a small harness at first is the ideal method to normalize it. Although initially uncomfortable, your dog can eventually acclimate to collars and harnesses. Most owners don’t find the variance in resistance periods a deal-breaker because it only differs by a few weeks.

Conclusion for Harnesses

Labradors are not a hardy breed that can endure constant collar teasing. While some trainers support collars, they are always justified as appropriate for larger dogs with stronger necks.

I bring this up to emphasize that even collar proponents don’t think using a collar when walking your Lab on a lead is a smart idea. I’m not saying this to endorse such views. Because of this, your only walking choice is a harness.

Is a Harness Necessary for a Labrador?

We’ve already established that Labradors respond more gently to harnesses than collars. You now understand, however, that your dog will initially dislike his harness and will fight it for at least a week. As a result, you might be asking if Labradors need to wear a harness.

Wearing a harness will allow you to control your Labrador if he becomes overly eager while out for a walk. When you have your dog on a short leash, a harness also enables you to keep his neck secure. The same thing with a collar could result in choking, trachea injury, or nerve damage.

Therefore, even while I understand why owners would want to avoid putting their dogs under any restraint, it is impossible to rely on Labradors to remain disciplined, given their inherent propensity to become aroused due to their extreme friendliness.

No matter how hard you train your Lab puppy, everything changes once he’s outside and engages with different cues and diversions. Fortunately, if you harness your Lab early enough, you won’t have to worry about problems later.

Harness Advantages Collar Advantages
Prevents injuries to the neck Allows a lost dog to be identified from a tag
Allows more control Easier to wear for tracking
Allows room for growth Better for unplanned walks
Cruelty-free Takes longer for a pup to get used to
Good training tool for pups
Front-clip discourages pulling
Great for escape artists

What Age Can You Put a Harness on a Puppy?

Having your dog wear a harness as soon as possible is far preferable. It’s a mistake to hold off until a lead is introduced. The goal of harness training is to accustom your puppy to the harness; it initially has little to do with lead correction.

To put it another way, when can you acquire a puppy? It is the same as when a puppy can wear a harness. You can start harness training your puppy at eight weeks old, but you must be sure to select the proper size harness that is not too heavy or uncomfortable for your dog.

Consider your pet’s growth plates while choosing a harness, and ensure there aren’t any large loops that could trap him on a piece of furniture.

What Size Harness Does a Lab Puppy Need?

Choosing the right harness size for a puppy can be challenging because they come in different sizes, especially if you have the runt of the litter. You should wait until your Lab puppy is fully grown before buying a measurement-specific harness because he will go through several growth spurts in his first several months. So what size harness is required for a Lab puppy?

A small, adjustable harness is required for Lab puppies. As a result, you can adjust the harness to accommodate your dog’s growth. Since there will be fewer size adjustments after your puppy is completely grown, you should upgrade to a harness that fits his neck and chest measurements.

As the primary goal is to get your puppy used to a harness, you may also save money by delaying the purchase of a truly high-endurance harness. It would help if you had a light enough harness to prepare him for a normal harness but heavy enough to prevent unneeded pressure.

You can take more precise measurements and purchase a new harness after your Labrador is fully grown. For this, you would measure the chest at its widest point, closer to the ribcage than the armpits, and the neck directly above the shoulders.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use a collar or harness for Labrador?

Using a harness to attach your dog to his leash is the safest, most secure, and most pleasant option. A decent harness will lessen pulling, give you more control over your dog, and minimize joint and neck strain.

What kind of leash is best for Labrador?

The majority of expert dog trainers concur that a straightforward, six-foot lead with a reliable clasp is the ideal leash for Labradors. Because it simply does the job, PetSafe’s standard nylon lead is incredibly popular. It withstands daily usage thanks to its sturdy nylon construction and nickel-plated clasp.

Do dogs need both collars and harnesses?

Both may be required. It relies on your dog’s size, disposition, and ability to control him safely. While a harness can be used as a training tool for dogs who want more guidance, a collar is useful for holding dog tags and attaching a leash.


While not as lead accessories, collars function as an identity in a Labrador’s life. Lab puppies are prone to being overexcited and pulling on their leads. With a collar on, such automatic responses will almost certainly result in choking, instant pressure on the neck, or even nerve injury.

No of what benefits a collar might have, this is not acceptable. A harness is safer and provides you more control, especially if it has a front clip, but you must train your Labrador to wear one from the time he is a puppy.

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