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Harnesses vs Collars
In mid 2016, and courtesy of Lets Walk, Belgian dog trainer Els Vidts spoke to dog trainers and owners in Perth and Busselton about the importance of a good harness when walking.
The neck of a dog is just as sensitive as ours.
It makes no difference if it is the dog itself pulling on the lead, or the owner keeping it too tight, the effects on the organs in the neck will be the same. A collar results in all the pulling forces being concentrated on a very small area. There are a lot of vitally important organs under this small area that are not protected against such a level of force.
The organs under a collar that can be damaged:
- Lymph ducts, lymph nodes and thymus
- Cervical spine and tongue bone
- Spinal cord and nerves
- Veins and arteries
- Windpipe and gullet
A good harness that is secured by the body can prevent a lot of damage. The chest and rib cage protect the organs inside, including the lungs and heart. The ribs also have flexible joints, which helps them absorb external forces. If a dog is wearing a harness, the area subject to an occasional pull is larger and the force is distributed more evenly over the body.
Characteristics of a good harness:
- Y-shaped at the front below the neck
- H-shaped at the top above the back
- no straps running across the neck
- no straps running diagonally across the shoulder joints
- the strap around the chest is far enough behind the armpits to prevent abrasion
- the fixing point of the lead is on the dog’s back, not at the front.