Are Harnesses Good for Labradors?
Harnesses are good for Labradors because they provide comfortable handling, inescapability for small Labs, and they reduce the strain on your dog's neck. They also prevent them from feeling like they're being pulled around because a harness distributes the pressure evenly.
Here's a list of reasons you should use a harness for your Labrador:
- Harnesses provide optimal control for larger Labradors. According to the American Kennel Club, harnesses are some of the best restraining tools for large dog breeds. You can handle your big Labrador, preventing them from running away with curiosity. It's much more manageable, bringing joy back into your walks.
- Most dogs can't wiggle out of a harness, so they're better for walking outdoors. Dogs love to escape their collars and sniff the roses, meet new people, or play with other pets. Some Labs will chase birds away, so a high-quality harness can be a top-notch replacement for a loose collar.
- A harness takes most of the strain off of your dog's neck. Collars are notorious for putting excess weight on a dog's neck and spine when they're being walked on a leash. Fortunately, harnesses push the pressure on their arms and chest, both of which have strong muscles to handle the weight.
- Harnesses prevent puppies from accidentally dropping out of a leash, unlike loose, removable collars. Puppies don't always want to escape their collars, but their tiny heads often wiggle out of them. Using a harness won't let them accidentally drop the collar or leash, protecting them from running away.
As you can see, there are many reasons to use a harness. If you're in the market for a good Labrador harness, we suggest the Rabbit Goo Adjustable Dog Harness. This padded strap comes in all sorts of sizes and colors, so you're bound to find the perfect fit for your dog. The padding prevents chafing while the snug fit keeps them on the leash.
Should You Use a Collar for Your Labrador?
You should use a collar for your Labrador if harnesses make them anxious or you want a permanent solution with dog tags. Collars have excellent dog tag placement because people can read them without having to touch the dog's harness (if they were wearing one).
Review these examples of why you might consider using a collar for a Lab:
- Collars are easy to use and won't cause a big event with your Labrador. If you have an energetic pup, they'll be confused by a harness. They might get their legs caught or run away when you pull it out. Instead, a collar is nice and simple for those seeking the quickest solution.
- Some dogs are afraid of harnesses, so a collar could be a better solution. As mentioned above, harnesses aren't always the best choice for nervous Labs. They can feel confined, so a collar removes that stress and keeps them feeling happy about the walk or playtime.
- Collars can be worn around the clock and have your Lab's tags if they escape. The tags sit right upfront, so there's no need for people to lean down and get close to your dog. Most people are cautious of animals they don't know, which could prevent them from checking the tags on your dog and calling you regarding their whereabouts.
- A collar can keep your dog cooled down since there's less material touching their fur. Labradors shouldn't get too hot, so using a collar on a hot summer day could be an excellent alternative. Some harnesses provide decent airflow, but nothing beats the open air of only wearing a collar.
If a dog collar seems most appropriate for your dog, then try the Collar Direct Reflective Dog Collar. It comes in multiple colors and sizes, just like the harness we mentioned. However, this collar reflects light back at other people. If you're walking your dog at night, everyone will be able to see where they are. There's also a carbon-played D-ring for their dog tags.
How to Use a Dog Harness Safely
To use a dog harness safely, follow these step-by-step instructions:
- Ensure you have the correct harness size for your Labrador. The whole process starts with choosing the right harness. It's easy to underestimate the size because most people think that a dog can handle a little bit of pressure. However, a small harness can hurt their muscles and joints, but a loose harness is still difficult to escape.
- Take off their harness once they're inside and done being walked. Harnesses aren't designed to be worn around the clock; They're made for outdoor activities. Wearing a harness too much can lead to chafing and discomfort, not to mention the fact that your Lab could get stuck on random objects all over the place.
- Always take their harness off before they go to bed. Chewy explains how dangerous wearing a harness at night can be for your dog. If they're always strapped up, there's no way for them to tell you if it wraps around their neck, bends their arm in an awkward way, or causes a multitude of other injuries. They might roll around when they're sleeping, too.
Best Tips for Using a Collar for a Labrador
If you're looking for safety tips to keep your Labrador comfortable while wearing a collar, you're in the right place. Try these suggestions:
- Never pull your dog by its collar. The most important thing to avoid while walking a dog with a collar is to be gentle but firm. Stand your ground or continue walking, but never tug on their neck; It can cause strains, cramps, muscle tension, spinal issues, and other health problems.
- Make sure you can fit two fingers under their collar to prevent them from feeling choked or uncomfortable. This measurement keeps them restrained without stressing them out. It also lets you know if it's time to upgrade their collar or if they're gaining too much weight.
- Don't use a retractable leash with a collar; It can cause severe problems if your dog leaps over a fence and the leash locks. Retractable leashes provide convenience for some people, but they're not worth the potential downsides. Instead, use a short leash while walking your dog so they can't wander off in the street or a neighbor's yard.
Now that you know the difference between using a harness or collar on your Labrador, you can decide which is best for your pup. Remember, small dogs can escape collars easily, while large dogs are more maintainable when wearing a harness. That being said, collars are easier to use, can be permanently worn, and more.
About THE AUTHOR
Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.Read more about Mark Brunson