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Discussion Starter #1
Just got an e-mail from a dog mailing list about walking dogs on collars. The original e-mailer said that it should never be done because it promotes neck injuries, collarbone injuries and even glaucoma. They said that dogs should be walked only with a harness and never with just a collar unless the dog is trained to never, ever pull. Other people seemed to agree. One even said that their dog never, ever, wears a collar for any reason because of this. I've never used a harness on a dog. To me a collar seemed perfectly fine and convenient. The dog wears it 24/7 and you just snap a leash on when you're ready to walk somewhere. To me a harness is just a big hassle (although I believe it's a must for smaller, toy breeds who have brittle necks). It's a pain to maneuver the dog into it before the walk and out of it after the walk when I can just snap the leash on the dogs neck and head out the door. Am I just being lazy and doing my dog a disservice by walking them with a collar? Or am I freaking out at the idea of possibly causing blindness in my dog?
 

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Does the emailer sell harnesses?

I walk 3 of my dogs in their collars and one in a harness. They all walk fine on leash, but the 80 lb one can get away from me if he sees a rabbit, so that's why he wears a no-pull harness.

I think if a person is constantly pulling or jerking on their dog's neck, they could cause an injury, but I don't think it's a common thing. Sounds like a sales pitch to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't know about all dogs, but I have heard that it's better to use a harness on smaller dogs instead of a collar.
That I get. Smaller dogs have smaller necks that would easily be injured by a pull on a collar. I get that completely. What I'm worried about is whether I'm going to cause glaucoma in my cocker spaniel or my basset hound by walking them on a leash.
 

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Highly unlikely.
Guide Dogs for the Blind has been raising, training, and placing Guides with blind folks for over 60 years, and have not had any incidents of their dogs going blind, having neck injuries or broken collarbones. In fact, these dogs are used most every day in real life situations using chain collars and even (gasp!) prong collars, with no ill effects. Yes, they do wear harnesses when working, but when "off duty", they are like regular dogs.
Now, using a collar (any type of collar) incorrectly may have the tendency to cause harm, but that is in the most severe cases. Your average everyday dog who has a collar on has nothing to worry about.
 

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Yes, you're overreacting.

The study that is often linked to this "story" did not specify what type of collar, nor did they use a control group. So...
 

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Guess I'm a horrible dog owner. I walk both Jack and Jonas on their collars (and Jonas is a Dachshund! A collar with all the potential back problems!?!!) because they never, ever pull. There is so much slack on the leash that I see no need to throw a harness on them.
 

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I walk my Chihuahua on a collar. The harness just wasn't working to teach her to walk on a loose leash. She would heel off leash inside and in the yard, but with the harness, it was impossible for to heel even with the leash. As soon as we switched to a collar, she began walking beautifully and heeling to boot.
 

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I always use a harness but then we have all brachotropic breed dogs (boston's) and a harness is basically a must for them.
 

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RRM - you might actually try a martingale. Most dogs who have heads and necks the same fitness do fine on them, with rare exceptions.
 

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I NEVER used a harness on a dog. I find harnesses create pullers. If you are guiding the dog into an area or to do something, communication is imprecise.

Someday I MIGHT use a harness if the situation presented itself (such as a dog with a neck injury preventing head collars or neck collars or a dog being trained to pull something). At this point I have never had a need or a desire to use a harness.
 

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I've never used a harness on any of my dogs EXCEPT my english Bulldog. Although once he got sick and was not ablet o walk well, I used a collar because he sat in the wagon most of the time.
 

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I've always walked my dogs on collars. In obedience trials, your dog must wear a well fitted collar. At a conformation show, a dog would be excused for wearing a harness.

I would question what sort of studies led the poster to their opinion on collars. I've never had a neck injury.
 

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I should point out that the "harness" referred to in my last post is the specialized harness for guidework that the handler uses to "read" the dogs movements, and to hold on to while the dog is guiding. It is not the type of harness used in place of a collar when walking or to attach a leash to.
 

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Yes Smithcat. A guide dog has a working harness and I was not referring to job related harnesses such as that. Thanks for clarifying and allowing me to do so as well.
 

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All of my dogs,with an exception of a Bull Mastiff,wore collars. None of them went blind,or suffered any shoulder injury and all lived long healthy lives.
 

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I have an x back for pulling and a step in for emaciated or injured rescues and a regular harness for tieing out on camping trips but other than that I don't ever use harnesses.
 

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I NEVER used a harness on a dog. I find harnesses create pullers.
Agreed. Collars CAN cause injuries to the throat if the dog is not trained not to pull. Best solution: train the dog not to pull.

I'm planning on training Luna for skijoring when she's older so I'll be putting a harness on her for that.
 
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