Head Halter vs. Harness: Which is Best for Your Dog? | TheGoodyPet
Head Halter vs. Harness: Which is Best for Your Dog?

Head Halter vs. Harness: Which is Best for Your Dog?

PETE DECKER / AUGUST 17, 2019 / DOGS

If you have been around dogs for a long time, you’ve definitely had an experience where the pooch tugs on the leash quite hard. At some point, the dog will pull against the tension so hard that they will start chocking on their head halter. At this point, you may think that the best solution would be to get a harness. It’s possible that the harness will solve the issue. However, there are still several pros and cons you need to know before you decide between a head halter and a harness.

1

Head Halters – The Good & Bad

Dog head halters are probably the most common solution to walk a dog. Head halters are available in many styles and designs. There are even some models in the market that are intentionally designed to cause some discomfort on the dog if it pulls away. We wouldn’t recommend these though. There are many other positive reinforcement techniques that you can use.

A head halter that doesn’t in any way cause discomfort to your dog is a good option. But there is still a risk of choking if the pooch pulls away. In that case, if your dog has respiratory issues, you should look for another option. Despite this, head halters usually are more comfortable on the dog compared to a harness. If your dog has long hair, it will get caught up on the harness, which will cause some discomfort.

The biggest challenge with a head halter is when dogs pull vigorously. The risk of neck injury in such a situation is very high. You can also get slip head halters, especially if your pooch is prone to slipping out of traditional head halters. These types of head halters are normally used for Bulldogs, Greyhounds and other breeds that have a slim head or a thick neck.

2

Harnesses – The Good & The Bad

Harnesses have become extremely popular in recent years as dog owners start to see the kind of benefits they have. They offer the best option for training puppies on how to behave on a leash. They also give you a little bit more control compared to head halters. It’s very unlikely that your dog will get tangled up on the leash when you use a harness.

The harness is very effective in preventing pulling without the risk of choking or neck injuries. If you have a delicate dog breed, it would be safer to use harnesses instead of a head halter. Additionally, dogs that are prone to respiratory problems like Pugs and French Bulldogs would benefit a lot from a harness.

We have also seen some head halters causing the dog’s eyes to protrude outwards because of the pressure applied by the head halter. The harness will easily solve this issue for you. The device can be attached at the back or at the front. For large dogs, a front attaching harness will be the best option. It gives you more control over the dog compared to a back attaching option. However, you can use a back attaching harnesses for small dog breeds. Small breeds are more sensitive to pressure, and a front attaching harness may be a little painful or uncomfortable for them.

Final Thoughts


It’s important to understand that pulling is a natural dog behavior. It won’t start or stop just because you have decided to switch from a head halter to a harness and vice versa. These options are simply designed to make sure that, even if the dog pulls, the risk of injury is low.