The collar vs. harness debate is ongoing and there are pros and cons of each, but here are some insights that Pommy Mommies should keep in mind when deciding which one to use.
Choosing a collar or harness depends on your training and behavioral goals, the size of your dog and any medical conditions your dog might have. Collars rely on trying to control a dog by using the sensitive and vulnerable area of the neck, which is where vital structures such as the airway and spinal cord are located.
A collar and leash combination can be damaging to the delicate necks of Pomeranians. Small dogs have small necks, and small necks have fragile throats and tracheas, which is why a harness is a good idea for Poms. For dogs that are under 20 pounds, the pulling from a collar and leash could put their necks at risk for damage. Even a little bit of pressure applied to the throat in the wrong way can cause damage to a Pom’s neck, which can lead to a collapsed trachea.
Using a harness alleviates strain on the neck because it fits around your Pom’s chest and rib cage. Unlike a collar, the fit of a harness makes it very difficult for a dog to slip out of – even tiny Pommies.
When using a harness, it’s still important to keep a collar with ID tags on your Pommy. They can simply wear the harness in addition to the collar – you’ll attach the leash to the harness. Even The Pommy Mommy herself uses this technique.
“I keep collars on my Poms with their ID tags attached, but when it comes time for a walk in the park, or down the street… I put a harness on them,” Pommy Mommy, Tara Lucky- Castellano said. “Pommies have fragile tracheas and pulling on the collar with a leash can only do harm. When a harness is used, there is more control over the Pom and no potential damage to your Pommy’s little trachea.”
There are two main varieties of the standard harness – the front-attaching harness and the back-attaching harness. The latter is often preferred for toy breeds like the Pom.
The back-attaching harness doesn’t create as much pressure and tightening on the chest as a front-attaching harness would for a larger dog. Small dogs like little Pommies are more sensitive to that kind of pressure, which makes the back-attaching harness the better option for dogs of their size.
There are also slip action harnesses that work on the principle of give-and-take like a choker collar would, but the fixed position body harness allows the dog to use their weight to pull against you without any discomfort. The back-attaching fixed position harness is what is most often recommended for small breeds like the Pomeranian.
As always, if you’re unsure about what to do, talk to your veterinarian to decide what’s best for your precious Pommy!
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