Dog Harnesses, Leashes, and Collars Explained

Are you having a hard time choosing the right dog harness, leash and/or collar for your fur baby? You know, it’s super important to have done proper research before deciding which of the three to purchase. They all contribute a great deal to your pup’s well-being and happiness. 

It can be just as overwhelming as standing in the cereal section at a grocery store, however, there are too many options to choose from! 

Whether your pooch is a puller on the leash or super well-behaved, we’re going to break down the things to pay attention to in your research and the pros and cons of each piece of walking equipment to make the decision a little easier for you.


You can easily get confused between a collar and a harness, or at least while choosing from the different options available— flat collar, head collar, prong collar, martingale collar, etc.

In general, getting the right collar means making the walk more secure and delightful for both you and your dog. Each equipment piece serves a different purpose; nevertheless, it’s important to equip your pup with one that’s just right for them. 

This is the most widely used collar. It is simple and effective in achieving its purpose— to attach a leash and ID tag. All dog parents know about it!

Pros: It’s easy to use and gentle on your dog’s neck (if not pulled with leash).

Cons: Your dog can get choked if pulled with leash.

To learn the proper use of this collar, you can watch our tutorial video here.

Similar to a horse-halter, it goes over your dog’s nose and straps behind his/her ears. This enables you to control your dog very well and prevents pulling from occurring. No wonder it is also known as a gentle leader!

Pros: It helps prevent the worst kind of pulling; it calms your dog down and gives you a greater sense of being in control. The communication between you and your pup is strengthened and very clear.

Cons: Some dogs might not like to wear it and might scratch at their noses once it’s on as a sign of discomfort. If your dog is not pleased with the Gentle Leader, please assess properly (adjust tightness, research into other no-pull harness options, etc.).

For properly equipping this collar/harness, watch our video tutorial here

This collar is mostly used by vets and shelter offices to control untrained dogs for safety purposes. Owners also use this one during dog shows, to keep the best kind of control over their fur babies as they’re showing off their tricks and talents!

Pros: Can help control strong and untrained dogs.

Cons: Harms the dog if they lunge frequently.

This one is a combination of a flat collar and a slip collar. It works like a pulley system!

Pros: Your dog will not slip out of this collar. It prevents neck injuries and choking for the most part. It’s also a great option for breeds like Greyhounds because they have smaller heads in comparison to their necks. 

Cons: It typically does not have a place to hold ID tags. There is no limit as to how much the collar can tighten; so if a dog is pulling very hard in an opposite direction from which you’re pulling, the collar will tighten a lot and thus cause some choking.  

This type of collar is very controversial and is not recommended. Although it can be used for self-corrections, we at Hands N Paws don’t support its usage at all. Pulling a dog by the pinch collar can cause much pain to your dog’s neck and if anything might scare them from wanting to do their favorite activity- go on walks.

Pros: Has potential to correct lunging.

Cons: It can be seen as very inhumane. 

These collars are used to train dogs by giving them an electric shock when they go out of the premises of where they’re permitted, or if they do something unwanted such as excessive barking. Modern shock collars have adjustable shock levels. It is mainly for invisible fence use. The team at Hands N Paws does not always support the use of Shock Collars, but understands where they may be necessary for a dog parent to use/invest in.

Pros: It’s much easier and cheaper to purchase a shock collar (along with an invisible fence) than to get an actual fence installed at your house. This is a main reason why dog parents invest in shock collars- to train their dog to know boundaries in regards to poor behaviors as well as physical boundaries in yarded/dog areas. 

Cons: The shocks can make the dog fearful, which can then lead to something called “overcorrection.” This happens when the dog begins to see every behavior as potentially a misbehavior that will get punished. With this, the dog’s learning occurs on the basis of fear.


Have a dog who uncontrollably pulls or lunges on walks, or are you a dog parent who just wants to “play it safe” when it comes to your dog’s neck? Consider investing in a harness! We at Hands N Paws fully support the use of harnesses since they seem to be super effective in the benefits they have to offer. Read on as to why!

This is the most basic and most popular kind of dog harness. Most dogs feel comfortable in it. You should note that it does not necessarily teach your dog to not pull. A dog who is pulling already will still pull while wearing it.

Pros: Trained dogs feel more natural and less uncomfortable with a back-clip simply because there’s no pulling on the neck involved. Also, the leash does not get tangled in between the dog’s legs (because it is attached to D-rings on the dog’s backside!).

Cons: Does little help in teaching a dog to walk properly without pulling. It could cause pulling to worsen simply because the back-end resistance is going to make the dog want to naturally pull in the opposite direction.

Have a look at our tutorial video for how to properly equip this harness on your dog.

This harness mainly helps with leash pulling. With this harness, you can easily turn your dog away from something else and towards you through strong communication. We fully support the use of front-clip harnesses!

Pros: Helps you to easily steer your dog if he tries to pull, simply because the leash will pull his front end back and towards you. This pivoting communicates wonders to your dog, because it causes his entire front-end to be moved towards you, and thus the forward-pulling to be discouraged.

Cons: Your dog can still pull with this harness (that’s when we’d recommend utilizing the Gentle Leader on your pup, as mentioned above!).

Have a look at our tutorial video for how to properly equip this harness on your dog.


By now you probably have decided which type of collar or harness is safe and most suitable for your dog. But, you cannot only use a collar or harness to tame or walk your dog. Rather, you also need to have the proper leash to make sure your buddy is joyful and well-behaved.

Leashes are also available in different types like flat lead, retractable lead, rope dog leash, etc.

This is the “staple” and most popular dog leash, which measures about 4-8 feet in length. It is simple and easy to use as well as quite safe. It clips onto the thickest ring on the dog’s collar and/or harness and that’s all.

Pros: They are cheap, simple, and effective. Provides for great control over your dog.

Cons: They can harm your dog’s neck if attached to only a collar. That’s why we suggest attaching to a harness!  

These leashes are used for teaching recalls, but also for giving a dog some freedom to roam on his/her walk. We at Hands N Paws don’t necessarily recommend them; however, if you want to use a retractable lead for your dog, you should follow the rules of thumb- beware of your surroundings and don’t allow too much freedom to the point where you lose control over your pup!

Pros: Gives your dog more space to move around on walks. The leash lengthens and shortens based on where your dog goes.

Cons: You have almost no ability to control your dog if the leash is extended out too far. Especially if a dog is highly reactive to moving things, people, cars, etc. you will find it difficult and impossible to gain control over your dog that’s freely way ahead of you It can also cause burns if you instinctively grab the moving lead (to gain control) in the case that your dog goes running out in front of you quickly.

These leashes are comparatively more durable and easier to grip, being made of the same material used to make mountain climbing ropes. 

Pros: The quality is great, tear-proof, and gives you good control over your dog (in the same way that a flat lead does).

Cons: They are usually heavier (which is not suitable for smaller dogs) and somewhat awkward to hold/grip.

How We Use The Equipment

Dog walkers at Hands N Paws are trained to use each of the various leashes, harnesses, and collars mentioned above. Even when it comes down to holding certain leashes properly and rules of thumb for fitting harnesses on clients’ dogs, we don’t come up short! 

Our highly trained dog walkers follow the “two-finger rule” when it comes to harness-fitting. This rule says that there should be a gap of two fingers between the equipment and the dog’s skin once the harness is on the dog. Any more than that is too loose and any less than that is too tight, and thus needs to be adjusted. 

We also have a certain way of holding a flat lead leash, known as the “finger-lock method.” This method is best-suited for proper control on walks and also enables us to use the leash as the communication tool it’s intended to be.

We want our clients’ dogs to be healthier and happier, and we advocate for leaving situations better than they’re found. So, we only make suggestions about which equipment is the best for each dog after a thorough and individualized examination and/or whenever we notice something is “off” and can be fixed. For example, if we’re working with a dog whose got a back-clip harness, but seems to be a huge puller on walks, we definitely bring it to the owner’s attention and suggest getting a front-clip harness for the dog’s well-being and behavior correction.

Happy Dog = Happy Dog Parent

Now that you have an understanding of the various collars, harnesses, and leashes, you can make an informed decision on which to invest in for your pup based on his/her personality, behaviors, and needs. Feel free to reach out to our team for questions not answered within this article. We are professionals and so it is part of our mission to make you a happy and content pup parent!

Benny DiFranco

Benny DiFranco

Hi! Thanks for reading this blog. I am the owner and founder of Columbus, Ohio's very own Hands N Paws. I started this business in 2018 with the purpose of giving more pet parents peace of mind. Looking forward to seeing you on the blog next time!

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Should any of Client’s pets require emergency veterinary treatment, Hands N Paws will treat pets first and foremost, then make all reasonable efforts to contact Client and/or emergency contacts provided. Regardless, the Team Member on-site holds the right to take appropriate action to help all pets, including obtaining veterinary care. Client authorizes Hands N Paws to transport pet(s) to and from a veterinary clinic for treatment and/or to request “on-site” treatment if deemed necessary. Client authorizes Hands N Paws to make treatment decisions on their behalf (with the information available) for any treatment excluding euthanasia, especially if Client is not reachable and/or it’s a life-threatening emergency that calls for immediate action. Client agrees to pay any and all veterinary fees that result from this action.
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Our Team Members can only perform services correctly if they are equipped with the correct (and most up to date) pet care information. You will only be allowed to request services on the basis that pet and personal profiles are updated every 6 months (at minimum). Any Client who attempts to request services at the 6 month mark will receive an error message letting them know that they cannot submit a request if they haven’t made updates to their profiles. If there is nothing to update at the 6 month mark, simply reword a current piece of information and click Save at the bottom of the page.


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Dog Walking
*Rates below apply for up to 2 dogs; add $7 per additional dog
QUICK WALK – 20 mins – $22
STANDARD WALK – 30 mins – $25
LONG WALK – 45 mins – $35

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*Rates below apply for up to 2 pets; add $7 per additional pet
QUICK VISIT – 20 mins – $22
STANDARD VISIT – 30 mins – $25
LONG VISIT – 45 mins – $35

Cat Sitting
*Rates below apply for up to 2 cats; add $7 per additional cat
QUICK VISIT – 20 mins – $22
STANDARD VISIT – 30 mins – $25
LONG VISIT – 45 mins – $35
Overnight Stay (8-10 hrs) – $80

*Rate applies for up to 2 pets; add $10 per additional pet.




A $20 surcharge is added to each service that is scheduled on the following Federal Holidays: New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve.



Upon submitting service request(s), Client will be informed as to whether Hands N Paws can take on the requested work via a confirmation or declination email/notification. Client understands that there is NO guarantee that any/all service requests can be approved; it simply just depends on Team Member availability. Clients are encouraged to submit all service requests as far in advance as possible!



Client understands and accepts the Company same day service request policy as outlined below:
– A $10 convenience fee is added to each service if requested (and approved) with 24 hours or less notice before service(s) is scheduled to occur.
– A $20 convenience fee is added to each service if requested (and approved) with 12 hours or less notice before service(s) is scheduled to occur.
– A $30 convenience fee is added to each service if requested (and approved) with 6 hours or less notice before service(s) is scheduled to occur.



Client understands and accepts the Company out-of-service-area request policy as outlined below:
– A $10 (minimum) convenience fee is added to each service if requested outside of our current service area.
Please note, this amount is subject to increase depending on how far a client lives outside of our current service area.




Client understands and accepts the Company service change request policy as it applies to time frames as outlined below:

If Client submits a service change request, there may be a same-day applicable fee should the change be approved. Technically, changing a service time frame equates to cancelling one service and requesting a brand new one. With that, Hands N Paws assesses the change as it relates to our same-day policy detailed above.

If the change is requested (and approved) with 24 hours or less notice before service is newly scheduled to occur, the original service is canceled (same-day) and there is a $10 convenience fee added onto the “new service” base rate.

If the change is requested (and approved) with 12 hours or less notice before service is newly scheduled to occur, the original service is canceled (same-day) and there is a $20 convenience fee added onto the “new service” base rate.

If the change is requested (and approved) with 6 hours or less notice before service is newly scheduled to occur, the original service is canceled (same-day) and there is a $30 convenience fee added onto the “new service” base rate.




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To schedule a first-time meet n greet (for new clients), please go to and click Get Started.

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All services are to be paid for via credit/debit card. We accept all major cards (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover). Card information can be added securely to each client account.

For services scheduled as ongoing, you will be auto-charged every Friday evening for the previous 7 days worth of work on schedule, including completed, canceled, and in-progress services.

For services NOT scheduled as ongoing, the day your services are accepted and confirmed is the day you will be charged 50% of your invoice total (as downpayment). Your invoice will be sent to you immediately. You have from then until the date of the last confirmed service to pay your invoice manually. If you choose to not pay manually, your remaining total will be auto-paid (via card on file) on the evening of the last service day.

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Client may be charged additional fees if Team Members are instructed to, or sees the need to, purchase items for the pet while under Company care, including but not limited to: pet food or treats, litter or cleaning supplies, transportation to the vet and/or emergency expenses for general care of pet(s). Hands N Paws will retain and share receipts as proof of purchase.




When Client schedules services with Hands N Paws, the Company has likely turned down other work so as to devote our time to the work requested from said Client.

Client understands and accepts the Company cancellation/refund policy as outlined below:

– 100% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– 50% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– NO refund is issued for same-day cancellations/less than 24 hour notice.

PLEASE NOTE: Refunds are NOT transferable. Should you be eligible to receive an Account Credit (based on terms above), that will be auto-added to your account and applied to your very next invoice with us.



Hands N Paws agrees to provide the services stated in this contract in a reliable, caring, and trustworthy manner. In consideration of these services and as an express condition thereof, Client expressly waives and relinquishes any and all claims against Hands N Paws arising out of or relating to the provision of services hereunder, except those arising from gross negligence or willful misconduct on part of Hands N Paws.

Client understands and acknowledges that the environment in which they are requesting Hands N Paws to complete services is reasonably sanitary and safe. We assess home conditions during initial meet n greets. If we determine home conditions to be unsanitary and/or unsafe, we will make it clear to the Client that we cannot pursue a working relationship.

Should a Team Member sustain any injury, disease, or other harm in the course of providing services hereunder, the Client will indemnify Hands N Paws and hold it harmless with respect to all loss, expense, and damage caused thereby, except those arising from gross negligence or willful misconduct on part of Hands N Paws.

Client understands and acknowledges that he/she is responsible for letting Hands N Paws know of anyone who has access to their home and agrees to not contract with any other company and/or care provider during the duration of services booked with Hands N Paws. Client releases and holds Hands N Paws harmless of all loss, expense, and damage caused by anyone entering the Client’s home with their permission or access given to others during the terms of services rendered.




This contract will take effect upon digital signature by Client (clicking “Agree & Submit” below) and will remain in effect until terminated by either party. Client may make online reservations for additional services at any time during the terms of this contract, as subject to Hands N Paws availability. All scheduled services will be governed by all the terms of this contract. We appreciate as much advance notice as possible for the work, but will make every effort possible to accommodate all requests.

Either party may terminate this contract at any time by written notice to the other. Hands N Paws is entitled to payment for all services rendered until notice of termination is received and for any transition services reasonably required to provide for the health and welfare of Client’s pet(s). Hands N Paws will not terminate during a period of scheduled service unless Hands N Paws determines, at their sole discretion, that a serious danger exists to the health or safety of a Team Member or pet. If such concerns preclude Hands N Paws from providing further care for the pet(s), Client agrees to pay for their pet to be boarded at a boarding facility or taken under the care of another party until Client returns. Every attempt will be made to notify Client and/or emergency contacts regarding such situations.

Client acknowledges that by signing below, he/she is providing written approval for the provision of services by Hands N Paws during any service period scheduled by Client and confirmed by Hands N Paws. Upon such scheduling and approval, Hands N Paws will be authorized to enter Client premises and perform services without additional signed contracts and/or written authorizations




I, Client, have reviewed this Client Agreement in its entirety. I will promptly complete all parts of my client account in Precise Petcare, and the information I provide will be detailed and accurate. My electronic signature here will indicate that I am agreeing to all the terms and conditions of this contract, exactly as they are outlined above.