Labrador Collars and Harness
Collar or Harness?
This is a matter of choice and owners will argue long and hard in defence of their preferred walking accessory.
Whichever you choose you must not rely on your leash to prevent your dog from pulling, your persistent tugging on the leash will cause him harm.
If your dog is a puller you have to train him to stop.
If you use a harness your Labrador will still need a collar, this is a legal requirement and you need to attach his ID tag to it, I have microchip info' tags on mine as well.
Under the Control of Dogs Order 1992, all dogs must wear a collar and identity tag in a public place. The tag must show the owner's name and address. Dog wardens can enforce this law and fines of up to £5000 can be given by the Courts for an offence.
If your Lab is playing in the yard and slips out it can prove quite costly if he's not wearing a collar.
If you choose a harness it must only be worn when walking your dog, a harness left on for long periods of time will become uncomfortable, they can also be a hindrance when your Labrador is mooching around the house or playing in the yard.
Beware of cheap harnesses, Labradors are extremely adept at getting out of them and seem quite able to undo zips and buckles, when your not looking of course.
You will not solve the 'escape problem' by overtightening the harness, a too tight harness will restrict breathing, cause chafing and make the dog so uncomfortable he will go to extreme lengths to get out of it.
The correct method is to fit it properly and periodically check the harness as you walk your dog to ensure it is still sitting right and hasn't loosened.
After years of experience, we only recommend one harness for an adult Labrador, the Julius-K9 Power Harness
On our Collars and Leads Page, we recommended some lighter harnesses for your puppy.
A well padded collar with a strong buckle
I prefer to use a collar when walking my Labs, as we are in the country they spend most of the time off the lead and I can keep them well to heel on a short lead when crossing fields with livestock.
Labradors have very powerful necks, a fully grown Lab' can easily pick up and carry a 4ft long fence post and they can cope with the occasional jerk from the leash if they make a sudden unexpected lunge.
Never use a choke collar, they are unnecessary and cruel, if you have control issues or your dog keeps shedding his collar then get professional help, torture by repeatedly strangling him is not the answer.
Personally, I believe that because harnesses have to be fitted tightly to stop them slipping off they can compress the chest and restrict breathing when dogs are having a good workout, but everyone has their own preference and opinion.
When choosing a Collar you need to choose something that is strong and tough enough to cope with a very powerful boisterous dog, you also have to have the dogs comfort in mind.
A collar should be loose enough so you can slip a couple of fingers under it and tight enough so you cant pull it over his ears.
My preferred Collars are the Ezydog Neo range, they are well made from neoprene and nylon webbing, waterproof, rustproof, seaproof and tough enough to survive my Labs' dashes through the undergrowth in pursuit of rabbits.
Typically I find I can get 3 years wear out of one before they get tatty and need changing, I have also included a few other collars I've used and found to be ideal for labradors.