Most dog breeds are fine with a normal dog collar. However normal collars are not suitable for Pugs because of the Pug’s small size and the fact that it is a brachycephalic breed (which includes other breeds such as Boxers, Boston Terrier, Bulldogs, Shih Tzus etc.), which means their faces are pushed in which affects their respiratory system.
If there is too much pressure coming from their collar (/leash) it can even cause problems with their eyes (see half way down this page).
So instead you should opt for a harness! Your dog will be happier with it as it is much more comfortable for Pugs!
At the bottom of this page we do give a guide on how to get your Pug used to wearing a normal collar, even though we advise against it!
Choosing a dog harness for a pug
A harness should fit your Pug correctly. It should distribute the pressure between the Pug’s back, chest and shoulder areas, and should cause no discomfort at all around his neck and should not affect its breathing at all.
Getting a Pug into a harness is certainly more work than getting a simple collar on it, but with training they quickly learn that a harness means they get to go outside, and soon they will get excited when you show them their harness.
Be sure to take into consideration the type of material. Most people prefer and recommend a nylon harness, as they last a long time and are lightweight.
Also look out for the following features:
- You can get stretchy harnesses. They are best for puppies (especially as they are growing). Because they don’t distribute the pressure evenly, they are not ideal for adult Pugs.
- Getting a harness with snap buckles means it can be easier to get your dog into it. They don’t always want to step into it, so if you can get one that buckles up you can easily put it on and take it off.
- Make sure the straps are not too thin – they can cause injuries if they are too thin and too much pressure is applied
- Look for one with a Martingale loop in the belly area, which helps stop the straps from looping around
Getting your Pug into the harness
- Once your Pug realises that having a harness on means that he can go out for walks he will soon look forward to putting it on. But the first few times can be a bit hard.
- During the first few times, give him treats as you complete each step (but only if he behaves – don’t give him a treat (reward him) if he tries to shake it off etc).
- You can start by placing it on his back.
- Slowly buckle up the straps, while giving him treats.
- The first few times you put the harness on the Pug you should do it in your house and let the Pug just walk around with it on, so that it gets used to wearing it. You should pay attention to him and make sure he doesn’t injure himself.
- After 5-10 minutes take it off him and give him treats.
- Put it on again another time, but this time connect the leash (dog lead) to the harness and let him walk around the house (dragging it behind him), again so he gets used to the feeling.
- And the last bit of ‘training’ is when you hold the leash, but let him walk around the house. This will get him used to you holding the leash and not letting him walk far away.
- Other tips
- When toilet training a dog it can be handy to keep the harness (or collar) on at all time so you can quickly rush out if your Pug needs to go outside for a toilet break
- Get a backup harness or collar/leash – you never know when one will break or get lost
Getting your dog into a dog collar
As explained above, it is not recommended to use a dog collar with a Pug because of their breathing problems. A dog collar can put too much pressure on their neck. However, if you need to know how to get your dog into a dog collar:
- A good way to get your dog into a dog collar is to do it just before eating. It will be quite distracted by food and associate the dog collar with good feelings.
- Put it on just before your Pug eats, and let him or her walk around with it on for a few minutes after eating.
Remember to put ID tags with valid and up to date contact information on his or her harness or collar!