As Holly Ramsey, Ph.D., at Dachworld.com indicates,
“Dachshunds essentially need the ideal fit, proper material, and greatest sense of security to achieve remarkable comfortability, which is a priority when it comes to them wearing a harness.”
Check her article at https://www.dachworld.com/best-dachshund-harnesses/.
Dachshunds are a special breed of dog along with several others in the dwarf category referred to as “chondrodystrophic.” The dogs in this class are prone to congenital issues related to the spine and how it develops and progresses throughout their lifespan.
Specifically, dachshunds have the likelihood of developing a hereditary degenerative disease known as “intervertebral disc disease,” which has the potential for causing herniated discs. These can cause the animal severe pain and possibly lead to paralysis.
The disease can make a pup already prone to spinal problems even more susceptible to injuries. Veterinarians advise pet parents to heed precautions, including replacing standard collars with a well-fitted dachshund harness to help reduce the chance of neck or spinal injury from pulls when taking walks.
What Features To Look For In A Harness For Dachshunds
Before purchasing a harness for your Dachshund, it’s wise to speak with the breeder or a veterinarian to learn what you should look for as the best choice for your specific size and type of Doxie. Some key factors to pay attention to:
- Material: A priority for the harness is comfortability for anything your Dachshund might wear for a prolonged period. The material needs to be secure yet warm and free moving, as is valid for a harness.
A padded variety offering layers of soft material gives the amount of protection and support the pup needs during her day as long as the padding is in the appropriate areas.
Many pet parents want their Doxie to wear something lightweight but yet protective. In any case, the animal should have a pleasant time in the harness and have no risk for injury. A “rough mesh” is something a pet parent wants to avoid for fear of chafing their pup’s skin.
- Correct Fit: It’s challenging to find a harness made especially for the Doxie’s broad chest. In many cases, the material will rub against the armpits, chafing this area and the shoulders. It’s important to look for padded material with adjustability or made special for a Dachshund.
- Usability: The harness needs to be secure and durable so that there is no chance for escape. A Dachshund is pretty slick with their escape ability from harnesses because of their stumpy legs, energetic demeanor, and tiny necks.
That poses an exceptional danger if they happen to slide out of the device near a busy street. It needs to offer a snug (but not overly tight) fit that doesn’t let the puppy loose.
- Durability: The material needs to handle any extreme weather or rough terrain since Doxies will explore with their boundless energy. That means the harness will come in contact with nature with the potential for tears, mud puddle stains (needing continuous cleaning), and maybe some puppy nibbles. It’s essential to find a brand with reinforced, resilient seams and a leash attachment with a solid “D-ring.”
You’ll want a puppy harness that has many adjustment settings for outstanding longevity before replacing it with a full-grown Dachshund harness.
- Back Support: Due to the canine’s propensity for a spinal injury and potential disease, it’s essential to ensure you have plenty of back support for the animal with extra chest pads.
Generally, it’s wise to look for harnesses made for the Doxie specifically because their spine issues are considered in the design. These might prove to be more costly, but so will medical bills for the pup if something happened to her back.
- Safety: The Dachshund can be a challenge to size due to the unusual body. It’s critical to ensure you pay attention to how the harness fits the dog so that there is no chafing on the animal’s body. You want to avoid the material maneuvering its way up to the Doxie’s throat since that can prove to be a choking hazard for the pup.
Types Of Harnesses
- Vest: A vest reduces the risk of chafed skin and offers a sense of security for a pup who might otherwise feel skittish when out. These can be bulky, making some Doxies feel “confined.”
- Front Clip: The “D-ring” has a position on the Dachshund’s chest. If your pup is prone to pulling, this would be the option to select before others.
When pulling forward, pressure will increase upfront, which they will want to avoid making them stop. Some of these offer tightening loops in the front for added pressure to resist pulling further, but that doesn’t guarantee to correct the problem, especially for aggressive pullers.
The downside is these can tangle in the Doxie’s legs and can be challenging with swaying without catching the puppy in her snout. Plus, there’s the potential for serious chafing if not fit adequately.
- Back Clip – The leash will connect on top of the harness, giving a greater level of control to the pet parent from a standard collar keeping the leash from tangling around the animal’s legs since the position is up and away.
There’s minimal chance for injuries to the neck since the “D-ring” is a further distance from the area, down the back. The indication with this type is dogs tend to want to pull harder when wearing this harness since they move in the opposite way from where the pressure is applied.
- Tightening – These harnesses provide a sense of pressure on the Dachshund’s chest if they pull away, giving the dog a feeling of discomfort. That has the potential for resolving pulls from the Doxie.
Still, these can give intense pressure for those dogs that are serious pullers, causing the dog to react more. In this instance, a non-tightening harness is a better option.
- Leather: The leather option is among the most durable choices but probably also the least budget-friendly and not as lightweight as most pet parents would hope for with a small Doxie.
These also would not be something you want to take out into nasty weather, trump through muddy terrain, or manipulate around vegetation with sticks and thorns ripping at the material.
How To Measure A Doxie For Their Harness
If a harness isn’t fit properly, it can cause your Doxie a great deal of discomfort with the potential for chafing, escape, overall ineffective, and possibly dangerous.
Dachshunds come in different shapes and sizes, making it vital that you measure your pup before shopping for the kind of harness best suited for her needs.
The measurements required for the harness will depend on which one you intend to buy. That, again, means researching the guidelines for sizing for those you’re considering.
Ideally, you’ll use the same type of measure that a tailor uses for clothing, a vinyl tape you can find at any specialty sewing shop. When checking the harness fit, snug is best but not overly tight to constrain. The idea is to prevent escapes and chafing.
A good fit is determinable by sliding two stacked fingers between the straps and the animal’s body. The tightening harness should be pulled tight when you measure.
Tips On Harness Training A Doxie
When training any dog on something new, the priority is to use positive reinforcement, never negativity, and corporal punishment is illegal (thank goodness.)
An easy way to train a Doxie while wearing a harness is to develop a habit where she begins to associate the device with playtime and walks. The animal will start to look forward to putting it on instead of resisting the accessory.
Initially, you can treat the pup for letting you put it on her. But accolades and praise should be sufficient in this situation.
Dachshunds are feisty balls of energy and thus require more than merely a collar when on their many adventures. Harnesses are beneficial for numerous reasons but, predominantly, for the best of the animal’s overall health, well-being, and security. Ultimately, as a pet parent, we want our Doxies to have an exceptional quality of life. That means the tools we use in their care need to be optimal.