Harness vs. Collar For Dachshunds
There are several reasons why a harness is a better option than a collar.
- Your darling Dachshund might suddenly decide to “dash” after another doggo. And you might end up cricking your neck and throwing out your elbow – especially if you were hanging on to that flimsy collar and leash set. The worst part? You’re going to forgive Dachie instantly, but it might be weeks before your neck and elbow forgive you. A harness gives you more control over your pet when you’re out and about on busy streets or crowded parks.
- Leashes (especially the thinner varieties) can dig into your pet’s neck making them extremely uncomfortable – and sometimes even leading to serious canine injuries, e.g. choking or tracheal collapse. Harnesses overcome this problem by distributing this pressure away from your Dachshund’s tender neck and around it’s much sturdier chest and shoulders.
- An excited dog will often wrest off a collar – setting itself free when it most needs to be restrained. A well fitting harness sits snugly under your furry escape-artist’s armpits and around its chest, making it nearly impossible to wriggle out of. For car travel, securing a seatbelt to a dog harness is a far better option than attaching it simply to a collar.
- A dog that is trying to fight off a leash will often run around its owner’s legs, tangling the leash and leading to nasty tripping accidents. Tangling a leash attached to a harness is far more difficult.
- Dachshunds, due to their long backs, are prone to a spinal disease called IVDD (Inter-Vertebral Disc Disease). Using a body harness is one of the best ways to prevent onset of this condition.
- Flimsy collars are particularly dangerous to dogs with eye conditions such as glaucoma or thinner corneas. Doesn’t your best friend deserve better than this?
Types of Doggie Harnesses
Looking through the multitude of dachshund harnesses available online or in brick-and-mortar stores can leave you spoilt for choice. Should you pick the sleek leather-thong harness, or the natty neon blue nylon one? Let’s talk about the different dog harness types, and their pros and cons!
Front-clip vs. Back-clip vs. Dual-clip Harnesses
Back-clip harnesses have a D-ring attachment at the back. They are great if your doggie constantly runs around your legs, wrapping its leash around you as it goes. However, they don’t do much to discourage determined pullers.
Front-clip harnesses are those in which the leash attaches in front. They are often preferred by professional trainers because they inhibit pulling.
Dual-clip harnesses provide the best of both worlds, but are rather more expensive. When buying a dual-clip type harness be extra careful to measure precisely.
Over-the-head vs. Step-in Harnesses
As the name suggests, over-the-head harnesses go over your pet’s head. On the other hand, a step-in harness requires your dog’s forelegs to go in first.
Harness Materials: Nylon, Net, Fabric or Leather?
Nylon harnesses are cheap, commonly available and can be purchased in many different colors – including those painted on with reflective stripes. They are inexpensive and easy to clean, so you can buy several of them. Padded nylon is far more comfortable than the unpadded alternative.
Net (by itself, or in combination with nylon) is a great option for hotter climes, as it facilitates all round air flow.
Fabric harnesses are available in many different colors, textures and patterns for the picky pet parent. They are soft, comfortable (especially padded fabric) and absorbent. Read the washing instructions carefully on this one!
Leather harnesses are the Rolls Royces of dog accessories, and convey an unparalleled elegance. Good quality leather is soft, pliable, and ageless – but can lighten your wallet considerably! If you decide to opt for this indulgence, make sure your weenie doesn’t mistake it for a snack and decide to chew on it!
If your determined Doxie consistently prefers to take you for a walk (instead of the other way round), you might need to invest in a no-pull harness, designed to tighten gently when doggo pulls hard, and to relax back to normal when it stops pulling. This is a far safer option than dangerous choke-collars that can seriously injure your four-legged friend in a very delicate place. Ideally, these should be used only as a temporary training tool – not for constant wear.
Why does a Doxie need a specially designed harness?
Dachshunds were originally bred to hunt badgers. These ‘little, but fierce’ pursuers would follow their prey right into subterranean tunnels. Their short legs and elongated bodies are great for maneuvering through tight spaces, while their deep chests give them extra “heart” for the hunt.
Thus, you have the peculiar Dachshund rib cage, shaped like the “keel” of a ship! It is highly curved – so deep, it only just clears the ground – and extends well beyond your dog’s forelegs. Indeed, this is a dog that can “sit” on its chest while its forepaws dig furiously towards its prey. Most harness sizes are based simply on weight categories and don’t do justice to its unique silhouette.
Verdict? Your Dachie is a highly-evolved marvel of engineering and absolutely needs an extra-special harness to contain his distinctive shape! So get out there and buy one already!
How do I pick a harness that fits my Doxie?
A poorly fitted harness isn’t just a buyer’s inconvenience.
It can chafe in the wrong places and affect your dog’s gait – ultimately creating negative associations with harnesses in your dog’s mind, and causing it to dread this accessory. Spend a few minutes measuring your pet, and save yourself a headache.
For the perfect fitting harness, you need two measurements:
(i) Use a flexible tape measure to measure around the widest part of your dog’s chest. This will be just behind the ‘armpits’ of its forepaws.
(ii) Measure around the wide part of your pet’s neck, right above her shoulders. While collars and bandannas fit around the narrow part of the neck, harnesses sit comfortably around the wider part.
Finally, add a margin of about an inch to both measurements so Doxie has enough space to breathe… and you’re ready to start shopping!
What else do I need to know about harness safety?
A harness should only be worn when outdoors. Constant wear can irritate the skin and matt l’il Doxie’s fur. Sleeping with a harness on is an absolute no-no. Same with leaving a wet harness on your dog for too long. Observe hidden areas such as armpits and under the chest regularly to catch early signs of chafing or skin irritation.
You can train your pet Dachshund to associate harnesses with fun things like walks and playtime. This should overcome any initial resistance to the new accessory.