Dachshunds, which have been called wiener dogs due to their appearance, now have the nickname of doxies. Because of their long body structure they're susceptible to back problems, specifically intervertebral disk disease (IVD). Improper collar use is also a concern for dachshunds and all dog breeds. For dachshunds especially, harnesses are recommended over collars. With some effort you can determine which harness is best for you and your dachshund to avoid potential medical problems.
Use a soft tape measure to determine your dog's neck circumference around the base of the neck. Establish the dog's length by measuring from the base of the neck to the base of the tail. Determine girth by measuring the dog's abdomen beginning at the base of the neck and encircling the body just behind the front legs. Measure the dog's height while it's standing and facing you, measuring from the base of the neck down to the floor.
Choose the harness material that best fits your lifestyle. Nylon harnesses are inexpensive and easy to adjust, and mesh harnesses are suitable for hot weather. Fabric harnesses are easy to clean, while leather harnesses adjust easily and are durable. Pick the harness style that's right for your dog. The strap style should be long enough to give the dog's back enough support. Both the vest and coat styles can be made to fit your dachshund's specifications as well as handle different types of weather.
Ensure the harness properly fits your dog by placing your index finger under each section of the harness. Loosen the harness if you have to force your finger between the dog and the harness, and tighten it if you can fit more than one finger underneath. Watch your dog closely as it walks to ensure the harness is comfortable. Examine your dog after a walk and look for matted fur or chafed skin, which may be an indication of either inadequate fit or inappropriate harness style for your doxie's body.
Teach your dog to walk on a leash beside you; pulling on a leash is a dog's natural instinct, which needs to be discouraged. Teach your dog that you are in control by speaking the command, then walking. Stop walking whenever it does something incorrectly, then try again. Praise your dog when it walks correctly. Reinforce what it has learned by repeating the process and giving praise, pets or treats.
- "The Well Adjusted Dog"; Dr. Daniel Kamen; 1997
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