There has always been the debate about whether it’s better to walk your dachshund on a collar and lead, versus harness and lead. If you have a fit and healthy dachshund, then it really doesn’t matter whether they have a collar or harness, but the important thing to do is to teach them to walk to heel without pulling ahead of you.

The pulling and jerking is what actually puts added strain on their whole spines. It is worth investing in some good training sessions to learn to walk your dog on a loose lead so that you can avoid this problem; it also teaches you control and enhances your bond with your dachshund. The art of training your dachshund to walk loosely on a lead next to you can be a challenging at times but can be done with consistency and patience.

If you feel the harness is what you prefer, then it’s important to recognise that a harness actually allows relatively more freedom of movement and can actually lead to chronic pulling. If owners prefer to use a harness, they need to ensure that it is a soft material one that sits comfortably on your dog’s bone structure, rather than digging into the soft tissue on the throat and upper back. An ill fitted harness can cause problems with their gait and problems for their shoulders and elbows.

After an episode of IVDD or spinal injury, you will be advised by your specialist vet or rehabilitation therapist, what is best to use when walking your dog on the loose lead. It can also depend on the location, or where your dog suffered the disc herniation along the spinal cord. Harnesses are commonly seen used after surgery, especially if the cervical (neck) vertebrae (Cervical IVDD) is involved.

The important thing to remember is that each dog is an individual and each case of IVDD or spinal injury is different, but the key is to exercise them regularly to build up good muscle tone, and ensure they do not pull, regardless of whether they are walked with a collar or harness.