If you own a Dahcshund, the chances are good that you have experienced this at least once:
- You take your Dachshund for a walk and suddenly they stop in their tracks and refuse to go on
- You gently, and then perhaps more firmly, pull on the leash to encourage them to keep going
- Your Dacshund resists this pressure and pulls backwards on the harness
- Your Dachshund pulls and wriggles until they back out of their harness
It’s a frustrating situation at best and a scary one at worst (your Dacshund could run into traffic or run away. Yikes!)
I’ve owned Dahchsunds for almost 20 years and have seen many Dachshunds from our club back out of their harness.
In this article, I’ll explain why this might happen and tell you what you can do to stop it.
Why Does My Dog Back Out of Their Harness?
Dog harnesses are designed for a dog to walk beside, or in front of, and owner with no pressure from the leash (if your dog walks on a loose leash) or pressure in the direction of the rear of the dog (if your dog is in front of you and pulling).
If you’re in a situation where you are in front of your Dachshund and your dog pulls, the pressure becomes opposite of what is intended – a forward pressure.
When this happens, it can become easy for your Dachshund to back out of their harness.
Some reasons your Dachshund may pull backwards on the leash and harnes are:
- Your Dachshund doesn’t like being on a leash
- The harness is uncomfortable or feels weird to your dog
- Your Dachshund is nervous or fearful and feels uncomfortable continuing on the walk
- Your Dahcshund is tired and signaling they want to stop and go back to the house
The solution to stop your Dachshund from backing out of a harness is more training, finding a different harness, or both.
Why Not Just Use a Collar Instead of a Harness?
You may be wondering why you shouldn’t just use a collar for your Dahcshund instead of a harness?
Well, first, using a collar won’t automatically prevent your Dachshund from escaping the leash.
A proper fitting collar should be lose enough that a dog can pull out of it if they get caught on something (you should be able to slip two fingers under the collar).
This extra room can allow your Dachshund to slip out of the collar, especially if they pull hard.
Second, a harness is safer for a Dahchsund.
- A collar puts pressure on your dog’s throat if they pull, increasing the risk for trachea collapse or other neck injuries.
- A harness more equally distributes pressure accross a dog’s chest so all of the pressure is not concentrated in one spot
- Pressure on the neck can injure the spine (and Dachshunds are already prone to spinal issues)
For more information, please read my article about why a harness is the safer than a collar for a Dachshund.
In addition to the above, switching to a collar isn’t necessarily going to be more comfortable for your Dahcshund and it won’t solve any underlying behavioral or fear issues.
How to Choose an Escape Proof Harness for Your Dachshund
There are several things to look for, and to watch out for, when choosing an escape proof dog harness for your Dachshund.
What to look for:
- High quality materials – so the straps don’t break with pressur and the buckles don’t fail
- Secure straps – more than one rear strap or wider straps
- A proper fit – ideally, snug but not too tight
What to avoid:
- Harnesses with a wide “chest plate” or strap between the legs – it can be too wide and cause chafing or cuts on the inside of your Dahchsund’s legs
- No pull harnesses – these are intended for a dog to stop pulling in a forward motion and can slip off if a dog pulls backwards
Owner Recommended Escape Proof Dachshund Harnesses
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links (Amazon Associate or other programs we participate in). As an affiliate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
While I can’t guaruntee these harness will alsolutely work for all Dahchsunds all of the time, these are harnesses I know will be very hard for your dog to slip out of.
I know this because I’ve tried them and/or because people with escape-artist Dachshunds have recommended them to me.
Ruffwear Flagline Harness
The Ruffwear Flagline Harness has an extra rear strap that most dog harnesses don’t have.
This extra strap fit’s my Dahcshunds on the part of the rib cage where it starts to get smaller.
This means that the strap is smaller than the widest part of the ribcage so if a Dahchsund pulls backwards, they literally won’t be able to slip their rib cage through that loop.
Buy the Ruffwear Flagline Harness HERE.
One important note though!
You’ll notice my Dahchshunds are fit so their body shape is like a deep-chested dog’s should be – the abdomen tapers up toward the rear behind the rib cage.
If your Dachshund is thicker and more tube shaped, it’s likely that the rear strap will be closer to the diameter of the maximum rib cage circumfrence.
This could make it easier for your Dahchsund to back out of the harness but, in my opinion, it’s stil unlikely.
Two chest straps will still be more secure than one.
Hug-a-Dog Harness by Dachshund Delights
The Hug-a-Dog vest harness from Dachshund Delights is what’s called a vest style harness.
With these harnesses, the straps are wider than a traditional harness.
This wider strap across the neck distributes and pressure more evently.
The wider back panel and chest strap make it more difficult for a Dachshund to back out of.
How to Stop Your Dachshund From Backing Out of a Harness
Using a more secure and better fitting harness can help physically prevent your Dachshund from backing out of their harness but it won’t solve the underlying issue (unless the only issue was that your Dahcshund found their previous harness uncomfortable)
That will take investigation – really observing, and consulting with a dog trainer if needed to find out what is causing your Dahchsund to do it – and training.
As highlighted above, there are several reasons your dog may try to back out of their harness.
One reason is that your Dahchsund doesn’t like being on a leash.
Maybe they are a rescue and weren’t walked on a leash before.
Maybe your Dachshund is a puppy and isn’t used to the feeling of being tethered to something (you) with a leash.
Either way, you may need to start back and square one and teach your Dachshund to be comfortable walking in a harness and on a leash.
Your Dachshund may stop walking and pull backwards on the leash because they are nervous or fearful.
It may not be that your Dachshund hates, or doesn’t know how to, walk on a leash.
Instead, the cause of your dog’s resistance may be that they are unsure of their surroundings and are are afraid of what’s around the corner.
If your Dachshund is overweight, not used to regular exercise, or a young puppy who is being asked to walk too far too soon, your Dchshund may stop and try to slip out of their harness as a way to communicate that they’re tired and want to go back to the house.
While this not be remedied by obedience training or building their confidence, a “training” schedule to increase your dog’s fitness may help (in other words, start with slower easier walks and build up).
What to Do If Your Dachshund Backs Out of Their Harness
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your Dachshuund may slip out of their harness.
That second when you realize your Dachshund is no longer attached to you and can run away to get lost or hit by a car is scary.
So what can you do?
If your Dachshund is an excape artist, you’ll want to ensure your Dachshund’s ID is up to date before you even leave the house.
Consider attaching this identification to a collar (but not the leash) instead of the harness so your dog will still be wearing it even if they back out of the harness.
That way, if your Dachshund does run off the person that finds your dog will be able to contact you.
Second – even though it may be a challenge – don’t panic.
Don’t try to chase or grab your Dachshund quickly. This may startle them and cause them to run away from you.
Instead, try running past them. It’s likely your Dachshund’s natural prey instincts will kick in and they will follow you, thinking it’s a fun game.
You can them crouch down, let your dog run into your arms, and give them a lot of praise in a happy voice.
Carrying treats to bribe your Dahcshund over to you can also help bring them close enough to get ahold of.
If the worst happens and your Dachshund does go missing, follow these tips to help bring your lost dog home.
Final Thoughts on Dog Harness Escapees
It can be scary and dangerous if your Dachshund backs out of their harness.
The fastest fix to prevent this from happening is to buy your dog a more secure harness.
But don’t stop there.
If your Dahcshund contines to try and excape the harness, try and find out why.
It may be due to a fear or the mere fact that your dog was never properly trained to walk on a leash.
If you can’t seem to stop your Dachshund from stopping their walk and pulling backwards, consider consulting with a dog trainer or animal behaviorist who can help you get to the root of the problem and suggest solutions.