How to Prepare a Chihuahua to Wear a Harness

Harnesses are safer and more comfortable for Chihuahuas.

Harnesses are safer and more comfortable for Chihuahuas.

While some dogs are compatible with neck collars, Chihuahuas aren't among them. Collars can cause serious damage to a Chihuahua's trachea and neck. Harnesses, however, are more comfortable and less dangerous. Prepare your Chihuahua to wear a harness, instead -- it will be happier and healthier.

Measure your dog with a slack tape measure. Though harness sizes are determined by varying factors, most typical is the length of the dog from the base of the neck to the base of the tail. A Chihuahua typically requires a small or extra small harness, but if yours is particularly small, you may need an even tinier model -- kitten harnesses are available in smaller sizes, and can work just as well.

Loosen the harness as much as you can and slip your dog's legs into the harness as per the instructions. From there, tighten the straps as necessary to ensure a comfortable fit. Make sure the harness is snug enough to avoid your dog slipping out -- you should be able to get a finger between the harness and your dog, but nothing more.

Wait and allow your Chihuahua to wear the harness around the house for a few hours before going on a walk. The sensation of wearing a harness can require a period of acclimatization, so give your dog time to adjust. After a few hours in the harness, you dog should be less resistant to wearing it on a walk.

If your Chihuahua resists stepping into his harness in the first place, re-introduce the harness during a positive time, like when you are petting your dog or he is playing with a toy. This will help him associate the harness with things he enjoys.

Items you will need

  • Tape measure


  • Chihuahuas can be a nervous breed, so take care to comfort your dog while you attach the harness. He may not understand how to step into the harness at first, but do not become impatient -- that will only upset the dog more and can even teach him to fear the harness.

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About the Author

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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