I’m a big fan of harneseseseses, put simply because providing they fit well and don’t constrict anywhere, they’re safer and more comfortable for our dogs. That should really be their only function – unless you’re participating in dog sports!
Any harness that claims to train your dog to stop pulling is either not going to work OR if it does work it’s doing something pretty nasty to your best friend – and in my book, best friends don’t hurt each other!
A harness shouldn’t replace good training, and training to walk your dog on lead is definitely one of the more long term training aspects as your pup grows.
That said, many clients complain about their pups not enjoying having their harness put on with pups hiding, fleeing, freezing or standing awkwardly whilst they’re being put on. So how can we help our dogs enjoy having their harness on? Here’s my top tips!
1. Don’t rush it!
If your pup is new to a harness, first thing you might not want to do is just ‘stick it on’. Remember your dog has probably never experienced wearing stuff before and we don’t want to chance them just “getting used to it” – it doesn’t always happen!
2. Build up to it!
Try luring your pup through the head loop of the harness or into the position you need and just take a nose through or a lift of the harness before feeding. This way we’re incrementally introducing the idea of wearing something to our pup.
3. Teach your pup to put their nose and head through other stuff first!
In puppy classes we teach optimism with novel objects by teaching them to offer the behaviour of popping their nose or even head into an object like a cone, a loop of fabric or a muzzle.
4. Don’t force it!
The more you force it on, the more they’ll hate it. Remember we want our pups to WANT to put their harness on. If at anytime we take away our dogs choice, there’s a good chance they’re going to feel uncomfortable again.
5. Don’t despair
Pups that already don’t like their harness can take a while, and we ask ourselves “But he/she love going for a walk!?!” – that doesn’t change it for every dog and time and choice will allow the change to take place.
If you’d like any advice or even a session on harness work with your dog or even if you’d like more info on The Perfect Fit Harnesseseseses I supply get in touch!