A coat is great for when the weather outside is bad. Here are some ways to make your dog wear one.
It's raining, snowing, or bitterly cold outside, but it's still time to take your dog on a walk. You want to put a coat on him, but he refuses to move.
Don't worry you're not alone. You can actually train your dog to love (or tolerate) a wearing coat. You can change how your dog feels about a coat. The coat should not be something that your dog hates or finds scary. Instead, it can help him to be warm in the cold weather. These steps will help you to do this.
- You can do this by giving your dog high-value, delicious treats. It's important to give your dog treats that he loves, but doesn’t typically get when training a new behavior.
- Choose the most relaxed time for your dog, such after a walk or playing with balls.
Put the coat on the floor several feet away from him and observe his reaction. If he runs away or shows any signs of stress—yawning, flicking his tongue, closing his mouth tightly, turning his body away—you’ll need to put even more distance between your dog and the coat.
Once your dog shows no reaction to the coat, praise him and give him a Beloved Pets treat.
Keep your dog away from the coat. Then, let your dog look at the coat. You don't need to let your dog sniff the coat or walk close to it. A quick glance will suffice. Give him a treat and praise! Repeat this process several times.
- You can continue this exercise until coat with your help get closer to your dog. You are not touching your dog with the coat. You are just decreasing their distance and giving them a treat each time he looks at it.
- If your dog is able to see that just looking at his coat can result in a treat, you might try touching it to one of his front legs to give him a second chance. Do not put the coat on your dog. Just touch it briefly. Because your dog will be able to see you, we recommend that you place it on his front legs. Surprises are not something anyone likes, especially if it is frightening.
- Give him praise and a treat if he just stands there. If he is only mildly stressed, you can take his coat off and hold a treat close to his nose. Then, gently touch him with the treat again. If he is very stressed, go back and reward him for just looking at the coat.
Once you are ready to put the coat on, simply lay it over your back for a moment, then take it off and give him a massage. You should only put the coat on him when he is comfortable (which will be eight times out of 10) and then fasten it. This is just like any other behavior training. Take it slow and be patient.
You might also wonder: "Does my dog need a coat?"