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Loves walks, hates harness?

"My dog loves going for walks but whenever I pick up his harness he runs away". Sound familiar? Harnesses are now very popular for walking dogs and they're great for a number of different reasons; they use less pressure on the dog's neck, they're often more comfortable than being walked on a collar and they can be useful for training. So why am I seeing so many dogs at the moment who wriggle, protest or run away on the sight of their harnesses, surely the dogs must know that means they're going for a walk? The fact is that many dogs have had harnesses put on them without any form of choice or reward - the dog wasn't given the option to wear the harness, it was just put on them. Furthermore, most harnesses require physical manipulation of the dog and are taken off and on again while owners figure out how they work and how to resize them. Once you take these things into considerations, it's no wonder some dogs aren't keen!

There are seemingly endless varieties of harness, some go over the head, some are step-in, others are more complicated and have multiple bits to clip onto, some claim to stop your dog pulling (they usually don't!), some tighten and some just look nice.

Our favourite is the Perfect Fit harness as it can be fully clipped on without the dog having to put his head or legs through, plus it's super comfortable and has a handy chest ring. 

The good news is that dogs can easily be taught to remain relaxed while their harness is put on - or even better, they can be taught to willingly participate in the process. This can be done by sitting with your dog's harness and plenty of tasty treats, waiting for him to come to you and allowing him to CHOOSE to put the harness on by putting his own head through (not you putting it over his head) or stepping in using a treat lure or simply rewarding him for standing whilst still giving him the option of moving away should he wish. Allow yourself a few minutes before a walk to take the time to positively association your dog to his harness and you'll have a happier pooch in no time. 


For more help in training your dog to love his harness, muzzle or for any other training please contact us.

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