There are going to be plenty of things to teach your dog during your time together. Walking on a leash or harness is one of them. If you choose a harness over a collar, helping your dog get comfortable with it will be another part of training.
If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of harness training, take a look at the short guide below. We'll cover some tips on how to get your dog comfortable wearing a harness.
Choose The Right Harness
If you’re trying to get your dog comfortable with a harness, you need to have a harness that’s actually comfortable. Part of what makes harness training hard is the discomfort your dog feels wearing a low-quality harness. Your dog isn’t going to want to wear anything that itches or doesn’t fit right, so a comfortable harness is a must.
The harnesses available at Joyride Harness are made with comfort in mind. They come in a variety of sizes and they’ve got several adjustment points so that they fit perfectly every time. Joyride Harnesses are also designed to prevent pulling. The way they’re shaped keeps pressure off your dog’s neck.
Introduce Your Dog To The Harness
When trying to get a dog used to a harness, it’s best not to overwhelm your four-legged friend. Don’t rush the training by forcing your dog into the harness right away. Let him or her smell it, then put the harness on the floor and let the dog approach it. If the dog stays calm, try laying the harness over your dog’s back without fastening it.
When an animal has time to get used to a new item, he or she will be less likely to get scared when that item is on or near them.
Know HOW To Harness Your Dog
Fumbling with your dog’s harness the first time you put it on can cause him or her unneeded stress. Some harnesses are more complicated to put on than others, so try to work with a harness that’s easy to put on and take off.
Read the instructions that come with your dog’s harness. Practice putting it on and taking it off of a pillow, cushion, or stuffed animal. Once you know how to use the harness, you can try putting it on your dog.
Take it slow when you put the harness on your dog and try to treat the process like a game. Talk to your pet in a calm voice and act like putting the harness on is something fun.
Test The Harness Before a Walk
When you manage to put the harness on your dog, give him or her time to get used to wearing it. Reward the dog with a treat once the harness is on, then let the animal walk around your home wearing the harness.
Once the dog gets comfortable wearing the harness around the house, you can attach the leash. Try going for a short walk. Start walking your dog in the harness for a few minutes at a time. You can slowly add to your walk time if the dog is handling it well.
Remember to praise the dog when the walk is over and you take the harness off.
Reward Good Behavior
Dogs learn best when they’re rewarded for doing what’s asked of them. If you want your dog to behave when wearing a harness, reward him when he does what you ask. If your dog sits or stands still and lets you put the harness on, give him a treat. If your dog walks in the harness without pulling or howling, give him a treat. If your dog makes it easy for you to take off the harness, give him a treat.
Rewards and praise help train a dog to perform the tasks they’re asked to do. By working with your pet and praising their good work, harness training can become a lot easier. Before you know it, your dog will view wearing a harness as an invitation to have an adventure with you on their next walk.
A harness is ideal for several reasons. The light compression can help make your dog feel safe during walks. A harness makes it easier to control your pet during walks. Finally, if your dog tends to slip leashes or pull hard enough that he gags, a harness will end those problems.
Keep at it with your harness training. The time and effort that you put into training your dog will be worth it when they become fully harness-trained.
Sources: DogTrust, Rover, Pupford, American Kennel Club