Getting Your Dog to Wear a Coat or Sweater
Want to keep Rover warm during winter walks or on rainy afternoons AND have him looking fashionable to boot? Though some dogs don't mind donning doggie wear, not all will be happy to wear a jacket or sweater—no matter how cute he happens to look in it. If you live in a cold environment (and your dog is prone to get chilly quickly) and want the sweater-wearing to be a regular thing, accustom him to them as early as possible. Puppies might be more open to the experiment than teen or older doggies.
Tip # 1 - Let Rover smell the sweater first. The whole experience of wearing a sweater might be a bit intimidating at first, especially if you just try to force the thing on him. Instead, just let him smell it and touch it. No big deal? Place the sweater on his back or play around by wrapping it around his head. This will get him used to the feeling of the sweater so he doesn't freak out about the material itself touching him.
Tip # 2 - Give him a treat before you put the sweater away. Doggie will start associating sweater time with treat time. Some dogs actually don't mind the idea of playing dress-up, so you might be able to go ahead and put on the sweater right then and there. Others might need some convincing, so repeat this touch/treat process for a few days.
Tip # 3 - Try putting the sweater on Rover after a few days. If it's a sweater, you can try putting his head through and nothing else. Then take the sweater off after a few minutes. Having something around the neck is probably the weirdest part, so if you can get Rover used to that, you might be fine. Once that's OK, put his feet through one at a time. Going with a jacket? Try to fit it on all at once on your first try.
Don't choose a sweater that's too tight. It can be uncomfortable and even painful for Doggie to wear. You should at least be able to fit a couple of fingers between the collar and your dog's body, as well as between the sleeves/armpits and Rover's legs. Make sure the sweater does not cover Rover's privates so he can relieve himself easily with it on.
Never force an unwilling dog to wear clothing for an extended period of time if there is absolutely no reason for it other than to make him look "cute." A few minutes of wear for a photo op won't do any harm, but remove the apparel once those photos are snapped.
By Tammy Dray
About the Author
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.