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How to Train Your Dog to Wear a Coat

Most locations in Canada get pretty cold during the winter months, and many spots in Canada stay pretty cool in the spring and autumn months as well.  If you live at elevation, you may even have cool evenings and nights during summer.  One thing which can make life in Canada more comfortable and pleasant for your dog is a dog coat, sweater or jacket.  These are great for taking your dog on walks when it’s chilly outside and the wind is blowing.  Waterproof dog coats or snowsuits can also provide additional warmth and comfort when it is raining or snowing outside.  But how do you actually get your dog to wear a coat?  Here are our recommended steps.

1.    Firstly, make sure you actually get dog clothes that fit your pet.  A dog coat size chart can help you out here.  Measure the circumference of your dog’s chest and neck as well as the length starting at his neck to the base of his tail and you will be able to choose the proper size from the sizing chart.  If the dog coat isn’t comfortable, your dog isn’t going to want to wear it.

2.    Don’t expect your dog to immediately warm to the idea of the coat or sweater.  Begin by showing him the garment and giving him treats so that he associates the sight of the sweater or coat with positive reinforcement.  Do this a couple of times a day for several days so he can get used to the new item.

3.    Next you want to introduce your dog to the feeling of the material and get him comfortable with touching the dog coat.  Rub the new garment along your dog’s body but don’t try to put it on him.  Give your dog a treat and praise him while you do this.  Do this several times a day for the next few days, and try to extend the time you touch your dog with the coat each time.

4.    Now you’re ready to actually try to put the coat on your dog.  Reassure your pooch by talking to him as you put on the dog sweater.  Once the coat is completely on your dog, you can give him a treat.  Wait a few seconds, then take off the dog coat again.  Try this several more times and see if you can get as high as thirty seconds on the first day.  If your dog thrashes around or falls over, make sure the garment is not too tight.  If it isn’t, wait for him to behave.  Don’t feed him treats while he is misbehaving, only while he is behaving in a calm manner.  

5.    Repeat the steps above each day for several days, gradually increasing the amount of time your dog spends inside the coat before you remove it again.  Try to get your dog to wear the coat for a few minutes the next day, and longer the day after that.  

6.    Before you leave the dog coat on your pooch for a long time, make sure that it is fitting properly by checking how tight it is across the chest and at the neck and armpits.  Use the two fingers rule:  if you can fit two fingers between the garment and your dog’s body, the garment is fitting properly.  More than that and it is too loose; less than that and it is too tight.

As with any other dog training routine, it takes some time and patience to persuade your dog to wear a coat or sweater, but it can be well worth while to keep your dog warm and dry.  Waterproof dog coats in particular offer you as much convenience as your dog.  Your dog gets to stay more comfortable when you go on walks, and you don’t have to worry about your dog dripping water all over your house when you get back.

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