Walking your fur baby outdoors is a memory keeper as it is more than giving your dog potty breaks.
Walking your dog provides benefits including but not limited to mental and physical exercise to both of you and, at the same time, allows your bond to grow.
However, going outdoors with your dog brings challenges as it is not always easy to control your dog’s activity through hand signals and commands, bringing a harness into the picture.
Why is a harness important, and how will you be able to train your dog to wear one effectively?
Why Use a Harness for Your Dog?
Dog harnesses are the most secure, safe, and comfortable way to leash your dog. How come, you ask? Well, here are some reasons why you should use a harness for your dog.
1. Helps Control Strong-Willed Dogs
Walking your fur baby outdoors may be an opportunity to discover new things such as a route, a place, another person, or pet and may also be a chance to socialize.
However, the outdoors are just really full of endless possibilities, aren’t they? It will always be filled with exciting stimulants that may trigger your dog to be strong-willed and run around.
The harness will allow you to control your dog if he responds to these stimulants.
As harnesses put equal pressure on your dog’s back and half body, this would help control and manage your dog more, especially in crowded places.
2. Helps Puppy Training
Harnesses are excellent equipment for training puppies who haven’t learned to walk with a leash yet.
Moreover, the harness will prevent little and vulnerable puppies from injuries from getting tangled in the leash and stress on the neck.
3. Safety from Neck Strains and Escapes
Unlike harnesses, collars directly put pressure on the neck of your dog. This would be painful and may cause injury to the trachea, esophagus, and spinal cord, especially if you pull back.
On the other hand, the harness puts equal pressure on your dog’s back and body, therefore, preventing discomfort.
At the same time, harnesses provide more security and safety from escaping since harnesses cover almost half of your dog’s body. This prevents your dog from accidents along the roadside.
4. Safety for You
Since having your dog on a collar provides less control, it is not inevitable for your dog to tangle the leash around you, your body, your legs, and even your arms.
A supposed memorable and fun walk with your dog may just turn into a memorable casualty that may hurt not just you but your fur baby as well. This may be prevented by using a harness instead.
Ways to Effectively Train Your Dog to Wear a Harness
We’ve talked about the importance and benefits of using a harness for your fur baby! However, how will we effectively train them to wear one?
1. Allow Your Dog to Get Used to Touch
Wearing a harness can be too overwhelming for your dog. Don’t rush the process and take things one step at a time.
Most dogs showing discomfort in wearing a harness will be biting or scratching off the harness. These dogs are usually touch-sensitive, as they are not usually touched or pet in these areas.
What you have to do is to help your dog get used to the feeling of touch, especially to the areas where the harness will be on.
Pet these areas often when you play or when he does something good. Being generous to treats alongside training your dog will always be a good idea as well.
Ensure that you are not rushing, as some dogs take weeks to feel at ease. Constantly doing this will enable your fur baby to be comfortable in physical contact, and soon enough, the feel of the harness won’t bother them at all.
2. Get the Best Harness Fit for your Dog
As a fur parent, you always want to provide what’s best for your fur baby. Explore the variety of harnesses that will fit the size and breed of your dog.
Know the advantages and disadvantages of each and make sure that it will bring comfort. Also, try to research the material that you feel would be safe and comfortable for your dog.
If you’re quite unsure, consulting your vet may also be of great help.
Remember that an ill-fitting harness will not just bring discomfort and injury to your dog, but it may also make training ineffective and difficult.
3. Allow your Dog to be Familiarized with the Harness
As your dog gets used to the touchy feeling of the harness, it is essential to also put into attention his feelings towards it. This is a way for your dog to start accepting that the harness isn’t harmless at all.
Before putting on the harness, try to allow the dog to interact with it by letting him smell or keeping the harness within sight so your dog can observe it for a while.
Bringing the harness closer with treats on it may also help your dog feel encouraged. Giving compliments when your dog interacts with the harness will make him feel more comfortable with its presence.
4. Put on the Harness!
Ensuring that your fur baby becomes used to the feeling of the harness and being comfortable with the presence of the harness itself, you can finally wear it on him.
It is best to take things one step at a time. Some dogs may still feel uncomfortable once the harness is on.
To do this, gently fasten the straps of the harness first and observe your fur baby.
If your dog would start showing signs of discomfort such as biting and scratching off the harness, don’t push through and better take off to prevent further stress.
Keeping your dog distracted with treats and keeping him relaxed through praises and petting would also help.
Don’t be dismayed when your dog shows signs of discomfort. This is a crucial step of training, and it may take a short while to achieve. Your patience and understanding are highly needed, and you’ll surely get through this with your dog too!
5. Don’t Rush Outside
Once your fur baby is finally used to wearing the harness, allow him to wear it inside your home first and never rush to go on a walk outdoors.
Some dogs may feel uncomfortable as they go outside with all the things happening and excitement going. This may be very evident to timid dog breeds such as Maltese, Great Dane, Greyhound, and many more.
Allow your dog to move around the house with the harness on many times to ensure that he’ll be comfortable with it outside.
Once you find that your dog is relaxed, attach a leash and let them move around with it dangling. Again, step by step.
Finally, if your dog goes unbothered and is very familiar with the harness and leash on him, it would be a treat to walk him outdoors.
Training your fur baby for a harness may be taxing. But then again, who wouldn’t want what’s best for their babies?
May the listed importance and benefits of a harness convince you to have one. And may the ways of effectively training your dog for a harness serve as a guide into a secured and safe walk outdoors.