After learning about the incredible benefits of using a harness, how can you not consider getting one for your loyal canine friend? In all sincerity, a harness is a great tool to walk a dog, particularly one that likes pulling on a leash. Weight distributes evenly across a dog’s chest when using a harness, whereas a collar can inflict injury on the dog’s neck.
Harness training a dog can be daunting, especially if you start when your dog is older. But with these five easy steps, you should have an easy go of it.
Get ready for harness training
Before you begin your training, you need to get your materials ready. The two essential things you need are your harness and probably, some dog treats.
Why treats? Allow me to explain. Your dog would need some motivation, and treats could offer that.
It would help if you got the proper harness for your dog. Ensure it is not too tight or loose for the dog. If the harness is too tight on the dog, it would likely be uncomfortable. And that alone can irritate and cause your dog to lose interest in the whole harness training thing.
Note: You are going to require two traits for this journey. One is patience, and the other is self-control. Resist the temptation to yell or spank your dog, as doing so will only send the wrong message about the entire process. Just take things easy with your pup.
Furthermore, harness training a puppy or younger dog can be daunting since they have a short attention span. But that doesn’t mean you cannot achieve your desired aim. You can. In short, I recommend that dog owners should start harness training their dogs beginning from a tender age.
It would help if you focused on avoiding distractions at all costs, too. Otherwise, your dog will leave you frustrated and take more time to get used to the harness. So, choose a quiet place, one that isn’t crowded or has too many distractions. You can do this training indoors or in a separate room to help your dog concentrate better and adapt faster.
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Add the address and name tag to the harness
Well, having the address and name tag on the harness won’t impact the harness training process, but it could help prevent your dog from getting lost by mistake. So, I suggest you get this means of identification fixed before you begin your first training session with your pup.
Step 2: Introduce the harness to your dog
Your dog needs to get used to the harness. Don’t be in a rush to wear it on your dog. Your primary focus should be to introduce the dog to his new harness for the first few days. How should you go about this?
Keep the harness where the dog can see it. And remember to keep your dog’s toy and other items that could cause distractions far away from the room or space you are using for your harness training. Give your dog some more time to play and smell the harness.
You can even put the harness in your hand and let your dog playfully react to it or try to get it from you. Make your dog harness training funfilled, and you will see how quickly your dog will become acquainted with the tool. You should also not forget to use treats. Reward your dog for good behaves during each training session.
The treats you give to your dog can reinforce his connection with the harness and make everything go smooth. There is also no specific length of time for this particular step because each dog would react or make progress differently. You have to observe your dog for you to figure out if he has accepted the harness. If that’s the case, then move to the next step.
Step 3: Put the harness on your dog
Now is the time to put the harness on your pup. But first, you need to have some patience and be a little observant. Use the harness to touch the fur of your dog and note how he reacts to it. If the dog doesn’t respond negatively, that shows he will get along with the harness pretty well.
Put the harness on your dog through the front. It would help if you were also standing in front of the dog while doing so. But remember, if the dog tries to move back, it’s a sign of rejection. In this case, take the harness off, don’t try to force it on the dog. Give your puppy some time and try again until the harness is accepted. And once your dog finally does, ensure the harness is comfortable on the dog’s skin.
Note: Puppies may react by biting the harness once it is put on them. So, if you see that happening, try to discourage your dog from doing so. You can offer some treats to help take his mind off the harness.
Step 4: Attach the leash
Now is the time to attach the leash to the harness. Tap the point where the leash is attached to the harness to let the dog know something is supposed to be there. After a while, maybe a couple of days, you can now attach the leash to the harness and keep it loose.
After you hook the leash on, try to get the dog to walk up to you while wearing the harness. And whenever your doggie comes close to where you are standing, reward the dog by offering some treats. Then step back a little and let the dog move closer to you again. Repeat this action several times to help your dog get used to the harness.
Step 5: Explore the great outdoors
The next step should be to take your dog out for a walk with the harness on. However, it is best to keep the first few walking distances short and give your dog more time to get used to walking while wearing a harness.
Furthermore, whenever your dog is pulling on the leash, try to stand still. By doing this, you are showing dissatisfaction with such behavior and discouraging the dog from repeating it. Don’t try to jerk the leash or drag the dog along. That will also send a wrong signal.
Again, patience is critical when harness training a dog. It would help if you were observant and knew when to stop your training sessions.
Be patient with harness training
Harness training a dog might be a daunting task. But it is not something you cannot achieve. However, keep in mind that some dogs will resist wearing a harness for a while. It makes them feel caged and uncomfortable. Nevertheless, your dog needs to be assured that the harness he is about to wear is harmless. He also needs to associate wearing a leash with something good. However, if you seek ways to harness train your dog, consider the steps listed in this post to get it done.
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