• How to put a coat and a harness on a puppy with cooperation - no struggling!

    967 views 1 year ago
    Puppies are programmed to chew, nip and mouth anything that is in their space, including human flesh. It is rarely "aggressive," but rather a part of their development. Knowing and respecting this, I give puppies something to do with their mouths when I need to put a collar, harness or coat on them - or for any handling. I want that mouth to be busy in an appropriate way until other skills have been incorporated into their repertoire.

    Puppies don't always "grow out of" mouthiness, so we need to start early with prevention of undesirable behaviors. Teddy, the sweet 9 week old goldendoodle puppy in this video, was causing his owner much stress as it has been a real struggle to handle him.

    Some tips:

    Choose the right gear. Step-in harnesses are very difficult to put on puppies. The harness Teddy wears is a ComfortFlex and is probably the easiest harness to put on and take off a dog. It is not an anti-pull harness, however, but is an excellent choice.

    Have something really yummy for your puppy to work on. Here I have a stuffed frozen Kong and a squeeze tube filled with canned dog food.

    When I need both hands, I put the tube or Kong under my foot so Teddy can continue to busy his mouth and stay in one place while I finish doing what I need to do.

    Invite your puppy to put his head through the harness opening instead of pushing it into his space. He can learn to dress himself!

    You must keep your puppy's mouth busy the entire time you are handling him! A few treats won't suffice. Later, after he's had some experience, you can start to feed periodically. Remember, a puppy WILL mouth something - it's up to the human to set him up to mouth something appropriate.

    Flip the coat or harness upside down until it's over your puppy's head, then rotate it right side up once it's past his neckline. This keeps most of the movement down low and your puppy is less likely to thrash around. In fact, try to avoid reaching over your puppy's head; it's more pleasant for them if you reach under their necks when you fasten their collars.

    Handling a young puppy can be a cooperative affair!



    This is what will happen if you don't take the right steps. What is this puppy learning?

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