Your dog should not consider clothes a form of punishment, and hang his head while he walks unsurely with the expensive coat you purchased to shield him from the cold. Dressing up your small dog should be fun for your pet and you. If you introduce your small dog slowly to the idea of wearing clothes and praise him a lot, you and your small dog will both have fun.
Here are three important steps to make clothes wearing enjoyable for your small dog:
- Step 1. Initially get your dog used to your putting something on his back. Put the coat, t-shirt, or sweater on your dog’s back. Pat him through the coat. Give him lots of praise and stay positive. After a few times, your dog should look forward to this, and then you can advance to the next step. The object is to make your dog feel this is a special privilege and something that makes him more elevated in your eyes.
- Step 2. After your dog is used to having the item on his back, slip the shirt over his head, or fasten the straps if it does not go on like a shirt, inserting your dog’s legs through any arms. Praise your small dog. Keep this short, only dressing him once. Then take off the clothing. Give lots of praise.
- Step 3. Once your small dog is used to your dressing him, you are ready to go for a walk with your dog in his clothes. Converse with your dog in an upbeat voice and give him praise at all times. At first, you may want to walk a brief distance, like 20 or 30 feet. When your dog accepts walking that distance without minding the clothing, you can go further. If you make wearing clothes seem a game, your small dog will look forward to it.
As with most dogs, you will find your pet is initially self-conscious about walking around in clothes and boots when taken outdoors, until the moment your dog comes across a riveting scent or exciting subject such as a cat, which takes its mind off of the clothes. This initial awkward time will happen repeatedly until your small dog gets used to walking around with dog clothing, understanding the clothing does not prevent him in any way from his normal examination of his surroundings.