How to get your dog used to wearing a coat

Train your dog to wear a coat in a positive way and they will enjoy wearing one for winters to come.

Adult greyhound, outside, on lead, on a walk, with member of dogs trust staff

Keeping your dog warm is essential in the winter months. Some dogs might need to wear a coat to help keep them cosy, especially if they’ve got short hair.  

Dogs can sometimes find it challenging to have clothing, harnesses or other items placed over their heads or around their bodies. If your dog has never worn a coat before, it’s important to introduce it carefully.

You’ll need lots of your dog’s favourite treats and, of course, their new coat.

How to get your dog used to wearing a coat

Leave it on the ground

Before you try and put the coat on your dog, lay it on the ground and put a few tasty treats on it so your dog can sniff and investigate it. Give them praise and encouragement whenever they show interest in the coat.  

Start with just their head

Once your dog is familiar with the coat, lift it and feed your dog a treat through the opening. Gradually move your hand a little further back to encourage your dog to move their nose and mouth through the opening to get their treats.

Move onto their body

Once your dog is comfortable with putting their head through the coat, you can place it on their body, continuing to give them treats and lots of encouragement. 

If your dog is uncomfortable or retreats from the coat, remove it and feed them anyway.  

Let them wear it

Once your dog is comfortable having the coat put on, they'll need to learn to get used to the feel of it and how it affects their natural movement. Scatter feeding and letting them just move around to find the treats on the ground can help to distract and reward them. If …

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