Do you believe that dogs naturally adapt to sweaters? For many dogs that I know and love, the answer is a definitive “no!” Our dogs are like a lot of babies. Sometimes they don’t enjoy the snug feeling of clothing on their skin. I’m sure you’ve seen human babies chortle with glee as soon as you undress them, right? Well, our doggies might not chortle when they are naked, but they might actually have a bit of that “hangdog” look when you first put a sweater on them! My boy Nacho falls over on his side and refuses to move when I try to put a sweater on him.  Could it be that they are embarrassed? I seriously doubt it, but it takes them a little time to get accustomed to having an item of clothing on their little body.

How to introduce a sweater to your dog for the best possible experience:

Much in the same fashion as you have to housetrain your pup and teach them their manners, how to get used to a collar or leash, or other commands and behaviors that you want from them, if your dog seems uncomfortable in a garment, it would be beneficial to them for you to also train them to accept wearing a sweater or other article of clothing.  This can be accomplished in a couple of fun lessons with treats aplenty to make it a great experience.  First, choose only materials or fibers that will be comfortable for your dog. We as humans do not enjoy rough or scratchy items on our skin, and neither does your fuzzbutt. Here are a few tips to make the entire clothing experience a fun and rewarding one for both you and Fido or Fifi:

  • Choose yarns and materials that are soft, yet strong and long lasting. Look for materials that will keep your dog warm in the chilly weather as well.
  • Make sure the garment fits snuggly and that it’s not too tight. A garment that is too loose could snag on objects, and potentially harm your dog.
  • Make sure the sweater doesn’t restrict your dog’s ability to move.
  • Let the dog become familiar with the garment before you attempt to put it on him/her. You can even rub or massage them with the garment so that it begins to take on your scent, your home’s scent and his or her own scent before you put it on.
  • Give your pooch time to get used to the garment. Put it on for a few minutes at a time, rewarding with a tidbit or treat each time it’s successfully accepted, and work towards longer periods of time after they’ve grown accustomed to the scent and feeling of the sweater.  The treats will help to associate clothing with a positive experience in your dog’s mind.
  • Once your dog is wearing the sweater without a fuss, keep them busy for a few minutes by playing with them or petting them so they aren’t preoccupied by the new sensation of wearing clothing.
  • Please supervise your pet while they are wearing the sweater until they are accustomed to it.
  • Make this new experience as wonderful as possible, and you’ll soon find that your little one is surfing the web and using your credit card to add to their wardrobe when you are not looking!
  • Above all – do your utmost to enjoy the experience and the additional bonding time with your little one!