How to Help Your Dog Wear Clothes & Feel Comfortable
By Canada Pooch on Jul 20, 2022
The notion of putting clothes on your dog might feel a little extra at the outset, but clothes can be very functional for pets. Even though they have fur coats, many dogs appreciate having additional protection from the elements.
Breeds like Greyhounds, Boxers, or Whippets that have notoriously thin coats or minimal body fat often need dog outerwear like raincoats or sweaters to help them stay comfortable during cold weather. In the summer, clothing can offer your dog protection from sunburn, and cooling garments can help them feel refreshed on hot days!
Clothes can also help prevent your dog from over-grooming if they're experiencing skin allergies and provide additional protection for wounds or sores. And dog boots and socks can be great for protecting your pup's paws from ice, salt, snow, hot pavement or rugged terrain!
Does putting clothes on a dog calm them down?
The sensation of wearing clothes may help calm dogs who are anxious or nervous. But, even though clothing offers many benefits for dogs, wearing a garment might feel a little unnatural at first. Here are some tips for getting your dog used to wearing clothes!
Finding the fit right is essential
Selecting clothing items that fit your dog correctly is key to getting your dog to wear clothes. Clothes should not restrict your dog's movement or obstruct their vision. If your dog can move freely and naturally, they will be much more receptive to wearing clothing!
At Canada Pooch, we pride ourselves on creating comfortable dog clothes that will fit dogs of every size and shape. We offer over 14 different sizes across different styles, and many of our clothes are easily adjustable to accommodate each individual pup.
To find your dog's fit, use a soft tape measure to take the following measurements:
The length of your dog's back from the neck (where the collar sits) to the base of the tale
Your dog's girth around the broadest part of their chest (right behind the front legs)
For paw-wear, have your dog place their paw flat on the floor. Measure the width of the paw and the distance from their toenails to the back of their leg at the widest part of the paw.
Once you have these numbers, you can use the size chart references to determine which size best fits your dog. If your dog falls between sizes, size up or down depending on how you want the garment to fit.
In order to make your dog comfortable, don't rush into putting clothes on your dog. Instead, allow your dog to inspect the garment before putting it on. Show your pup the item and let them sniff it for a moment before putting it on. Each dog will have their own inspection process, so be patient until your pup seems to have finished their investigation.
Praise your dog as you put the clothing item on
Depending on the garment's construction, it may not be possible to put it on in one swift movement. Use praise to calm your dog as you ease them into the garment. Some dogs are very indifferent to wearing clothing even if they've never done it before, while others are more resistant.
If your dog is highly resistant, it may take several different attempts before you can put the clothing item on. Wearing clothing shouldn't be a stressful experience, so if your pup resists a lot, call it a day and try again tomorrow. Using lots of praise and positive reinforcement (treats do the trick!) will quickly help your dog get used to wearing clothes.
Have your dog wear clothing for short intervals
In the same way, it may take a few tries before your dog adjusts to wearing a clothing item. You might find that your dog accepts the garment for a short time before attempting to chew on it or wriggle out of it.
Start by putting the clothes on your dog for a minute or two and slowly build up to longer intervals. Again, use praise and positive reinforcement to build a positive association with wearing clothes.
How to train dog to wear clothes
Using toys, treats, and praise while your dog is wearing clothes will help them feel more comfortable. Try to distract your dog by playing with their favorite toy while wearing the garment. Instead of focusing on the unfamiliar sensation of wearing a coat, your dog will fixate on playing a favorite game. This will help them realize that wearing clothes doesn't affect their ability to move around and engage in their favorite activities!
Do dogs get used to wearing clothes?
Teaching a dog to wear clothes is a process. Helping your dog adjust to wearing clothes could take several days or even weeks. Typically, younger dogs adapt more quickly, but every dog is different. Some dogs are uncomfortable with clothing items that must be placed over their heads. If this is true of your pup, look for styles that your dog can step into so that getting dressed is less stressful for them.
Remember that it may take several tries before you can get your dog to wear clothes. Always practice patience and use plenty of positive reinforcement throughout the entire process!