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Training Your Dog to Wear a Jacket: Tips and Tricks

By Canada Pooch on Dec 11, 2023


Getting your dog comfortable wearing a jacket or sweater is an important part of preparing them for colder weather. Not only does a properly fitting jacket keep your pup warm and cozy, but it also allows you to safely take them on winter adventures. However, some dogs may resist wearing anything new or strange feeling at first. With positive training methods and patience, you can teach your pup to happily sport their stylish outerwear. 

Why Training Matters When Getting Your Dog to Wear a Jacket 

Taking the time to properly train your dog to accept and wear a coat or sweater makes a big difference in their comfort and happiness. Rushing the process or forcing clothing onto an uncomfortable dog often increases anxiety or negative associations. 

When you patiently work with your pup, they learn that their jacket is not scary and provides warmth and security. This allows you to equip them with outerwear that will protect them from the elements when you head out into the cold together. Proper training also reduces the chances of your dog trying to quickly wriggle out of their garment once it's on. 

Overall, jacket training is about setting your dog up for success on your adventures together. A dog that is at ease in their gear will be much happier and safer during all your winter fun. 

Common Challenges with Training a Dog to Wear a Jacket 

Getting a jacket onto a squirmy, reluctant dog can be frustrating. Here are some of the common challenges dog owners face during jacket training: 

  • Discomfort or restriction of movement - Dogs aren't used to having clothing on and may resist anything unfamiliar that seems constricting. Getting the right fitting jacket helps. 
  • Fear - Some dogs may be timid or scared of how jackets look, feel, or sound. Patience and threats help overcome this. 
  • Wriggling out of the jacket - Even if you get it on, some dogs will try to immediately wiggle, squirm, or bite their way out of it. Loosening straps may help. 
  • Breed challenges - Breed traits can make jacket training extra difficult. Short-legged breeds may have more movement restrictions. Long-haired dogs may resist adding bulk. Working breeds may be too energetic or independent. 
  • Chewing or clawing at the jacket - Some dogs try to destroy the offensive garment once you succeed in putting it on. Monitoring them closely helps curb this. 
  • Preference - Some dogs just seem to hate having anything on their back and will protest or try to remove it. For these pups, very gradual training is key. 

Having a plan to overcome these common challenges will help make jacket training much smoother. 

Tips and Tricks for Jacket Training 

With some preparation and training techniques, you can teach your pupnto happily wear their outerwear in no time. Here are some top tips: 

  • Choose the right jacket - Get a properly fitted coat that allows free movement. Look for adjustable straps, a soft lining, and easy on/off access. Reflective materials help with visibility. 
  • Introduce slowly - At first, just show your dog the jacket and let them sniff it. Give treats for any interest or calm behavior near it. 
  • Try the sleeve first - Slide a jacket sleeve up their leg or chest at first so they get used to the feel. Reward them for leaving it on. 
  • Take it in steps - Put one paw through an armhole, treat it, then take it off. Do the other paw. Then both. Then, secure the stomach strap for just a second before removing it again. Build up. 
  • Get them moving - Once they tolerate wearing the open jacket during training, have them walk around with it. This gets them used to moving with something on their back. 
  • Give lots of praise and treats - Anytime your pup allows you to manipulate or put on their jacket, reward them heavily with treats, pets, and verbal praise. This creates positive associations. 
  • Be patient - Some dogs may need you to back up steps and reintroduce the jacket slowly again. Never force it or scold them if they resist. Just go back to an earlier successful point and rebuild confidence. 

With consistent, positive training sessions, your dog will come to understand that their jacket means yummy treats, fun walks, and cozy warmth. Soon, they’ll gladly run to get suited up! 

Other Types of Winter Dog Clothes and Outdoor Gear 

Once your dog is comfortable wearing a jacket, you can introduce other useful winter clothes, outerwear, and accessories, too: 

  • Weatherproof boots - Protect paws from salt, snow, heat, and rough terrain. Introduce slowly like the jacket. 
  • Winter sweaters - Choose a snug sweater for extra warmth and wind resistance if the jacket is thin. 
  • Dog coats with reflectors - Help your pup be seen on winter walks near roads. Look for reflective stripes or patterns. The True North Parka at Canada Pooch comes in a reflective colourway for safety on nighttime walks! 
  • Dog life jackets - Essential for boat safety. Make sure they fit properly and won't slip off. Check out the Wave Ride Life Jacket at Canada Pooch.

Take training slowly, stay positive, and soon, your pup will have a whole wardrobe of adventure gear! 

The Importance of Making Sure Their Gear Fits Properly 

An improperly fitted jacket or piece of dog gear can lead to discomfort, restriction of movement, and even injury. Follow these tips for proper fit: 

  • Measure your dog's dimensions and buy accordingly. Don't guess the size. Reference our size guides to find the right fit for your pup.
  • The neck hole of a jacket should easily slip on without catching on ears or eyes. 
  • Your dog should have a full range of motion while wearing the jacket. 
  • Straps should be snug but allow two fingers between the strap and the dog. 
  • Nothing should pinch or rub the armpits, neck, or groin. 

Check the fit during your at-home training sessions. Remove, adjust, or size up anything restricting movement or causing discomfort. Proper gear makes for a happy, healthy dog ready to play in the snow! 

Helping your dog learn to love wearing their jacket takes patience and positive reinforcement, but it's an essential process to prepare them for colder weather. The right approach sets them up to enjoy all your winter adventures together. Remember to break training into small steps, give lots of praise and treats, get the perfect fitting coat, and introduce other gear slowly. Your pup will be ready to strut around in their new outdoor looks in no time! 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I measure my dog for a jacket? 

Use a soft measuring tape to measure the length from the base of the neck to the base of the tail. Measure around the widest part of their chest behind the front legs.

What type of coat is best for dogs? 

Look for water-resistant, breathable materials like polyester or nylon shells. Insulated jackets will keep them warmer. Reflective accents are ideal for visibility. Make sure it allows full range of motion and covers their underside. 

How do I train my dog to wear boots? 

Use the same gradual positive training as with a jacket. Let them get used to boots near them, then touching paws. Slip-on slowly, treat, then remove. Build up time worn in small sessions. Give lots of praise. Make sure they fit well. Soon, they'll associate boots with fun! 

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