Tricks training doesn’t have to be just be the training of things that you don’t really need your dog to know. Of course, training is very good for our dogs. Whether it’s tricks or basic obedience, manners training, because it helps us live with our dogs and move them through their lives successfully. It also gives them mental and physical enrichment and stimulation, so any training is great to do with your dog.
This trick that I’m going to show you now is a very practical trick, and it’s really useful for dogs that may actually not like having their collar, their coat, or their harness put on. When getting ready to walk your dog, many dogs aren’t comfortable with the dressing procedure. Since we have to do these things with our dogs multiple times a day for the duration of their life, we want to make sure that our dogs are comfortable with it.
One way that you would know that your dog didn’t enjoy having their collar or their harness put on would be an obvious one; they back away from you. You’re kind of going at them with their walking equipment. Rather than struggle with it in that way and upset your dog, we can train them to put it on.
I noticed with Bailey that as much as when we were ready to go for a walk, he would run up to me and really be excited to go out. When I approached him with the harness, he would just subtly turn his head away. That was a subtle indication that there was something about having a harness put on that he was uncomfortable with. I decided to train him to put it on or to cooperate in his own care. So first, to get him comfortable with it, I just presented the harness. It has a nice, big, wide opening, and I guided him through for his treat. So again, I just took a treat, presented him with the harness and guided his head through and gave him a treat. Then, I tried to get him to do that a little bit more on his own by presenting it and seeing if he could kind of negotiate his head through there a little bit more.
We’re going to try that again, so that he really had to do the work on getting that on. I hold it for him, but he’s the one who’s getting his head through it. It’s getting the head through things that sometimes dogs have a little bit of trouble with or you leaning over them. Once I felt he knew what to do, I had him sit and wait. This gets him kind of excited to do it. The cue is basically the presentation of the harness. At which point I would attach the harness and them reward him for it. I started with the harness because it had a nice wide opening and then moved to the collar doing the same thing with the collar, helping him with a treat to kind of drive him through because this actually does a little bit of a squeeze on his head, so I wanted to make sure he was comfortable with that. He has to really squeeze his head through.
Then putting him in a sit/stay gets him kind of excited to do it. The cue becomes the verbal word for the apparatus and the presentation of it itself. And of course, once they know this, the reward can be pets and love, which he loves, so I don’t need to use the food treats or, of course, now he’s ready to go for a walk.Getting ready to walk your dog can be easy and more enjoyable for you and your dog.