HELP Please!! My dog hates collars/harnesses

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galasmom
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA

HELP Please!! My dog hates collars/harnesses

Post by galasmom » Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:07 pm

i have a 1 year old rat terrier. every time we go on a walk, i put a collar or harness on her. she fights me every time. first it takes a lot of coaxing to get her to come to me while i'm holding the harness/collar and even then i usually have to pull her in to me once she gets within reach. once i've gotten a hold of her i have to reach through the head hole of the harness, grab her muzzle and slide the harness over her head. i know this sounds like it is terrifying to my dog, but if I don't do it this way she WILL NOT let me put the harness or collar on her.

Then... once i've got the harness/collar on her, she does this really weird low crawl with her back end. She finally resumes normal standing/walking position when we get out to the sidewalk.

I'm not as concerned with the low-crawl as I am with the fighting to put the harness/collar on. Any suggestions?

I've even tried baiting her with a treat through the head hole... doesn't work. I've also tried treating her after a "good" episode of putting the harness on, which is extremely rare.

Please help!

ckranz
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Post by ckranz » Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:26 pm

With some dogs object (like collars, harnesses and such) can be frightening when slipped over their heads. How is she with handling her regular flat buckle collar?

Will she allow you to attach a leash to it?

If this is the case, or she generally runs around the house naked and is wary of object going over her head, pick up a small slip lead. They are much easier and faster to put on making them easier to acclimate to your dog. Reward heavily with the best treats you got. Make putting the slip lead on the greatest thing since sliced meat.

Once she relaxes with the slip lead on and do not give any type of leash correction. The lead is being used as a tool to assist in getting her head halter or walking collar/harness on.

One thing that will help to make food a bit more motivating. Don't feed her in the AM. By evening her own appetite will make food and treats much more appealing. Work with putting on the collars/attaching lead etc...for a bit of dinner.

If she has fear of hands being around her head and neck. Work on desensitizing that before working with collars. Start with chin rests...have her rest her head on one hand while giving treats with the other. As she becomes more comfortable work on touching her on her head and around the neck. Start with light quick touches and immediately treat. Work for longer touches.

This should help her be a little more comfortable and allow you to put on her harness. Using the slip lead may also help her relax enough to where you can put on her regular walking gear.

galasmom
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Post by galasmom » Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:06 am

Thank you for the leash idea. She doesn't have a problem with me putting on her flat buckle collar, nor does she have an issue with me petting her head or neck since I do that often. From the day i brought her home I wanted to make sure that she was desensitized in regards to touching her head.

When I've tried using treats, I've tried putting them through the hole, thinking that she'd reach for it and whoop! the harness is on! But instead she is very leery and will try to find some other way she can get the treat like getting it from behind the harness. Another reason I'm unsure about using treats is that we NEVER have a good episode with putting the harness on, so i don't want to reward her for freaking out. That will just instill in her that its okay to fight with me on the harness.

I'll try the leash thing but the ironic part about this whole situation is that we never go for walks unless she has the harness on. You'd think that she'd associate it with the excitement of going for a walk!

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:55 am

Can you get clasps put on the harness so you don't have to put it over her head. this should be quite a simple thing to do if there is enough webbing.
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

galasmom
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Post by galasmom » Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:48 pm

Thanks Mattie for the idea, but I'm trying to get her used to putting them on. I don't want her to go stay with a friend while I'm on a trip and have a fit trying to put the harness on. I want her to be excited about putting it on because that means we're going to go for a walk.

My parents' rat terrier just about jumps out of her skin with excitement when we grab the collar & leash. All you have to do is hold the collar open and she practically puts it on herself. I don't know why Gala has such an aversion to her harnesses.

ckranz
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Post by ckranz » Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:54 pm

What are you using for treats?

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:47 pm

galasmom wrote:Thanks Mattie for the idea, but I'm trying to get her used to putting them on. I don't want her to go stay with a friend while I'm on a trip and have a fit trying to put the harness on. I want her to be excited about putting it on because that means we're going to go for a walk.

My parents' rat terrier just about jumps out of her skin with excitement when we grab the collar & leash. All you have to do is hold the collar open and she practically puts it on herself. I don't know why Gala has such an aversion to her harnesses.

Little steps eventually lead to big strides, it is more important to start her off with the harness on and be relaxed first, then she will start to look forward to the harness going on because exciting things happen when it is on.

How do you think you get a horse to accept a bit in his mouth, a bridle, saddle or person on, by taking little steps and do it gradually. If you try and tackle it as one job, you won't succeed especially as you are grabbing her nose to do it. Her nose is very sensitive and this will make putting the harness on a lot worse for her and help towards her hating it.
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

Meiranda
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Post by Meiranda » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:37 pm

My 18 mth old Wheaten/Schnauzer was darn near ferral when we rescued him from a barn based puppy mill. Full reign 12 acres, no basic training, no leash. Because he's a Terrier and full on fear/anxiety he ran from people and twisted out of even the most complex of collars. He would bite and twist but never growl or bark or whine. I had to break him on the leash by looping the lead around his neck and let him do all the pulling and wear himself out. It took him an hour to learn to walk on a leash. Knowing how he was about collars, I thought a harness would be more secure. He fought like heck when I put it on him, but eventually I got it on. Then I just left it on. I would clip the leash on it every day and took him for a walk. After about 3 weeks, I took it off and clip the lead to it. I would show him the leash which meant walk and he would lay down and I put the harrness on. Now six months later I say "Go for a walk" show him the leash and he goes to the door and sits. No Problems. So leave the harness on her let her get used to wearing it. You really have to break her like a horse almost. Now she may whine and thrash and growl. And being a small dog, she may even hide under the bed, shake, and give you the low head with puppy eyes. Just remember, if the harness is not tight on her, it's not hurting her. She is throwing every trick she knows at you to take it off. Be strong and I hope this helps.[/b]
"A dog doesn't care if your rich or poor, give him your heart, he'll give you his."-Marley and Me

maximoo
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Post by maximoo » Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:29 am

Is there a reason dog has to have a harness? Seems as if its more trouble than its worth. Can't he just walk with his flat collar? Maybe that particular harness is uncomfortable in some way?
If he is a bad walker on a flat collar then you heave to do heel/loose leash training.

joji732
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different style of harness

Post by joji732 » Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:19 am

Rusty uses a comfort wrap harness that doesn't have to slip over his head. His feet go through the holes, and then the harness clasps at the back. This might work if the issue is strictly with going over the head.

pmcrae71
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Post by pmcrae71 » Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:38 pm

maximoo wrote:Is there a reason dog has to have a harness? Seems as if its more trouble than its worth. Can't he just walk with his flat collar? Maybe that particular harness is uncomfortable in some way?
If he is a bad walker on a flat collar then you heave to do heel/loose leash training.
I would have to say yes. Connor is a small dog and he really likes to pull hard to the point he is chocking himself on the flat collar and if I try to correct him by turning around to go the other way, he can pull his hesd right out of the flat collar and off he goes through the neighborhood. I bought an anti-pull harness from walmart and he loves it (so do I) as soon as he sees it he knows we're off on an adventure.

He didn't like it at first, I would sit on the floor (with a bag of chicken) and just hold it in my lap, if he came up and sniffed it, he got a treat. Then I started to hold it in my hand and he's come up and sniff at it and he'd get a treat, after about two hours, I was able to slip it on (once I figured out how it went) and he's been great with it ever since. He gets so excited that he jumps up and gave my daughter a fat lip so when we get up in the morning it goes on and stays on until bed time. He has no problem with it at all, try getting a new harness, one she hasn't seen before then she maybe curious about it and you can try what we did with Connor. Hope it works as well for you as it did for us...

MaiasMom
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Post by MaiasMom » Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:38 pm

Victoria did a show on this sort of thing, the dog would just go crazy when the owner tried to put on the leash. Like you the owner tried everything. What Victoria did was hide the leash behind her back, approched the dog from behind a did a quick hook up. You might try just using a collar and this method. It might be the dog just hates anything coming over it's head, lots of dogs don't like it, that is why when people want to pet my posse I tell them Not on the head, come under the chin.

If it were me, I would do the collar and leash thing and then get a really excited tone in your voice of "lets go for a walk" and then go right outside so the dog gets it that this is a fun thing to do.
The best days are spent with my dogs.

MaiasMom
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Post by MaiasMom » Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:40 pm

PS, I had a horse that was so head shy that we had to blind fold him to get a halter on him. Man what a pain that was, if he saw you coming with any head gear in your hands off he would go and it took you forever to get your hands on him.
The best days are spent with my dogs.

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Cheetah
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Post by Cheetah » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:08 pm

pmcrae71 wrote:I would have to say yes. Connor is a small dog and he really likes to pull hard to the point he is chocking himself on the flat collar and if I try to correct him by turning around to go the other way, he can pull his hesd right out of the flat collar and off he goes through the neighborhood.
Have you tried a flat cloth martingale collar? See link below:
http://www.collargirl.com/how_martingale_work.htm

And they make martingale collars with quick-release buckles now:
http://www.collargirl.com/jac_bmart.html

Just a thought. Good luck! >^_^<
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