I bought a coat for Zoey today.
It’s not that she needs one because she ever gets cold on walks – she doesn’t. And from the more experienced dog owners I’ve asked, she’d never really need a coat for winter in the UK as she’s young, never acts cold, and never stands still on a walk haha! 🙂
But I want to prepare for her as she gets older, or if she does start to feel the cold, I want to be ready.
Putting a coat on Zoey is a BIG DEAL. I can’t stress quite how sensitive Zoey is to having things put onto her, or touch her body, or restrict her movement. To give you some idea of how touchy she is, when we put a collar on her for the first time as a puppy she completely shut down, and wouldn’t move at all. And of course there’s the whole putting her harness on thing!
So it’s gonna take a lot of training until she feels comfortable wearing a coat.
This is the coat we bought. It’s not a very warm coat, but we’ll buy that later. I wanted a lightweight coat that wouldn’t feel too heavy on her to start with.
It’s so flipping cute! 🙂
So my training plan was thus:
- Start with holding the coat and click / treating her for looking at it and being calm
- Progress to c/t her for touching and sniffing the coat
- Ask her to touch the coat; c/t
- Move the coat towards her and c/t
- Touch her side with the coat and c/t, repeat a lot!
- Hold coat to her for a few seconds and c/t : repeat!
- Slide coat along her back; c/t
- Ask my partner for help and try lay the coat along her back with all straps open whilst she is continuously being fed treats
- Leave coat on her for longer and longer periods of time
- Same as above but feed treats less frequently
- Try to fasten straps
I thought I had it all worked out and was expecting the entire process to take about a month…until I tried the first training session…and Zoey was obsessed with biting and ragging the coat as she didn’t know what it was!! XD
So we did some work with her being calm around the coat, and me moving it towards her without her lunging at it haha! I’ll keep you updated on our progress 😉
And, seeing as I found it the other day, here is Zoey’s baby coat! She never got to wear it (!) as we quickly realised how much she hated wearing anything, but it was cute to find nonetheless 🙂