Winter has come… and that means bundling up for both you and your pup. You’re dressed and ready to go out the door for a walk, but pouring sweat from doing battle with your pup over her coat and booties! Putting them on doesn’t have to be so stressful—follow these tips from our go-to trainer Rachel C. Maso of Brooklyn Dogtime to turn your pup into a winter gear warrior.
Make sure it fits
Is there any pressure on your pup’s neck, belly, or legs? An ill-fitting coat will hinder your dog’s ability to move with a normal gate (and make them unhappy to put it on.) Make sure there’s room to breathe! Dogs hate having things put over their heads, so coats with Velcro closures are fast to put on and take off.
Play a game
If at first sight of the coat your dog runs under the table, it’s time to turn dressing up into a game. At non-walk times, show your dog the coat at a distance and then throw her a treat. Repeat this process over and over until your pup stands with a loose and wagging tail whenever she sees the coat. Before long, she’ll be excited to put it on.
Cheat a little
Drop extra special treats on the ground in front of your pup while you put the coat on to keep her distracted. She’ll be so happy munching away she won’t even know she’s all bundled up!
Pick the right ones
Choose booties that fit your pup and her activity level: If you’re walking the slushy streets of New York City then light disposable rubber booties like these are great. Trekking through snow in Vermont? Go for durable cloth booties like these. All booties put pressure on your dog’s ankles, but the right size will make them more comfortable: Measure the width of your dog’s paws to figure out which size is best!
Try a foot massage
Start by touching your dog’s feet in a relaxing environment—like while you’re snuggling and binging on Netflix. Squeeze her ankle a little, give her a treat, lift her leg up, give her a treat, put your fingers between her toes, give her a treat, gently pat her paw with a bootie, give her a treat. Repeat this process over and over until your pup is relaxed while you slip the bootie over her foot.
Line the bottom of your dog’s bowl with a little bit of peanut butter, cream cheese, or something else delicious (like a little Ollie!) While your pup is busy snacking, slip those booties over her feet and she’ll barely notice they’re on.