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S/O Small dog that doesn't like harness


J-rap
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The new puppy thread has a lot of helpful information! ¬†We're a dog family, but currently don't have one. ¬†However, my (young adult) dd has one, and she gets to spend three nights/week with us due to circumstances. ¬†She has a one-year-old pup, who has by default become half mine. ¬†ūüôā¬† (Simply because he's over here so much.) ¬†Vets have guessed he is beagle-pug- and possibly chihuahua mix. ¬†He is far and away the happiest, friendliest dog I've ever known. ¬†He thinks every person and dog is his best friend. ¬†He lives in an apartment (whether with dd or us) in a big city, and is used to city noises and lots of people. ¬†He wags his tail constantly when he is walking and loves to greet everyone. ¬†Going outside to walk and meet people is the highlight of his day.

But, he hates harnesses.  My dd hasn't taught him to heel because the flex leash gives him an opportunity to run a bit in a big city and that seems to wear him out fine.  (He also goes to a dog park regularly.)  The only time we put a harness on him is when we take him out on a walk, his favorite times of day.  But even seeing the harness causes him to freak out and hide.  (It is literally the ONLY thing he reacts negatively to.  Otherwise he is very bold and mostly not bothered by things.)  We literally have to drag him out from under the bed to put the harness on him.  Once it's on him, he remains in a frozen position with his head down, clearly distraught by the fact that the harness is on him.  After we're outside walking him, he forgets about it and is happy and wags his tail constantly as he trots along and greets people.

His neck is tiny and we're uncomfortable using just a collar.   Of course we've tried to reward him with his favorite treat, cheese, as we're putting the harness on, but even that doesn't seem to make a difference.  He seems absolutely devastated every time we take out the harness and begin putting it on him.

One thing I've noticed is that his back area does seem to be sensitive.  Especially when he was younger, pre-trained, I noticed that anytime we'd pick him up by first placing our hands on his back, he seemed to freak out a little.  He doesn't seem to like the sensation of touch on his back.  He is high-energy and does seem very physically sensitive.

Any insight or advice?  (He's about 18 pounds.)

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

Have you tried different styles of harnesses?

We've tried about three different ones now, although all of them are similar, with fabric both on the back and on the chest.  They look really comfortable, but maybe something with less mass would be better....?

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1 hour ago, J-rap said:

We've tried about three different ones now, although all of them are similar, with fabric both on the back and on the chest.  They look really comfortable, but maybe something with less mass would be better....?

I'd try a simple step-in harness, something like this, and see how he reacts. I'd look for the lightest weight one I could find that I thought might work.

Or you could try a Martingale type collar, which is harder to slip out of than a buckle collar. But if he were mine, and walks were in a busy city environment . . .I'd feel better with him in a harness. But I prefer harnesses for almost all dogs and situations, so that may just be my bias there.

He's a cutie!

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Yes, try a totally different style of harness. And put treats on it, laying on the floor. Hold it in your hand and give him treats. Etc. Skip walks for a day or two, then try putting it on him and taking him?

Make sure it doesn't pinch under his armpits, some rub there. 

Or he may not like HOW you put it on, rather than actually the wearing of it. 

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9 minutes ago, Spy Car said:

I'm very anti-harness (unless one wants a dog to pull for exercise--aka a "roading harness).

I'd look into an appropriately size martingale collar as mentioned by Pawz above.

Bill

I'm not familiar with that type of collar, but will check it out.

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