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I've been using the Freedom harness to walk Cleo, and I think it works very well; she doesn't pull nearly as much anymore (unless: squirrels). She likes our walks, but she avoids me when I am ready to put it on her. I have always thought it's because i have to put it over her head first. Once it's over her head, she stands still for it to be buckled (it buckles around her belly). Here it is: https://freedomnopullharness.com/reflective-red-freedom-no-pull-harness.html

When I was away briefly for the holiday, the dogsitter loosened the part around her belly on the assumption that Cleo was hesitant because it was too tight. I don't think it's too tight, and she hesitates regardless. I have to kind of corrall her to put it over her head. It doesn't appear to be rubbing anywhere, and again, she's fine on our walks--she doesn't stop to bite at it or anything.

Any thoughts on this? I used to give her treats when putting on a harness, but i stopped doing that a long time ago. Maybe i should do that again?
 

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Misha avoids me if he knows I'm trying to put on a harness. To him it is just a game. Any reason I want him is an opportunity to make me catch him. He doesn't actually mind the harness at all. He is just a little goofball. But he has been getting a lot better about it as he ages. He doesn't avoid the collar at all anymore and the harness usually isn't a problem.
 

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Lots of dogs don't like having things that go over their heads put on them. I would retrain putting it on with some treats and connect up that harness on means a fun adventure if she accepts putting it on happily. I use get dressed to mean that collars and leashes, car harnesses and such have to go on to get to the adventure. They run to me when they hear the get dressed order.
 

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Hold a really scrumptious, little treat on your side of the hole where her head is to go. Hold the harness up with your other hand so the hole is ample sized so she can put her head through. Lure her with it so her head has to go through the hole in order to get the treat. Then she's got her head in there and you can buckler her up. Don't lure for too many reps...maybe 2 or 3 times, then fade it so you aren't luring anymore, but waiting for her to put her head through on her own and once she's through the hole, give the treat. If she doesn't put her own head through yet, use your fingers as if you have a treat but have an empty hand UNTIL she gets her head through and then give her hte treat from a hiding place behind your back. Try to avoid putting it over her head yourself. And instead coax her to put her own head through it all by herself. Make a fuss over her and give her more treats. See if that works.
 

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Misha avoids me if he knows I'm trying to put on a harness. To him it is just a game. Any reason I want him is an opportunity to make me catch him. He doesn't actually mind the harness at all. He is just a little goofball. But he has been getting a lot better about it as he ages. He doesn't avoid the collar at all anymore and the harness usually isn't a problem.
I almost succumbed to this game with Peggy! She sat nicely for her harness for months and then one day decided NOPE! and began hopping around, demanding a chase. Luckily, by then I was well-versed in her love of being chased and refused. I just shut down and patiently waited, making myself as boring as possible.

The silliness lasted for two days until she realized it wasn't going to lead to anything fun.

For a while afterward, I did temporarily clip her leash onto her collar before harness time, just to get her out of play mode and remind her that a walk was forthcoming. That's not necessary anymore, but I'm sure she'll challenge me on something else one of these days.

These poodles sure keep us on our toes!
 

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Both my dogs run to have their harness put on. I don’t put it over their head. I set it down on the floor and put their paws in each of the hole, then lift it up on their shoulder and do the buckle on top last.

If you can do it this way too, it’s much friendlier to a dog.
 

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I have 4 different harnesses for Jessie, 2 that go over her head and 2 that I can put her feet in and pull up. She backs away from the over the head harnesses every time. She actively tries to help put on the others, which is cute but not actually helpful in the slightest ;) I'd abandon the over the head variety entirely if one of them wasn't her car safety harness, so I keep using the other one too for walks and bike rides so she knows something good can come of it.
 

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Maurice is all excited to go for a walk and has to do his little ritual first of a couple of spins, a few hops up on his hind feet, then he'll stop all the shenanigans, sit and hold still for me to slip the harness over his head. I just need to ask him if he wants to go for a walk or not. Hahaha. ? When I hold the harness open for Matisse, he dives with great gusto head first into the harness and knows just where to put his head through. It doesn't bother him at all. I didn't train either of them specifically for this. They just don't mind it at all. And they know that's the thing they must do in order to go for walkies. :)
 

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Dechi it depends on the style of harness whether you can avoid putting it over their head. Lily currently has a step in sleepy pod harness, but Javelin's does have to go over his head. Lily had an over the head style for a very long time. I taught both of them to come to me to have their harnesses put on the way Poodlebeguiled described.
 
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The over the head issues remind me of my olden days working with horses. They can sometimes be headshy, unfortunately. With horses, we were taught to slip on a bridle or halter from the side first somewhat. I can't describe it really well, but gentle hands were involved in guiding the device onto the head. One didn't just plop it on there.

Not that anyone here is standing back and having at like a lasso ?, just maybe starting a bit more from the side instead of having it descend from overhead could help?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This harness is one that has to go over the head. We tried others, but they didn't fit/work as well. We use a sleepypod in the car, and she steps into that one. She used to avoid that b/c she hated the car, but she's getting better about that. I think if i try it with treats a few times that might help.
 

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Dechi it depends on the style of harness whether you can avoid putting it over their head.
Yes, with some harness it won’t work.

Mine are not step-in harnesses, one is just a regular old-style harness and the other one is a non-pull harness. I just prefer putting it on this way.
 

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I use the perfect fit harnesses from the dog games shop in the UK (I live in the US, and they ship internationally). The harnesses don't go over the head, but have side snaps. They have three separate pieces that connect so you have a perfect fit for your dog. They fit super comfortably, and mine love them! I don't have any trouble putting them on.
 

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I wonder if we sometimes inadvertently ding our dogs in the face when putting on a harness. Not enough to hurt them, obviously, but enough to make them want to protect their sensitive eyes and muzzle.

I'm going to be a little more deliberate from now on. Easy to rush such routine activities.
 

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I detest harnesses- with the exception of car or actual pulling harnesses, or for dogs prone to collapsing trachea. BUT in thinking about other various items I have had to put over dogs heads- I 100% agree with teaching the dog to put his own head through.
Some things that might help: I find that usually holding the item below the dog's chin and sliding it up and over the head is less of a problem than coming from in front or over head.
Consider starting by having him duck his head under a blanket or towel held up so that there are no hard bits to poke eyes or ears.
Teach a hand target and then get the dog to target through the neck hole. Be sure to do lots of reps without actually putting the harness on, then start by just resting the harness on his neck for a moment and then removing, gradually increasing until he will just stand with it draped on and you can buckle it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Good idea to try doing it gradually and not directly "at" her face, Starvt. I'll try that. Once it's over her head, she does stand very still while I buckle it so it may just be the head issue.
 
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