How to Make Dressing Up Your Pet Easy & Fun

April 21, 2022

Young woman and her labrador dog having fun in nature with hats and sunglasses

Picture this: you just bought an adorable hoodie for your dog and want to take a cute, Instagram-worthy pic of them in it, but your pup simply won’t have it! The second you try to put the sweatshirt on your dog, they start squirming and resisting the outfit. What a shame!

While it may feel a bit disappointing, there are ways to get your pet to wear clothes in a way that is both easy and fun for you and your pup!

Start Doggy Dress up from Puppyhood

Starting early and training your puppy to get used to wearing dog clothes is important for dressing up your dog. Just like other training techniques, dressing up your dog from the early stages of life can help foster behavioral patterns and set positive associations with dog clothes. It is during the socialization period (weeks 7-14) that they are constantly developing new habits, attitudes, and personality traits. Introducing your pet to clothes during this time will help make it feel natural later on.

Incorporate Dog Clothes Slowly and Make it Fun!

Some dogs tolerate dog clothes fairly easily while others take a hard stance against it. Dogs that resist being dressed up might feel overwhelmed, claustrophobic, or nervous with something against their body. This is normal.

Just as you did when training your dog to learn new skills, make sure you commit to patience and encouragement with dressing. Some tips for dressing up your dog include:

●        Choose one simple piece of clothing that is easy to put on. We recommend something with Velcro straps. Once your dog spends time around the item of clothing, treat your dog to a favorite snack for looking at it.

●        After your dog becomes more comfortable around the item of clothing, try draping it on their back for a few seconds, then give them their favorite treat again.

●        If they can tolerate the clothing draped over their back, try fastening the straps. If they manage to remain calm, give him another treat.

●        Repeat this process while increasing the duration of time that your dog wears the clothing. Eventually try moving onto more complex items like pullover t-shirts or costumes. Always remember to reward your pet with either a treat or their favorite toy for a job well done!

Make Sure to Get the Right Size Dog Clothes

No one likes clothes that are too tight or too big! Sometimes the issue is a matter of fit. Make sure you get the right size clothing for your dog and look at sizing charts if you’re not sure. Before you buy, take your dog’s measurements and look at similar manufacturers to get an idea of how the clothing will fit.

Try Out Different Styles

Not all humans like the same clothes, so why would dogs? Some pets are fine with headgear and antler headbands for the holidays, while others would prefer that nothing goes around their ears. Similarly, some dogs don’t mind noisy bells on their dog t-shirts while others may find them to be too much. Just because one type of dog clothing doesn’t work for your pet doesn’t mean all won’t.

Also be sure to try out different styles and materials. What one dog finds itchy, another will find cozy. Your dog’s breed and type of hair may also factor into how they respond to dog clothes. Keep this in mind when shopping for your pet.

If All Else Fails… If you know that your dog is still too physically sensitive or anxious to wear dog outfits, try dressing them up in smaller items like a scarf, bow on their collar, or just letting them play with their favorite  holiday toy instead. Your dog may not be able to tell you what they like but they can certainly tell you what they do not like. Most importantly, it is the time you spend together that matters most no matter what you and your pet are wearing!