My dog bites when putting on harness, how do I train him to follow my commands? This anguished comment from one of our readers set us on a journey of discovery: why do dogs behave like this? Read on to learn the reasons.
The main reason for a dog to bite when you try putting a harness on them is the harness being uncomfortable for them. Maybe it is too tight and rubs or pinches the dog’s skin uncomfortably, or you are pulling too tight on it?
Another reason can be the dog not used to a harness or associates harness with a negative experience from the past. Dogs’ behavior is unpredictable, and sometimes it doesn’t make any sense but seeing our pets uncomfortable is something no pet parent likes. Let’s delve further into what might be why your dog behaves in such a manner.
Why Your Dog Bites When Putting Harness On
The most common reason for this behavior is that the harness is hurting them.
Dogs sometimes show behaviors that are hard for us to understand. If your dog bites or gets aggressive while you try to put a harness on it, there can be several possible reasons.
The harness does not fit well
The harness may be uncomfortable or too tight for it, and it might be in pain if your dog bites whenever you try putting a harness on.
Ill fitted or a tight harness can rub or pinch the skin of your dog, and that is why it is biting to show its displeasure. Make sure to buy the correct size of the harness by measuring your dog correctly. A dog feeling uncomfortable and in pain as you put their harness on may resort to biting you.
Negative Impressions From the Past
Unfortunately dog abuse and scolding as well as hitting them is far too common. If you have a dog that you purchased when he was older (and not a pup), there is a chance that the previous owner had been pulling roughly on their harness causing them injury. Dogs also can associate negativity with the harness with something that happened in their past and may bite you.
If your dog is a rescue dog, they may have some bad experiences with harnesses, like someone abusing or hurting them, which can result in them being afraid of it and biting you. Take the process of introducing them to harness slowly and give them treats along with the harness to show them it is nothing to be afraid of.
Your dog is eager or excited for a new adventure
Also, overexcitement can be one reason for your dog to bite you as you try to put their harness on. Not liking the feeling of you lifting their legs or getting the harness above their head are other possible reasons for the same.
You tried to touch it on its head or lift its leg
Some of the dogs are afraid of things that go over their head, which is the harness and another possible reason for the biting. Introduce the harness to your dog slowly by associating it with treats and a lot of praises so that they stop getting afraid of them.
Like things going above their head, a dog may also not like you lifting their legs for putting a harness, which can be one reason for them to bite you. Lay the harness on the ground to put their legs in the foot holes. Reward them with treats so that they can allow you to tighten the harness.
Your dog might have a problem in its legs
Another reason can be your dog being in pain. While you try to lift their legs to get their harness on, you might accidentally be putting pressure on a spot that hurts. Take them to a vet to get a proper checkup.
They might have had an encounter that made them scared of harnesses
Dogs can associate negativity with anything, and the harness might be such a thing and one of the reasons for your dog biting. During one of their walks, they may have been attacked by a dog wearing a harness, or someone scared them while they were out wearing the harness.
They don’t remember the actual cause but associate the harness to something terrible and maybe averted to the idea of wearing it. Positive reinforcement with treats and praises is the only way to get them used to the harness.
Like negative associations, dogs also associate things with positivity. Overexcitement might be the reason for your dog to bite you when you try to put their harness on. Seeing the harness means they are going for a walk, getting over-excited.
Can Dogs Have Learning Disabilities?
Yes, dogs can have learning disabilities, and they would need special care for that.
They can have obsessive-compulsive disorder, fear, anxiety, attention deficit, and other health issues which affect their learning. Medical conditions like being deaf, blind, or any other condition can also affect their ability to learn.
Dogs with learning disabilities will exhibit specific behavioral symptoms like excessive barking, aggression, anxiety, unnecessary chewing, or destroying things.
Some other compulsive behaviors that might be a symptom of their learning disabilities are sucking on their toys, spinning, chasing their tails, pacing, excessive licking, and snapping at imaginary things.
Dogs who have learning disabilities require special care from you, and by participating in several activities, they can learn new things. A vet can help you determine whether or not your dog has a learning disability with behavioral tests.
Can You Leave A Harness On A Dog?
Yes, you can leave a harness on a dog only if it fits them well and is not a cause of harm for them.
There are several pros and cons to leaving a harness on a dog, and you should weigh them all before deciding on what you want to do.
Pros of leaving a harness on a dog:
- It works like a collar to attach ID tags for dogs with a short-neck like pugs.
- You can grab the harness to pull your dog out of harm quickly.
- Leaving a harness on your dog makes you keep them closer to you for whatever reason without having to worry about a neck collar causing any injury if your dog tries pulling on it.
- If your dog is a runner, better get it a harness with reflective strips so that you can find it easily, even at night.
- Leaving a harness on your dog makes it easy to take them out by snapping a leash.
Cons of leaving a harness on a dog:
- A harness can accuse friction against your dog’s skin and cause irritation or make them lose hair in the area.
- It can cause pressure against a dog’s chest if it has straps in the front.
- Some dogs can chew on the harness, and leaving them on will get enough time to chew and swallow some of its pieces, which can become a choking hazard.
- If the harness gets wet accidentally, your dog may develop skin infections from it.
My Dog Gets Jealous When I Kiss My Husband
Its not jealousy. They just think that you are in danger.
People commonly misinterpret the behavior as jealousy when their dog gets between them and tries to kiss or hug their partner. Still, it can be for a different reason altogether.
When you try to kiss or hug your husband, your dog may consider it a conflict and try to break it off by getting between you and your husband.
Some dogs are attention seekers, they find you giving your attention to someone else other than them, and they want to be a part of it too. They might be showing their protectiveness of you or are just curious as to what you are doing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my dog bite when I put her harness on?
Most likely because the harness is tight and is hurting them.
Your dog may not like the feel of the harness, or it might be too tight, and that is why it bites when you put her harness on. Another possible reason for your dog to bite when putting on its harness would be that it is in some pain, overexcitement, or negatively associated with the harness.
Some dogs don’t like you lifting their legs or moving your hand over their head, which is another reason they might bite you.
How do you put a harness on a dog without biting it?
Distract them with treats and do it very slowly.
If you try putting a harness on a dog who is either nervous or too excited, it can end up biting you. Start the process of putting a harness on a dog slowly. Show your dog the harness first and let it be familiar with it.
Then use some snacks and treats for your dog to move its head inside the harness on its own or its feet closer to the foot holes in case of a step-in harness.
Give them some snacks at this position and then when they are finally comfortable enough, put some snacks either on the ground or a place slightly higher and start to buckle them up.
How do you discipline a dog that snaps at you?
Train this behavior out of them slowly by showing that you want to take care of him.
If your dog snaps at you, shouting or punishing it won’t work. The next time your dog snaps at you, back off, calm yourself down, and think about what may be the reason for this behavior.
It might be protective of its belongings, or you may have hurt it accidentally. Another reason for your dog snapping at you would be thinking of you as a threat.
You can try some behavioral training to let your dog know that they get treats for good behavior if they don’t snap at you. Build your dog’s trust by letting it know that you mean no harm to them.
How do you get a dog to let you put harness on?
You need to approach it slowly and distract it with treats or other favorite things.
Start slowly while putting the harness on your dog for the first time. Allow your dog to smell the harness and get familiar with it. You can try placing a treat along with the harness for your dog to eat.
Let it touch and sniff it or bring the harness in contact with your dog yourself. Keep praising and treating it throughout to associate happy and positive feelings with the harness.
Try putting the harness on while inside the home, getting comfortable first, and then taking them outside. Since dogs are fond of going out, that itself is a treat for them.
A Few Final Words
Dogs can get snappy when they feel pain or have had a negative experience with something in the past. Typically, you will not face this problem if you try to put the harness on slowly and keep praising the dog and treating him all the time.
Thank you for reading we hope we answered all your questions. If you would like us to answer more, please drop a comment below. You might also like to read: Dog Tries To Bite When Cleaning Ears? And Dog Growls When Lying Down