Any advice on getting Domino used to his harness?

I recently started putting Domino's harness on for a few hours a day but he HATES the thing. As soon as he's wearing it he slumps over and looks horribly depressed. He walks as if he was a wet towel over his shoulders and every now and then he'll jump and run around trying to get it off. I thought after wearing it for a few hours he'd forget it's there but no such luck. I've given him treats, tried to get him to walk in the apartment hallway(he finds this thrilling usually) but nothing distracts him from the "thing" holding him down. I feel like I'm putting him in a straight jacket. I even loosened it as much as I could. Any advice would be fantastic, thanks!

Asked by Domino on Feb 25th 2014 Tagged harness, depression, training, leashes in Other Behavior & Training
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Two magic words: positive reinforcement! But also another word: patience.
Sounds like he is the kind of cat that needs a VERY gradual introduction to the harness - especially now that he's associated it with some sort of unpleasant feeling. is a good article.

You will have to move very slow - rub the harness gently on his cheeks to make it smell like him, then start by leaving it around his food bowl. Hide treats around it so he has to touch it to get treats. Then gently drape it on his shoulders and give him a lot of treats and soft praise. You may have to do this for at least 2 weeks before you can move on to putting the harness on. When you do begin putting the harness on, give treats before, during, AND after - and only leave it on for like 10 - 30 seconds. After you can do this successfully, you can try having him wear it longer, and eventually add a leash and whatnot. Keywords here are patience!

Bandit answered on 3/2/14. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer