Winter is the time for getting cozy in extra layers and snuggling up in fluffy blankets, including with your furry best friend. Winter gear for your pet pooch isn’t just for showing off their designer wardrobes – it is often strictly necessary for getting your dog through the coldest months of the year.

The best part of accessorizing your dog for winter is that there are almost endless options available that are as adorable as they are handy. For smaller dog breeds like Chihuahuas and Miniature Pinchers, winter can be awful because they are much less capable of regulating their body temperatures. 

Those breeds are far more susceptible to the cold and need extra layers to get through the frigid periods. That is sometimes easier said than done. Getting your pup to wear winter gear is easier if you follow these six easy tips below:

  1. Jackets

Most dogs are content with the idea of wearing a jersey, but if your dog is the exception to that rule – start slowly. Lay the jacket down on the ground and let your pet sniff it; that will help them feel more in control.

Each dog breed has a different tolerance to cold weather, but you know your dog better than most. If you don’t think your dog can handle hoodies, choose a simple jacket that will offer that extra layer of protection against the iciest season.

  1. Harness

As a dog owner, you know that the best way to get your dog to willingly do anything is to allow them to sniff first. Wearing a harness during winter means getting it made one size bigger to accommodate the added clothing layers of winter protection.

Harnesses are perfect for toy breeds during the winter as they allow you to pick up your pooch without their paws getting you wet or dirty. Please note that this only applies to harnesses with enough support and a back handle, perfect for hoisting your pup up and over snowy or icy spots.

  1. Boots

During the colder months, your sweet pup will need more protection against the elements and the chemicals or salt used to de-ice public pavements and roads. Those can all do damage to your dog’s paws.

Instead of running the risk of injuring them, protect your best friend with dog boots for winter. It can be challenging to get them to wear them but if you take baby steps it will help.

Start slow and add one boot at a time, just until they get used to the feeling of wearing shoes. Reward them with a treat once they get used to each new addition. Be patient, boots take time for them to get used to – after all, dogs don’t wear shoes in the wild.

  1. Reflective Gear

As the daylight hours grow shorter, spend some extra cash on keeping your pet pooch visible. High visibility and reflective gear go a long way in keeping your furry friend out of harm's way.

Reflective gear comes in all sorts of items like leashes, collars, jackets, and boots. You can also get light-up neck rings for those times when you need to keep track of them in the dark, especially if your pet is darker colored.

  1. Rewards

Dogs understand far more than we give them credit for, and they share several traits with their humans. Much like how we can be in a bad mood, dogs can also be – just in a different way. There will be some days when your pooch simply doesn’t feel like wearing all the training gear or taking instructions. 

Those days will get characterized by stroppy behavior and an unwillingness to comply. Instead of forcing them and the situation ending poorly for you both, give them the day off. Try again tomorrow. 

There is no use in forcing it – all that will happen is they will form a bad association with their winter wear, which will make it that much harder the next time you try. Instead reward their good behavior until it becomes a habit for them.

  1. Positive Reinforcement

That might sound somewhat nuts, but keep an open mind here – dogs love compliments. You know when you get all dressed up, and your partner tells you that you look great – and you get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside? Dogs are the same, well – most of them are.

Positive reinforcement is a tried and tested training method – and all dogs love getting told how good they are. Couple that with a little ear rub, and you’ll have the winning formula for success!

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