What to do when you love bows but your dog refuses to wear them, or worse immediately chews up everything you put on him?
You could surrender. Sorry mom, but your cute dressed up dog dreams are over.
Umm, excuse me! No! That’s the weak excuse given by a dog dad who doesn’t want to be seen carrying a “frilly” dog.
No, how about this instead, gently train your dog to wear bows (and then all sorts of clothes) in a way that not only achieves next level cuteness, but actually creates a bonding experience that brings you and your dog closer together for life.
Depending on your dog, and how anti-bow she currently is, bow training may take a few days or it may take a few weeks. Remember, this is new to your dog and it’s really no different than potty training, crate training, or teaching leash manners. The key is to stay positive and consistent!
With that in mind, let’s start training!
If you’re about to dedicate the next few weeks of your life to training a dog to wear a bow, chances are you’re passionate about pup fashion. But easy does it, because your dog isn't. So start off by just introducing the bow. Let your dog see it and smell it, but not bite it.
As soon as he smells the bow give a treat. Do this for a just a couple minutes at a time once or twice a day. Do this for as many days as it takes for your dog to get excited about seeing the bow, but isn’t trying to eat it.
Getting the bow on
The next step is actually getting the bow on your dog. This doesn’t have to be hard I promise. The best advice I can give you is to
1) Take her collar off
2) Put the bow on the collar
3) Put the collar back on.
To your dog this shouldn’t seem like anything too unusual. Just a normal collar off, collar on routine. (I love Loved and Pampered Pets bows because they slip so easily onto your dog’s collar with thin elastic bands, no Velcro.)
If your dog notices the bow as your putting her collar on, be sure to hand her a treat and just continue putting the collar on as usual. *To begin with you may want to place the bow towards her back, and start with a small bow.
While the bow is on your dog do something fun. Play a game, go for a walk, take an outing. Show your pup that bows mean fun.
Bows are good.
*A word of advice, if you’re going out you may want to wait until you get to your destination before putting the bow on so your dog doesn’t have a chance to chew it up during the car ride.
Take the bow off
Finally, when your dog is done being dressed up, take the bow off. Here’s why that’s important.
- A chewed up bow is a waste of money, and honestly a little heartbreaking
- Giving opportunities to chew reinforces the bad behavior you worked so hard to train out.
- Taking the bow off teaches your dog she doesn’t have to tolerate it all the time. It goes away!
- Most importantly, it’s safe. Swallowed fabric or charms can cause choking or an intestinal blockage. Both of which are incredibly serious risks for your dog. Not worth it.
Some additional tips
- Start cheap. Why pay $15 for your dream bow just to see it chewed up? Of course we’re trying to discourage chewing, but if you have a determined fashion destroyer then chances are you might lose the first one or two. I recommend this training set. This set includes three small, solid color, lightweight, cotton bows for just $12. That’s only three dollars a bow. And while they’re pretty enough to wear out, you’re not going to find yourself getting too attached to them.
- Be safe. I’ve already said it once, but it can’t be said enough. Even bows can cause a potential hazard to your sweet puppy’s health. Do not leave your pet unsupervised with any fashion accessories or outfits, including bows. Even if your dog is known for swallowing entire slices of pizza whole (I hope that’s not just my dog). The best way to prevent harm is to keep all bows put safely away from your dog when they are not wearing them with supervision.
Want more dog fashion tips and tricks? Or, just a passionate dog mom? Join the Loved and Pampered Pets email for woof worthy emails on everything dog. Can’t wait to see you over there!