For those of you who might have wondered — and even for those who might not have — my blog’s name is short for “Will My Dog Hate Me If I Dress Him?” It’s one of the “99 Other Things Every Dog Wishes You Knew,” and an alternative title to the book that I ended up calling Am I Boring My Dog?
The book’s answer to that question was, in part:
Dogs aren’t shy about expressing disapproval; they tend to let their teeth do the talking when they’re really upset. Dogs who are less categorically opposed but still unwilling to be clothed might squirm vigorously or run away. So if your dog allowed you to dress him in the first place, expressing only mild irritation or even approbation, you can assume you’re in the clear. Dogs don’t hold grudges in any case.
In keeping with its name and my fairly muddled sense of purpose, this blog started with several tongue-in-cheek dog fashion posts (you can find some of my favorites, a series on Japanese dog dressing, here and here). It veered off to more serious matters fairly quickly, if not consistently.
But with Halloween approaching, the question of canine costuming is worth re-examining. Some of my favorite blogs are getting into the spirit, as it were: Dr. V at Pawcurious, for example, is encouraging people to send in pictures of their dressed up pets and even giving away a very chic pumpkin costume.
And Karen Friesecke of DoggieStylish, the queen of DIY dog dressing, naturally has a post on Free Patterns for Dog Costumes.
But it’s important to observe certain safe practices. Don’t drink and dress your dog, for example. It can lead to some serious fashion faux paws.
I’m not sure if this video always practices what it preaches, but it offers some good tips for safe canine costuming.
The video suggests training your dog to wear a costume. How do you do that, you may wonder? Here are some suggestions from APetsWorld.com:
Reduce the stress in dressing and training your dog to wear clothes. As with any training, keep it a positive experience! Stay calm and don’t get frustrated or your pet will sense your anxiety.
Approach your pet when he is the least active or even sleepy. Have a reward treat nearby, but not so close that he gets too excited and starts squirming to get the treat.
If you need to put something over your pet’s head, scrunch it up and gather the fabric so only the head opening shows. (Think of how pantyhose are put on). Place the garment over the pet’s head and then find the leg openings and put each paw through the opening. Pull the garment down across the back. Immediately reward your pet. Praise him for how terrific he/she looks and take him outside to walk or play. Associate the clothing with a positive experience and he will soon be bringing you his clothes to put on.
Still not convinced it’s okay to dress your dog? I’ve extended my guilt-free zone to Dog Star Daily, where I make a scientific case for dog dressing.