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Discussion Starter #1
I have petco's adjustable harness for Aayla right now. It is adjustable for around the chest and around the neck. It has three areas where the harness can come undone. Two on each side of the neck and once around the chest. It seems to be of comfortable material that would distribute the pressure from her pulling across her shoulder blades. It seems soft enough and I notice no rub marks.

She hates it. I'm wondering if this is because she isn't used to the sensation of wearing a harness or if it actually is hurting her. After two weeks of wearing she started ducking away from it when I went to put it on. Normally I would slide it over her head, put her paw through and then snap the chest piece. Yet when she started to avoid it I opened up the neck piece so she doesn't have to deal with it going over her head. Yet she still doesn't like it. I've tried rewards, letting her step into it, and working slowly up to it, yet she still acts like its sand paper.

She always shakes after I put it on and sometimes multiple times as we start our walks. She also tries to scratch at it multiple times. Right after putting it on she doesn't like being touched by anything, she slinks away from my hand. She will take treats and doesn't try to run, but isn't pleased. soon as we leave the house she is happy to be outside and more responsive. Within 5-10 minutes into our walk she has happily forgotten about it.

She doesn't seem to mind having it taken off.

I want her in a harness because while she has an almost perfect loose leash walk, she occasionally gets zoomies while we are out and hits the end of the leash super hard and I worry about her neck.

The second thing is that she is going to be a backpacking dog and she HAS to carry her own pack. So getting her used to things on her is a must. I also don't want to buy a super expensive harness that she will grow out of in 2 months. So I'm waiting until she is closer to 8 months before I buy a nice one like ruffwear's.

Does it sound like a behavior or a pain issue? I would pull up a picture but petco's site isn't working right now.
 

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I would start to recondition her to wearing it. You can do this by leaving it out and feeding her treats for looking at it and also placing it near her food bowl while she eats. If she is just taking the treats to humor you, I would get better treats. Think real meat like chicken or beef.

Don't put the harness on her yet until she is happy to see it. Once she's happy to see it and be near it then you can put it over her head without buckling it, feed treats and take it off again. Slowly work up to fully buckling it.

If all else fails, try buying a different harness.
 

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Can you post a pic of her wearing it?

Shadow used to be pretty good about wearing whatever I put on him and at first he'd wear the harness I had bought for him and walk without a problem, then he started to get reluctant about it, it ended with him refusing to walk wearing it. I checked all around and finally saw where the harness had a sharp piece that jabbed into his leg every time he moved.

Zody has been through multiple harnesses, that he ended up hating to wear. One had an adjustment slide that hit him in the knee when he walked. The Ruffwear was to long on him and hit up against his penis. The Buddy Belt I thought worked fine but he started avoiding me when I wanted to put it on but would walk fine once he had it on, eventually he hid when he saw I had it and I stopped forcing him to wear it, all I can guess is that the buckle hurt his shoulder blades or the belt hitting his side aggravated him.

My advice is to go over every inch of the harness, and make dang sure that it is not causing her any discomfort, before forcing her to wear it. Is there a chance that a buckle or adjustment slide, could be rubbing or hitting her and causing pain? Is one of them at a joint and could it be pressing or hitting as she moves? Is there a sharp part on the harness that could be poking her?
 
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Doesn't sound like she is in pain, so I would guess she just needs to get used to it. Samantha isn't crazy about having her harness pulled over her head, but she knows without the harness, there can't be a walk, so she somewhat grudgingly tolerates it. Once its on she is fine. I don't care for just using a collar, IMO too much stress on their neck and spine, so we have always used a harness, and one that distributes pressure to multiple points. Samantha too, shakes when its put on, but they shake pretty much any time they have been handled.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'll respond later today but here are some pictures. Now that I am looking at it, it looks like it might not be long enough for her and bothering her around her armpits. Otherwise there are no pokey parts, or anything that looks bothersome.
 

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I agree that it looks like it might be rubbing in he armpit area can you loose it to make that area larger?
 

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It does look as though the harness sits too close to her armpits, so it might well be rubbing. But dogs tend to put up with a lot and you said that the issue is putting it on and after a while she forgets about it.

So my question is what is your routine/ritual for putting the harness on. Do you require her to sit and be calm? Does she get excited about going out for a walk, before the harness appears?

She is absolutely adorable btw!
 

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It could be rubbing her armpits or the clip could be hitting her in it as she moves. I can't tell if the bottom of the clip is covered by hair or if it's also in a fold of skin. If it's in the fold of skin it may be bothering her.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@ZoesMom That is probably a good idea. I was contemplating it before, but I still didn't want her in just her flat collar. I'm doing a lot of stay/wait/recall training with me at a farther distance and I feel bad when she steps on it while running and it jerks her neck. I don't want any negativity with her recalls! Its looking a little small anyways. I don't know what I should go for while I'm waiting for her to finish growing. She doesn't pull so I don't need a front clipping harness.

@Rain No sharp pieces, her skin isn't irritated anywhere, it is just looking a tad small. I worry about about bruising or sore spots I can't see. I'm thinking if anything it could be the snap at her left elbow area. She typically tries to scratch there. I believe it is just fur, she is pretty fluffy there. It doesn't seem to pinch at all.

@Laco I would hope that she would love it. All my other dogs jumped for joy when you grab their walking gear. Most would even put their head through the loops to get to go out. She doesn't run from me, but she clearly is unhappy.

@TruckersMom I don't think so, I think its just not going to fit her. i will have to look into a new one.

@Gnostic Dog Her routine is that normally I get her clicker, treat bag, leash and harness, and then go to sit on the rug. She follows me and typically will sit right in front of me. She seems to perk up knowing that we are go for a walk. Yet she does not get super excited. Normally I do a few touch it exercises while offering her the harness. She will sniff, get reward, sniff get reward and then I'll have her grab a treat through the harness a few times before sliding it over her head while she gets a treat. She eats the treat but will curve her back away from where the harness sits on her back. Her ears will drop, and she seems just unhappy. I will clip it on and release her from her position of a stand stay. She will shake and seem a bit unhappy until I move to the door at which she freely comes to my side, sits in a heel position, I open the door, reward for staying in her sit when the door is opened then release to go out for our walk. Soon as we are out the door she is happy.

Thank you though! She is growing up far too fast.
 

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@ThatYellowDog , that was around where the clip was on one of Zody's harnesses, that he hated, when the harness was on him straight. Unfortunately it did not stay on him straight and the clip would slide down till it was resting more under his elbow / armpit, I think that's when it caused him pain. Maybe that's what's happening with Aayla?
 
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