Friday training talk: What's new with your crew?

Mike Lewis

Use this space to discuss training issues -- brag about successes, lament setbacks or bounce a question off the group.

I was taken to task recently by a Facebook friend for dressing Eddie up in a tux and tophat for a Valentine's Day photo. I see his point. Dogs generally don't like wearing clothes, so why put them through the stress?

First of all, a disclaimer: I only put the clothes on him long enough to snap the picture. He will never have to parade around town in this particular outfit.

That said, I don't see it as cruel. I see it as a training experience. Getting a dog to tolerate clothes prepares him for an occasion when he might have to wear them. What if, instead of a tophat, it was an e-collar he had to wear? A dog with no experience suffering the indignity of clothing will likely have a tougher time adjusting to the necessary device to keep him from licking a wound.

Or how about a life jacket? Yorkies are not Labs, and I could imagine a situation where I might want him to be in a life vest made for him. A canoe trip on a lake is not the place I want to have to teach my dog how to tolerate clothing. It might also make emergency bandaging easier to do.

Overall, I agree that dressing dogs up in cute clothing is kinda silly. I dress them for the cold -- a fleece coat and booties -- but that's about it for an extended period of time. But if dressing up a dog is your thing, I don't think it's bad for the dog. It's a learning experience.

Anybody agree or disagree? 

And what's up with your pack?