I want to use a harness to walk my dog since she pulls on her leash. I've tried for the past year to break her of pulling on the leash by stopping when she pulls and making her come sit beside me before we move forward again. She doesn't mind doing this and is happy to still pull and then sit next to me before pulling again.

My dog developed a stricture in her throat for which she's had 1 (probably unsuccessful) surgery. The vet told me that she cannot eat any solid foods (including treats, kibble, chewy things, and basically anything with more texture than a smoothie).

I want to use the harness again since it will put less stress on her throat, but she really dislikes it and runs from it whenever I pull it out. It's been suggested to me that I give her a treat every time she sees the harness so she can form a positive association with it, but since I can't give her any treats I'm kind of at a loss for how to get her to tolerate the harness.

Any suggestions?

Side note: she hates the head collars even more and will happily avoid going out indefinitely to avoid wearing one.

2 Answers 2


If you cannot make a good association by giving food, try giving the "this is good" association by play, cuddle-times, and whatever she enjoys.
Just have the harness around when you do things she enjoys; once she no longer runs from it, you can try touching her with it, then eventually put it on without fastening it.

As you need to walk her until then, have you tried wrapping the leash like this? You can also guide the leash between her legs. Just vary the way that seems to work best for your dog. With the throat-problems, it at least seems vastly preferable to a normal collar even if she STILL tries dragging you along.


Try Lickety Stiks (manufacturer web site). I had a very treat-focused dog who developed megaesophagus when she was 10 years old. She would regurgitate solid treats unless I sat her up in a vertical position for 20 minutes... not practical for quick training. She liked the Lickety Stik as a substitute, and it was very tolerable because it is just a tiny amount of liquid each time they lick it. You can find them in many pet supply stores (brick and mortar and online).

  • Those look awesome :). I has been wondering if there was any treat that hat the right consistency without being horribly hard to handle, but failed to come up with any. These look perfect :).
    – Layna
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 14:00

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