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Harness training

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
So of course u all know I went to petco and got a harness and a leash this way the girls (stormie mainly) can come sit outside with me whenever I am out, well how do I go about harness training them, and letting them no that is the ONLY time they are allowed out whenever they are on the leash!

Any advice is greatly appreciated
post #2 of 6
When I first started leash-training mine, I thought they were like dogs, so we had several ugly mishaps until I learned how to go about it. Mostly, they trained me.

First I'd introduce them to the harness, giving them treats when they sniff it. After a day or two of this, then you can gently put it on them, give treats, and take it off. And repeat once a day for a couple of days, and then start doing it more often. Once putting it on and off is fine, then start letting them wear it (with SUPERVISION) for short periods. Gradually increase the periods, giving them treats after putting it on.

When your kitties are very used to it, add a leash in a supervised area where it can't get caught on stuff. Let the cat drag it a bit. Give treats. Do this a few times. Then, in your own home, get kitties used to you walking behind them while you hold the leash. Encourage them to stay near you with treats and pets.

I'd also suggest teaching some sort of come here command.

Now, when you go out, your kitties are going to not necessarily follow you.. but if you just provide some gentle pressure on the leash and don't give in, they will stop and sit where they are. No jerking, no yanking, no pulling, period. They won't learn that way--they will be traumatized and injured.

Mine now know when there's no more give to the leash they can either sit down and make themselves comfy or they can walk in another direction. We walk together, we run together, and we sit amiably side by side together. It's a nice way to bond with your cats--I hope you enjoy it.

And these directions can definitely be improved upon.. it's very rough.
post #3 of 6
I started harness training our Turkish Van in the winter. He LOVED to run out onto the white snow and just bolt. It was a great game for him, but I can't tell you how many times I had to chase him down in my bare feet!!

Anyhow, we got one of those small harnesses first, the buckle-free sort that is a thin rope in an "8" shape. I don't think I had to teach him much at all, we just started walking together. I tried a larger harness, the type with the buckles, but found that it was impossible to find one that fit well in both his head and tummy areas.
post #4 of 6
I had my cats wear the harness for approx. 10 minutes a day, then let the lead drag around as well before we ventured out.

Once they were going out, I'd put the harness on at the door and take it off as soon as we got inside the door. They soon learnt that they can't pass the door without a harness.

I use a flexi lead, then they can wander further away and I can easily put the 'brake' on when needed.
post #5 of 6
A flexi lead.. that is so smart... *facepalm* Why have I never thought of that?

Oh well, I'm going to Petsmart this weekend, so.. muahaha.

Thank you so much for the idea--my cats are going to be in your debt!
post #6 of 6
A flexi lead makes a huge difference. My harness training story is similar to everyone elses. Put the harness on indoors first, then took her out. One trick that helped me is to always take her out in a cat carrier. Never let her walk out herself.

So in Nikita's mind going outside means having a harness put on and going in a cat carrier. Not walking through the door. She's not a door darter at all and I take her out multiple times a week and I think that's partly why.
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