The last couple of days our normally springlike autumn has turned chilly and windy. We had wind gust up around 40-50 mph on Monday. It means this is the time of year that Misha hates the most: Jacket Season.
Our winters don’t get very cold and it never snows. But, Misha is a small dog without a whole lot of fur. She shivers when the temperature is below 65F. She sleeps wrapped inside a heat reflecting blanket in the middle of summer.
Unlike “normal” dogs, Misha hates her doggie jacket. You might even say she is terrified of it. It took an entire winter to get her to put it on without attacking me despite bribing her with treats. She has gotten to the point where she accept putting on the jacket. However, the minute I release her she runs off like a cartoon character. She rubs against the wall and furniture trying to fling the jacket off. The only times she calms down is when we go for her walk. She forgets the jacket completely. But, the minute we get in the door, she’s back to ricocheting around the house.
Since she does so well walking outside with her jacket, I reasoned that she only needed to get used to it. So, last year I devised a plan to desensitize her. I started out by making her wear it 10 minutes after our walk. I increased it slowly until we reached 3 hours. I did this for over a month. It was an utter failure.
She never got used to the jacket. In fact, she got worse. Wearing the jacket inside the house for no reason was like a downer. Instead of running around frantically, she became depressed. Her expression changed, she moped around, she walked slowly or even worse, she stood in place as if paralyzed for several minutes at a time. I gave her treats to reward her, I tried to distract her with play…nothing changed her mood except taking the jacket off. Once the jacket was off, her eyes perked up, she wagged her tail, and she acted as if she’d been freed from a long imprisonment.
I’ve given up on the whole desensitization thing. Maybe when she is 8 or 9 years old she’ll decide the jacket isn’t out to get her. For now, she wears her jacket when we go for our walks on cold days. And, that’s it. I simple can’t have a my dog moping around the house.