Harness & Leash Training
Updated: Oct 5, 2022
Disclaimer: There are so many ways and methods for training your adventure cat, we are just here to share our personal experience in the hopes it can help you too!
Table of Content:
Let's start at the very beginning! Being a successful adventure-outdoor cat starts with the harness and leash. Outside can be a dangerous place for a cat but, there are ways to be safe about it, and using a harness and leash is a good start.
A bit of background: Aries was found on December 22, 2019, abandoned at a park.
The first time Aries wore a harness was on December 15, 2020 - an entire year after I'd "adopted" him! The reason we decided to put on the harness was that I wanted to take him back to the park where I found him and take some pictures to commemorate our 1 year together! Pictures below!
He wore the harness but I was holding him the entire time because we hadn't really practiced any actual harness or leash walking. He was comfortable being outdoors so, he didn't panic very much but I was a bit nervous he might runoff, and that's why I put him in the harness and attached the leash. After our photoshoot, we went home and started taking intentional steps for training!
How We Trained:
Phase 1 -
I introduced Aries to the harness by letting him smell it and gently rubbing it on him.
After he started biting and pawing at the harness, I gently pulled over the top of his head and fit it loosely around his body. (At this point, he wasn't walking around, just tittering on his feet and flopping over!)
Once he started walking around with the harness on without seeming discomfort, I tightened it down a bit more and waited again for him to walk around comfortably and even jump around wearing it.
Phase 1occurred multiple times over the span of about 7 days
Phase 2 -
After completing Phase 1, I attached a leash to the harness and allowed Aries to walk around our house with the leash dragging around on the ground behind him. (This didn't freak him out, so that was nice!)
I began to follow him around the house holding the leash lightly, not pulling or forcing him in any direction.
Aries and I did Phase 2 once a day for another week
Phase 3 -
Once Aries was comfortable exploring in his harness and leash around our house we decided to go outside to a safe area. (This was our easiest step, Aries had spent a lot of time wandering around our 30-acre farm prior to training)
We started by walking around on our porch a bit, and around our backyard. (We HIGHLY recommend finding an area that is quiet, peaceful, not a lot of people, and if possible, somewhere they might already be comfortable at)
Phase 3 still occurs! Aries loves walking around in areas he knows really well!
At this point, Aries had reached a level of comfort with the harness and leash that we could wander around anywhere in the house or on the farm. But, now we wanted so much more. The next question that came was - how do we get to go to an area other than our house and yard? Stay tuned for our coming segment on CAR TRAVEL!