Hoodie Desensitisation Training


‘Happy Hoodies’ (sometimes referred to as ‘snoods’ or 'ear wraps') are proven to assist dogs to reduce or eliminate the stress associated with loud noises (such as grooming dryers, fireworks, construction etc), and fearful circumstances (such as nail trimming, or brushing).

As it’s not a natural feeling or experience for a dog to be wearing a hoodie, the best way to avoid adding unnecessary stress to the dog is by undertaking desensitisation training.

With any desensitisation training, it is important to monitor stress levels through observation of the dogs’ body language. If at any point, their stress levels increase past a ‘Level 4’, it’s important to reassess the situation and consider stepping back a notch either to the previous step or to a modified version of the current step. Please refer to the ‘stress-o-meter’ for further information on stress levels.



Grooming ‘hoodies’ are made from an elastic-type material which means that they can shrink if you wash them in warm water or put them in the dryer. We have shrunk our fair few over the years, so strongly recommend that you go up in size rather than down if you are unsure.

Sizing details are located within the product listing on our online store



The following steps are provided as a general guide; however, you may feel the need to modify these steps into smaller ‘graduations’ if your dog’s stress levels are inhibiting you from moving forward.

For each day that you practice, it is recommended that you start off at step 1 and work your way through the steps. This will ensure a more successful training session rather than risking your dog feeling overwhelmed and failing.


Helpful Tips:

1. Start off by allowing your dog to be curious about the hoodie…

Allow your dog to sniff the hoodie and inspect.

Treat and praise when they sniff the hoodie.

o   Frequent short sessions are more valuable than longer sessions less frequently.


o   Timing for treat and praise is critical to get right, especially in the early stages of ‘shaping’ a new behaviour.


o   If your dog is paying no attention to it, rub a small amount of dried food on the inside to perk their interests.


o   Be careful not to inadvertently reward aggression or fear. If a behaviour is not what you are seeking, ignore and do not praise or treat.


o   To encourage your dog to place their head through the snood, try holding a treat on the other side and allowing them to push their head through the hole.


 o   Don’t allow them to bite at the hoodie. If they try, simply take the hoodie away and replace it with something they can bite such as a chew toy.


o   Remember not to go too fast too quickly! Seek out ‘small wins’ and use this as a marker to complete your session on a positive note.


o   Make sure that wearing the hoodie is always a positive experience for your dog.


o   Never take the hoodie off if your dog is pawing at it.  Instead, distract him (for example with a ball, toy or command) and then remove the hoodie once he has stopped.


o   Never leave the hoodie on your dog when you are not at home or able to supervise them.

2. Hold the hoodie in your hands and encourage them to sniff it some more…

Demonstrate the hoodie is just some fabric and is nothing to be feared of.

Treat and praise when they sniff the hoodie.

3. Providing they are not showing any signs of distress so far, place the open hoodie over/onto their muzzle, but immediately remove it within seconds.

Treat and praise as soon as the hoodie has been removed.

4. Once again, providing they are not showing any signs of distress, slip the hoodie all the way over their head, and then slide off immediately.

See if you can make it a game for them to slip their head in themselves.

As soon as the hoodie is removed from their head, praise and treat.

5. Gradually increase the time the hoodie is left on.

Start with 1 second and increase as you feel appropriate until 30 mins to 1 hour is reached. This level of desensitisation should now allow for the hoodie to be worn consistently without stress.

Continue to treat and praise each time the hoodie has been removed. Treats can be phased out over time as you feel appropriate.

Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for a great job!



Sometimes if a skill is not used for a while, it can be forgotten. The same goes for desensitisation, especially in cases where a dog has underlying anxiety issues. If at any point post desensitisation, the dogs’ attitude towards the ‘hoodie’ changes, work out which step they are from the above guide and then re-initiate desensitisation practice from the step before.


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