I made my weekly trip to the grocery store on Saturday evening. The parking lot was full thanks to the weather channel’s warnings of a quickly approaching storm complete with torrential rain and tornadoes.
Parked right at the front door of the store was a woman in a brand new Cadillac. The pearl-white car with white leather seats still had that great new car smell. The driver was lean, blonde and tan and looked as though she could have been a Miss America contestant twenty years ago. The driver’s window was down and looking out the window and greeting everyone who walked by was a Toy Poodle. The little white dog was wearing a pink and white dress and pearls. I stopped and commented on the dog. “What a delightful, friendly personality she has,” I said. Her owner replied, “Do you like her new pearls? They’re Mikimoto.”
We talked about dogs wearing clothes in CITIZEN CANINE. This excerpt from the book offers some things to think about when it comes to dogs wearing dresses.
From CITIZEN CANINE
Canine Couture: Nice Dress, But I Can’t See What You’re Saying
The $36 billion dollar pet industry is just one sign that people really love their dogs. Another sign is the rapidly increasing number of products for canines, including fancy dresses, boots, shoes, hats, coats, jewelry, and designer outfits.
In places where there is cold and rainy weather, canine coats and boots can serve the very functional purpose of keeping dogs warm and dry. Other times, some owners simply enjoy outfitting their dogs in canine clothes that range from everyday wear to expensive formal wear that comes complete with pearls and diamonds.
For photo opportunities, special events such as Dog-o-ween, and the occasional indulgence of the owner, putting clothes on dogs for short periods of time probably doesn’t hurt anything. But here are the things to remember about clothes on your pup:
1) dogs are already wearing a fur coat and they can get easily overheated if you expect them to wear a sailor suit or a ruffled dress when they are running around outside,
2) dogs need to move around to sniff and explore and make sense of their world. Some clothing for dogs can restrict movement or present a safety risk by getting caught on objects.
3) dogs are dogs; they are not babies or fashion accessories. We hope the clothing doesn’t signal that you aren’t letting the dog run through the grass, chase a bird off the fence, or do all the things dogs were bred to do, and finally,
4) dogs communicate with each other using body language. This issue is very relevant with regard to CGC Test Item 8, Reaction to Another Dog. Clothes and costumes can mask the subtle signals that one dog sends to another in order to communicate. Other than coats needed for harsh weather, when your dog is at the dog park or interacting with other dogs, as much as you like it, for your dog’s benefit, you should leave the canine couture at home.