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Teaching a Pup to Wear a Harness Using Least Intrusive Training Methods - So Easy!

This is my favorite harness to use with dogs - by far!

IAABC Statement on LIMA

What Is LIMA?

"LIMA” is an acronym for the phrase "least intrusive, minimally aversive.” LIMA describes a trainer or behavior consultant who uses the least intrusive, minimally aversive strategy out of a set of humane and effective tactics likely to succeed in achieving a training or behavior change objective. LIMA adherence also requires consultants to be adequately educated and skilled in order to ensure that the least intrusive and aversive procedure is used.

For more information, please see this link:

The Beginning:

My cute little Nyssa needs to learn to comfortably wear a harness - quickly! In three days, she is headed to my vet for her PennHIP testing. Why (a fair question,) why, didn't I do this for her long ago?! Well, she just hasn't been with me very long, and building her overall confidence needed to come first. Given how she is coming along, she is right where I want her to be for this lesson, but it would have been nice to have had a few more repetitions before taking her on her adventure to the vet. Over the next couple of days, we'll continue to practice.

LIMA principles involve planning how to present a training request to a dog in a way that makes it easy for the dog to give the desired behavior. In the video below, I describe how I have set up the coming training session.

Having covered this, the video below describes my goals for this session and my training plan.

Now, let's train!

What comes next is the fun part, for lots of people. To me, it gives me feedback about how well I did with the first two steps; those are the most important parts to me. Training dogs is the easy part. Figuring out how to set them up for success in the first place is a little more complicated, but I am getting better at it!

I have only known about LIMA-based training for eight months at the time that I did the training in this video, so teasing out all the pieces necessary for this kind of training doesn't come naturally yet. I still need to really think it through, piece by piece, doing my best to see my training goals through the eyes of the dog I will work with.

Both Nyssa, and Yukon, let me know I got a few things right this time! Thank you, dogs! These early successes are helping me build my own confidence as a trainer using these new tools.

When dogs make training look easy, it is, in part, because the trainer set them up well. If a dog I am working with is struggling to meet my expectations, the responsibility is all mine, not the dog's.

Join me?

I am working hard to use these LIMA blogs and videos as a way to build a roadmap for others. To step into this kind of training is a process of discovery and a willingness to make the needs of the animal being trained at least as important as those of the trainer. Have questions? Please email me, and I'll come alongside, as my many mentors have for me, and we'll figure this out together!

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