How do I make putting on a harness a positive experience for my dog?

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My dog is a Doberman mix – about 1 yr old. Adopted 2 months ago.

Every time I try and put the harness on my dog, the second she sees it, she starts to back away and will avoid me as I try and put it on her. After I put it on her, she just has a dramatic change in behavior. Normally she’s walking around the house and investigates everything. With the harness on, she just stands in place for long periods of time and won’t even think about biting anything she isn’t supposed to. She just is very calm and sad looking. When she comes back from her walk, she’s completely fine.

I’ve tried creating a positive experience for her so she can associate the harness with positive feelings. I’ve only been putting it on when she goes on walks. So harness = walks, which she loves. I’ve been giving her treats and some of her regular food while I put it on her. But it hasn’t been working so far.

I’ve been doing this for about 2 weeks now and I thought she would get used to it but so far she hasn’t. My parents keep calling me cruel and terrible for doing this to her, but when we walk her, she pulls extremely hard. My dad also pulls her very hard so I’m trying to relieve some tension on her neck. I don’t really like using a collar for her when we walk.

I need some suggestions on what I can do to continue creating a positive experience for her. Thank you!

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