If or when you're dressing your canine companion for the first time, it's important to keep these points in mind - not just for his/her comfort, but also for safety reasons.
Do not FORCE your dog to wear clothing. If he/she freezes in place or rubs his/her body against the wall or on furniture while clothed for the first time, it's a clear sign they're not comfortable. This isn't surprising - it's not a natural thing for dogs to wear clothes. Some dogs like it though - once they get used to it. Make it fun! Make "happy human" sounds - dogs love to please they're humans - more times than not, if you're happy they're happy. Go across the room from them and have them come to you so they can get used to moving around in their outfit - & reward them! After a bit they may see it's not the horrible thing they originally thought it was, and it may give them a sense of security (especially if they're a small dog). HOWEVER, if your pooch still shows clear signs of discomfort, just use fun accessories and harnesses in our competitions! Our judges look for personality!
Make sure the clothing fits your pooch appropriately. Parts that hang or sag can be dangerous and cause a tripping hazard for your dog. Conversely, clothing that is too tight can cause a circulation problem. Use 2 fingers to check the right fit, just as you do when making sure a collar or harness fits right. If you can fit the width of 2 fingers comfortably between your dog and the garment, it's a good fit (be sure to check sleeve holes, tail holes and the collar).
Remember - dogs like to bite at and chew off pieces like beads & buttons. Beads & buttons make an outfit look so cute, but if they're in an area that is easily accessible to your dog's mouth (you know how amazingly they can contort they're little bodies) they could easily then be chewed off and swallowed, which creates a choking hazard. Details like these should be confined to the back of the garment or on their chest/under their chins. Closely monitor their behavior while wearing clothing and accessories.
With these precautions in mind, participating in the Barking Beauty Pageant will be such a fun time for you and your pup - whether or not he/she wears clothes! We're looking forward to meeting you both!