Puppies aren’t born with a collar, so it may seem strange to him when it’s first tied around his little neck. He’s just a puppy, so he’s still confused and uncertain about the collar, and he doesn’t realize that it won’t strangle him or cause him any harm. Most puppies will bite, scratch, spin in circles, or refuse to walk when the collar is on. This is completely normal behavior.
It makes dog walking procedures and even taking him out a nightmare. Without the collar, he can’t run around. He could end up jumping into the road, seriously injuring himself in a traffic accident, or worse. Training him to accept a collar will make your life a lot easier. That’s why it’s our job as pet owners to train our puppies to wear a collar.
1. Choose the Right Collar
There are so many different types and styles of collars on the market. Be sure to avoid using slip collars, choke collars, prong collars, or training collars as they are suitable for use as a training aid for your puppy. Puppies should first wear an extendable flat buckle collar without tags. ID tags can be distracting, as most puppies will use their mouths or paws to bite the metal pieces under their chins. They’re too distracting for a curious puppy. After your puppy has been successfully wearing the collar for a week, you can add the ID tag.
The collar you choose needs to fit your puppy perfectly. It should be neither too thin nor too thick. A heavy collar will be uncomfortable. A collar that is too light may fall off or snap easily. He will feel less like his neck is fatigued and he will accept it sooner. Make sure the width of the collar matches the size of the puppy. To know ahead of time the ideal length of the collar, place a tape measure or a thin string around the dog’s neck. Do not hold the tape measure too tightly, but only close enough to read the correct length. The collar usually adds at least 2 inches. But not too much, with a larger collar, he will find it easier to slide out and is usually more uncomfortable. Therefore, you will need to allow some extra space after recording the measurements, for example, if your dog has a 14-inch neck, you can purchase a 15-inch collar.
2. Introduce the Collar
Once the collar is OK, put it on your puppy and let him start wearing it around the house. Train it before he eats so that he is motivated by hunger. You can mix in small, tasty treats with his snacks. The reward can be varied with snacks and treats, so he never knows what he will get.
Show him the collar and let him smell the collar, and give him a treat. Put it around his neck. When the collar is on his neck, and give him a treat. When you take it off, stop giving it treats. Repeat this process to extend the time the collar is on to about 10 seconds. Then attach the collar and give it a treat. Repeat several times. Leave the collar on him. Then give him the rest of his food. Make the whole experience very rewarding. When you praise him, use an optimistic, confident tone and ignore any dramatics. Try not to make him sound anxious, angry, or sorry. Your confident and happy attitude will help him feel more secure.
Allow your puppy to get used to the collar. It is not uncommon for puppies to get nervous when attaching a collar for the first time. If it reacts in a frightened, confused, or bewildered way when you first put the collar on it. Your pet may feel discomfort, throw tantrums or try to chew on the collar, even try to remove it, as is naturally expected. Then you can keep him distracted. You can carry something to distract him, such as toys or treats that he can indulge in his mouth to take his mind off things for a while. Bring out one of his favorite toys to distract him. Encourage him to put it in his mouth and tug of war. This will distract him until he barely realizes he has a collar on.
Let him perform the trick for you. If he can’t do it yet, start teaching him. You can start with a simple “sit”. This will take his mind off the collar and allow him to shift his energy to something more productive.
If you introduce an activity that your puppy enjoys, he will be able to adapt more quickly to the feel, color, shape, size, and pattern of the collar. As long as you don’t make a fuss, your puppy will eventually adjust and accept the collar.
Within just a few days, the puppy’s senses have become so accustomed to the collar that he won’t even realize that he is wearing it. For the next few days, allow your dog to wear the collar continuously without removing it. This will give your pet plenty of opportunity to do so. Once the dog is properly familiar with the collar, the next step is to introduce the leash.
3. Get Used To A Leash
Once your puppy has gotten used to the feeling of wearing a collar, and as time goes on, you can start introducing the leash. Your puppy’s first leash should be thin and lightweight, so it is the least intimidating as possible. Flat nylon webbing or round rope style ones will suffice, just make sure they are lightweight, and certainly stay away from heavy chain style leashes.
When introducing the leash to your puppy, start training your puppy at home instead of going out for a walk, so he doesn’t get distracted. This can also cause some dogs to go crazy, while others simply shut down and won’t move.
The first time you attach the leash, drop your end on the ground. As soon as you clip on the leash, give your puppy a treat, then when it finishes his meal, release the leash. The sound of the clip will be a cue that the food is coming. Once your puppy likes the leash, clip it on just before a meal and then unclip it when he finishes his meal. Next, fasten the leash, let your puppy run around, ask it to drag the leash to you, and give him a treat, unbuckle the dog’s leash. Then, buckle the leash, lead it, take a few steps forward, call your dog to you, and give the treat. Now, your dog has learned that funny things happen when a leash is present, so it’s time to hold the other end of the leash. Attach the leash to your dog’s collar or harness and hold the leash handle in one hand. While holding the leash, lure your puppy with a treat and then give it to him. You will notice your puppy pulling ahead or falling behind. Call your puppy to you and reward him with lots of dog treats. Practice for 1-2 minutes and then end the dog training session.
If your puppy freaks out when he feels the tension on the leash, don’t pull the leash toward you. Instead, move towards your dog to release the pressure. Once your puppy is fully comfortable with walking on the leash, you can teach him how to walk politely on the leash.
Allow your puppy to move around unhindered. Continue to do this without intervening even if your puppy reaches the end of the leash. This will help your pet get to the point where he is comfortable without your intervention. Remember that whatever your puppy learns through its process of discovery and exploration will become a permanent part of its life.
In general, it’s important to give your puppy plenty of time to get used to the collar and leash before you start using them. Again, the best place for this training is at home, or in an environment that the puppy is used to, where it feels safe and secure. Only after the puppy is happy and satisfied with the leash at home should he begin walking outside.
With time and patience, your dog will barely notice that he is wearing a collar. Over time, the leash will also become very excited after you snap it on for dinner. Once you start walking your dog, your dog will also associate the leash with the walk, which tends to get him excited and wagging his tail happily! You can put a leash on your dog while you walk with him.