Every dog needs a collar, chiefly because they need something on which to hang their leash, license, ID and rabies vaccination tag.
This is one of the most important roles of the collar and leash, and is especially important for large dogs. Dog collars are essentially a basic form of restraint owners use to keep their dogs under control and comply with local laws that require dogs to be leashed and tagged.
But it’s much easier to teach a puppy to walk next to you than to teach an older dog because you are teaching on a clean slate rather than erasing and teaching a new way.
Before you use the collar and leash, you’d better begin with teaching your dog to sit. Because many dogs squirm or run away, and have you chase them when you are trying to put on the leash. You can avoid this by training it the right way from the beginning. After that, you can use the collar and leash.
Here are 4 steps to use the collar correctly and safely:
Step 1 Measure Your Dog’s Neck
Use a flexible tape measure your dog’s neck size, so you know which collar size will be appropriate. Measure the circumference of your dog’s neck in the area where the collar will sit. A collar should be about 2 inches bigger than your puppy’s neck, but he should not be able to pull his head out of the collar.
Step 2 Using the Two-Finger Rule
Place your middle and index fingers between the collar and neck. Adjust the collar so your fingers slide in easily and comfortably between the dog’s neck and the collar. The collar should not be so tight that it could cut into your dog’s skin nor should it be loose enough that your dog could slip out of it and escape while out on a walk. After some time, you learn to use the leash to control the dog’s behavior, you can loosen the collar so that it can also be removed directly without unbuckling the collar.
Step 3 Regular Collar Checks
Test the adjustment of your dog’s collar every two weeks. This is especially important for growing dogs, but it is also important for adult dogs whose weight fluctuates, resulting in the need to tighten or loosen the collar.
Step 4 Transferring Your Dog’s Tags
If you purchase a new collar for your dog, be sure to adjust it to the right size using the two-finger method, then transfer his ID tag, dog license, and rabies vaccine tag to the new collar.
Teaching your dog to accept a collar, not to pull against the leash or collar is a fundamental part of dog training and needs to be done before you attempt to restrain your pet. A dog that is constantly pulling can hurt itself while being restrained, which is not a pleasant experience for anyone.
After your dog is used to wearing his collar, attach the collar to whatever object you intend to use to restrain your dog. In most cases, this will be a leash or some type of leash. Make sure that the clip at the end of the leash is fully closed and your dog cannot slip off the leash.
Now let your dog learn to walk with you, 4 ways you need to know how to use a leash:
1. Practise Indoor
Start teaching indoors with as few distractions as possible. If you can’t control him indoors, it will be difficult to control him outdoors.
An easy way to start using a leash is to attach it to your belt like an umbilical cord and let it follow you around the house.
Feeling and seeing the leash around him will be enough of a challenge. When your puppy gets used to coming to you on the leash, as mentioned above, offer treats and praise.
2. Reward Good Heeling
Finally, you are ready to test your puppy’s skills outdoors. This step will present a new challenge, as all the sounds, smells, and sights your puppy will encounter will be curious and new to him. Be patient and keep your first walks short.
When walking, you should hold the leash in the opposite hand that your puppy is walking on. If he is walking on the right, you hold the leash with your left hand and the food with your right.
Make sure to continue to reward and praise your puppy when he follows your lead and puts his head next to your knee. When he runs in front of you, simply turn the opposite direction, call him to you, and reward him in place. Over time, you may need to shorten the leash until it becomes accustomed to walking at your side or behind you.
Keep an eye out for other dogs on the road, move on, and reward him with a piece of food if he doesn’t pull on the leash to play with the other dogs!
3. Stop Bad Behavior
Every time bad habits appear, you can stop them in their tracks by addressing them.
If the leash tightens, don’t reward. If he pulls, as soon as this happens, stop walking and standstill. Don’t tug on the leash, just let your dog know that when it pulls, it has nowhere to go unless the leash is slack. Call the dog back to you and reward him when he comes. Some puppies take longer than others, so be patient. If you do this consistently and calmly every time it pulls, it will soon learn not to pull.
When the puppy resists the walk, he sits or lies down. Take a few steps away from him, call him, and reward him. Begin the walk until the puppy resists again, then repeat the process. Again, by remaining calm and consistent, the puppy will learn to enjoy the walk and being on a leash.
Some dogs have the habit of barking at another dog or a car while on a walk. Oftentimes, this behavior comes as a result of a lack of exercise. Try to redirect his attention with a treat before he has a chance to bark, and increase the space between your dog and the target. Stay alert and be prepared before the target gets too close. So every time he sees a dog he gets used to turning his attention to you.
4. Walk Frequently
Continue to take your dog for walks, several times a day if possible. This will continue to reinforce good walking habits so that your dog does not forget his training. Remember to remain patient while not rewarding negative behaviors. When you consistently reward positive behaviors and discourage bad behaviors, your dog will develop good behaviors.
Overall, During normal walking, the leash should extend out from the collar and sag slightly, remaining relaxed. This way, in an emergency, the dog will be able to know the difference if the leash is pulled tightly. Never leave the leash in a constant state of tension, as it will be difficult for the dog to know the difference even if the leash needs to be pulled tightly.
Don’t use the leash at home except training at the beginning, and only use it when you are on a walk. It is best to keep your dog relaxed on weekdays, as this will help your dog’s mental and physical health and prevent tangles caused by long time use of the leash.