One of the first questions new dog owners ask is “How do I train my puppy to wear a collar?”. If the dog in question is a puppy, then this is a fairly straightforward and easy task to do. But if you have adopted an almost adult or adult dog from a shelter and he sees a collar for the first time in his life, then you’ll have to put a bit more effort into it. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what age to correctly teach your pup to wear a collar.
When can I start putting a collar on my puppy?
Most breeders put collars on puppies as early as a week into their lives. This is done because it’s convenient to put labels on the collars, which will allow the breeders to not confuse the puppies with each other. Usually, breeders make the first collars on their own. They use string, braid, or suede, and sew a button on it for fixation. Store-bought collars with buckles are not suitable for very small puppies. This is because puppies will fiddle, chew and pull on the free ends of the collar of their fellow puppies and the buckle often unfastens. That can turn it into a loop and the puppy can simply be strangled. It is unacceptable that the collar puts pressure on the puppy’s neck, it should be fairly loose. For adult dogs, the norm is considered when two fingers freely pass under the collar.
Usually, puppies are taken home from the breeder at around 2 – 3 months of age. At this age, it is already acceptable to put a collar with a buckle on your puppy. So as soon as your pet gets comfortable in its new home, you can start teaching your pup to wear it. Just be sure to purchase one the right size for your pup. As for dogs who are more than six months old, the answer is still the same. You can put a collar on your pup as soon as the dog gets a little comfortable in his new place.
Teaching a dog to wear a collar step-by-step
If your dog has not been wearing a collar since infancy, then it obviously will not be very enthusiastic about such an innovation. At first, he/she will spin around, try to scratch it off, and perhaps, try to run away from it. To reduce stress and ease the process of getting used to the collar – let the puppy sniff it and let it get used to it in a calm environment. When you put it on, immediately entertain your pet with a game or some treats. It is best to put the collar on before eating because a hungry dog will focus on the food and forget that something is hanging around his neck. If you put on the collar just before feeding, playing, or going for a walk, the dog will get used to it very quickly. And even want for it to be put on!
When accustoming a dog to a collar, do not immediately try to leave it on for the whole day. Train him gradually. For the first time, 5 – 10 minutes will be enough. At the same time, under no circumstances do not remove the collar if the dog is actively trying to remove it himself. You will only reinforce the wrong behavior of trying to remove it. Wait for the puppy to switch his attention to something else, and then remove it. Put the collar on for 10 minutes 2 – 3 times a day. If you see that your pet is behaving calmly, begin to gradually increase the time spent with his collar on. You can then put the collar on for as long as you need.
When to put on a collar?
For service dogs, the collar is practically a part of the body, they wear it all the time. For hunting dogs, on the contrary, it is redundant. During hunting, it can catch on branches, and then you must look for a stuck dog. As for ordinary pets, they need it first of all in order to have something to fasten the leash to. Also, an address tag with the dog’s name and the contact details of the owner are often added to the collar so that in case the dog runs away or gets lost, he can always be returned home if found.
No matter how obedient your pet is, do not take him for a walk without the appropriate equipment. Walking a dog in the city without the proper equipment is extremely risky!