What to Do if Your Dog Hates Collars

Not every pup loves wearing a collar. They can feel restrictive or irritating to a dog. You may find your dog is constantly pawing at it or trying to tear it off.

Unfortunately, dogs need to wear collars a lot of the time. Collars keep your pet safe and help others identify them through their ID tags.

So what do you do if your dog absolutely hates wearing a collar?

Here's your guide to handling a dog who hates collars.

Putting on Collars

The act of putting on your dog's collar is very important. There are ways to make sure your dog will voluntarily wear one if you train them correctly.

One key thing to avoid is chasing your dog to put on his/her collar. Dogs don't like to be restrained or dragged into doing something. Removing the combative aspect of putting on collars is the first step toward making it less daunting.

Try and always remain relaxed, calm, and casual when it comes to putting on a collar. Otherwise, your puppy will sense your own panic and frustration.

Next, you'll need to train your dog to put on a collar. This will psychologically prepare them for wearing it for a period of time. Preparation is an important stage is making your puppy okay with a collar.

For this strategy, you'll be using what's called positive reinforcement training. To train your dog, you'll need to gather the collar and some treats.

Sit on the floor with the collar on the ground. When your dog comes up to or touches the collar, reward them with a treat.

After doing this several times, try putting the loop of the collar above your dog's head. Do not put the collar all the way on at this stage. But if your dog sticks its nose through the loop or touches it, give them another treat.

Slowly work up toward placing the collar around your dog's neck. Repeat these movements until they seem comfortable. The treats will help your pup identify the collar with a reward or something more positive.

You may also try putting on a collar for several minutes at a time. This way your dog can get used to it without being overwhelmed.

Finding the Right One

Training your dog to wear a collar will not be useful if they aren't wearing the right one. The perfect collar for your dog will depend on the type and size they need.

There are several different types of collars including leather. Some collars will have buckles which may be useful for training your puppy. They allow you to remove it easily if necessary.

Find a material and type that will be comfortable for your dog. Starting with a small and lightweight collar is best for getting them used to wearing one.

The size of your dog's collar is also very important. If it's too small or too big, it can be uncomfortable or even dangerous.

You don't want it to be too tight, which will restrict their ability to move and/or breathe. But you also don't want a collar to be too loose because it may fall off or get caught on other objects.

To find the perfect sized collar for your dog, check out our sizing guide. This guide will help you measure your dog's dimensions. You're going to need a measuring tape or rope to start.

The neck size measurement of your dog will determine which type of collar you need to buy.

Techniques

There are a few quick techniques and tricks to try while your puppy is wearing his/her collar. First, remember to stay calm and even while it's being put on. This also applies to the duration of their time spent wearing a collar.

One thing to try is distracting your dog from what they're wearing. You may do this by feeding them immediately after putting their collar on. Or you can play with them right after using their favorite toy.

Distracting them will help them forget about the collar and focus on something else.

Don't take a collar off when your dog is fussing or pawing at their neck. Doing so will reward the behavior and signal them to that it's okay that way while wearing one. Make sure to take off the collar only when they're relaxed or distracted.

Walking

It's essential that your dog is comfortable in a collar because they will often need to wear a leash. Many states have leash laws that require dogs to wear one while going on walks in public.

Training your dog to walk well will help them become acquainted with their collar. Plus, dogs love taking walks. Over time, the collar and leash will become associated with a positive activity.

When putting on a collar and leash, do not hold the rope end with a tight grip. At first, let the leash drag on the ground so that your dog can get used to wearing it.

An important aspect of walking is to not let your pup pull on the leash hard. This will come with time and patience. As with putting on the collar, try walking for only a few minutes at a time to ease them into the practice.

If your puppy is young, wait several weeks before training them to go on walks.

Learn More

Now that you have these tips on what to do with a dog who hates collars, it's time to find the perfect one. Check out our selection of classic collars and other items for your pets.

To read more tips on collars and dog care, be sure to visit our blog.