Tips to Teach your Dog to Wear a Collar and Lead
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Until your dog has learnt how to wear a collar and lead, these instruments will only be uncomfortable and limiting for it. Once your dog learns how to use them, the collar and lead will become security measures. They will never be tools of punishment, and you shouldn't use them to "correct" bad behavior.
This AnimalWised article will give you some tips to teach your dog to wear a collar and lead. There are different types of dog collars and leads which cater for all types of pets, and once you know all of the available options you can choose the best fit for you and your dog.
Teaching your dog to wear a collar
Firstly, allow your dog to see and sniff the collar - a normal collar, not a training one. Next, put the collar on it and distract it for a while: play with it, feed it, etc. Do this for around 5 to 10 minutes every day, and take the collar off once you're finished. After two or three days of this, your dog should be used to wearing the collar.
Dogs learn to wear a collar very quickly, so this shouldn't take you very long. However, some dogs get really scared when something is put on their neck. If your dog reacts like this, give it a little while longer to get used to it. Also, make sure that you're calm when putting on the collar.
Note that the collar should neither be too loose nor too tight. You should be able to slide your finger between the collar and your dog's neck. However, the gap shouldn't be much wider than that. If the collar is too loose, it could get caught on something, and your dog could easily take it off. If the collar is too tight your dog will be uncomfortable and have difficulty breathing and swallowing.
Teach it to use a lead
Most dogs learn to use a lead quickly. However, some get scared when they're restrained by "that strange thing" in their owner's hands. Others bite the lead when they go for a walk.
In order to teach your dog to use a lead, you should first give it a few minutes to see it and sniff it. Then attach the lead, but don't pick it up. Leaving the lead loose, distract your dog with a game, making sure that it doesn't trip over it. Spend 10 minutes doing this for roughly 2 days.
Then repeat the procedure, but pick up the lead when you're playing with your dog. Ignore the fact that your dog is restricted when it reaches the end of the lead, and keep playing with it. Make sure you don't throw toys further than the reach of the lead. The aim isn't for your dog to be to be abruptly halted when it goes to collect a toy, but that it's gently restrained when it walks until the end of the lead, either out of boredom or for any other reason.
If your dog ignores the lead and stays nearby when playing with you, leave it attached for a while longer and stop playing. When it gets bored or wants to see what's happening elsewhere, it will be stopped by the lead.
Don't do this exercise for a long time. It should be enough to do this for 5 to 10 minutes a day for two to three days. Of course, if your dog is frightened by the lead then you should take a little while longer and make the exercise shorter. Once your dog is completely vaccinated, you can take it out with the lead and collar attached. Unless it has a phobia, it will feel incredibly happy each time it sees the lead.
Keep in mind that you should only use a normal lead for this exercise, at a maximum of length of 2 meters (6'6''). A longer lead would allow your dog to run and pick up speed before reaching the end of the lead. This would result in a strong impact on the neck, which is why it is not recommended.
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