It’s a sunny afternoon and your dog is ready to go outside for her daily walk. She sees you walking towards her, and soon enough, she is at the back door, waiting to go outside with you. Her tail is wagging, and she barks at you, ready to receive your attention. You look at her, knowing it’s time to take her on her walk. Yet, you realize, all of a sudden, that she doesn't have her collar on. If you let her outside, and somehow, she gets loose without a collar, you may not be able to catch her or find her, if she runs off. Yet, your dog doesn't like her collar. In fact, she runs from it, as if wearing her collar is a punishment. As owners, it is important to understand the purpose and reason for a collar, and how it feels for your animal, so they remain happy, safe, and healthy.
The Root of the Behavior
Today, collars are extremely important for dogs. Not only do they help identify a dog as being owned by a family, but they contain valuable information to their health, location, and name. Without collars, dogs could get stolen, lost, or in serious health trouble. Beyond these logical reasons, collars are also extremely helpful to owners when they walk or play with their dogs, as collars give owners a feeling of safety and control. Animals have a certain instinct that could be triggered at any time, and if a dog does not have a collar on and is not contained by their owner on a leash, they may bolt and act a bit crazy. To a dog, none of this matters. In fact, most dogs despise collars and that is because of what they associate their collar with. The size of the collar is important for their comfort. Just as humans grow, so do dogs. Their weight and size may fluctuate and their collar should fit them in whichever stage of life they are at. Choosing the right collar that is comfortable and does not bother your dog is important, or they may constantly try to rip it off. Depending on your dog’s experience, a collar may also represent abuse or pain. If you use a collar for control in any capacity, it may cause restriction around their neck. Due to this, they may see their collar as a tool for abuse. There are also types of collars that can cause anxiety in dogs. If the collar administers shock or sharp points into your dog, they may view the device as a punishment. If your dog is not doing anything wrong, they will feel more fearful of the collar, than if they actually are being abused. Another type of collar that seems scary would be a collar that goes over their head, instead of a clip-on. This may feel constricting and your dog may run from it. Despite knowing what collars are for, to dogs, they are new, uncomfortable, and something different. If they are used in the proper way and your dog is trained, your dog will get used to their collar and not hate it. Collars are important and an important part in owning a dog; yet, having your dog love it is just as important.
Encouraging the Behavior
Other Solutions and Considerations
Training your dog to love their collar is important and finding out which type of collar they like can help them adjust to it. Sometimes, collars with buckles can be irritating for your dog, or sometimes, collars that feel too tight or have to reach over their head can be irritating. Sitting with your dog, using treats, and encouragement to help them bond with the experience of having the collar can help them adjust. Sometimes, starting slow and showing them that having a collar is a fun part of life and you enjoy the experience of the collar, too, can help them understand it is not punishment, but a good experience. Working with them, until they know it is okay, and not a punishment to struggle from, is how to do that.
Dogs can make this world a better place, especially for those who have personal relationships with them. Whether your dog loves to play, walk, or hang out around the house, having a collar can help keep them safe, up to date, and adjusted to a civilized life in a big world.