Many dogs will need to wear a cone around their head at some point during their lives due to surgery or injury. Often referred to as “the cone of shame,” the Elizabethan collar protects your dog’s wound by preventing him from licking, chewing, or gnawing at it. Healing wounds are often itchy and stitches from surgeries, such as spaying or neutering, can be sore and uncomfortable. A dog may reopen wounds or cause additional injury if he has access to the itchy or irritated spot. That’s why a cone can help the area in question heal without interference from your dog.
It sounds like a simple solution, but there’s a catch: dogs aren’t fond of cones being around their neck and head. They will work to get that cone off one way or another. Therefore it’s essential that you train your dog to keep the cone on. It takes some patience, but with consistency and care, you can help keep that cone on your dog and help him to heal faster!
While some dogs manage just fine wearing a cone, others have more difficulty with the size, shape, and weight of it. Larger, taller dogs may be able to maneuver around the house with little to no trouble, but smaller or shorter dogs can experience additional issues because of their proximity to the ground. Not only can cones prevent your dog from worrying at wounds, but they can also prevent your dog from moving freely in his environment.
There are unique challenges involved with teaching your dog to accept a cone and keep it on, but it can be done. Keep in mind that the cone may initially frustrate or confuse your dog, so be patient and calm when training your pup to become a “conehead.”
First, you need to get a cone for your dog. Your veterinarian may offer selections to choose from, but you can also order a cone online or visit your local pet store to pick one out. Not all cones are created equal. There are traditional plastic cones, pillow-cones, soft fabric cones, nylon and fiber cones, and even decorated cones. Find one that suits your dog’s size and temperament, and remember to take his daily environment into account when making your selection.
Aside from the cone, have a positive attitude, a lot of patience, and a handful of treats. With a few days of consistent practice, your dog will own his cone in no time at all.