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Collar and lead training a puppy

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Collar and lead training a puppy Empty Collar and lead training a puppy

Post by Eleanor Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:52 am

Getting a puppy used to collars and leads can be a difficult process, depending on the dog and the way you introduce these foreign objects! Obviously, you know that collars and leads are nothing to worry about, but for a puppy these new objects are irritating, strange and quite uncomfortable! The discomfort is not due to pain in any way, but rather because it’s an unfamiliar feeling. Many puppies will whine and attempt to scratch at the collar with their best Thumper the Rabbit impressions, and some will even yelp and cry!

To minimise stress, you should be gentle and patient with them; do not scold them for trying to scratch at the collar! The following steps should provide you with a basic guideline on how to collar and lead train your puppy:

  • Allow your puppy to get used to the sight and smell of your chosen puppy collar. Place it on the floor or hold it out to your puppy to allow him to sniff at it. Be careful that he doesn’t attempt a tug ‘o war game with it, though! When your puppy goes to sniff at the collar, reward him with a treat or praise.

  • Once your puppy is used to the sight and sound of the collar, gently and casually slip it on. It may help to distract him with a treat as you do so.

  • Leave the collar on for a couple of minutes, allowing him to wriggle and squirm around and wear it around the house. Then take it off.

  • Repeat steps two and three once or twice per day, gradually increasing the time the collar is left on by four or five minutes. Eventually, your puppy should grow accustomed to the collar.

Lead training:

  • Once your pup is used to its collar, you can start on the lead training. Some people prefer to use a slip lead as their first lead, whilst others prefer to clip a lead onto the puppy collar.

  • Follow the same procedure as with the collar training – start off small, by getting him used to the smell, sight and feel of it, gradually increasing the time in contact with the lead.

  • With a slip lead, drape the loop very loosely around the puppy’s shoulders, rather than his neck. With a normal lead, just clip it onto the collar.

  • Allow him to drag the lead around the house for a few minutes, carefully supervising him to ensure that the lead doesn’t get caught on anything and tighten.

  • Once he’s accustomed to dragging the lead around, pick up the end in your hand and hold the lead slack, still allowing your pup to wander around.

  • If your pup is happy for you to hold the lead, gently put some pressure on the lead – just a small tug to pick up the slack, so that the pressure can be slightly felt by the puppy. This may surprise him at first, but with plenty of praise and encouragement, he should soon get used to it.

  • If your puppy bites and worries at the lead, try using a bitter apple spray (on the lead, not the puppy!). The spray tastes bad, but doesn’t harm the pup.


  • Never use a check chain or shock collar on your puppy! These collars are likely to do serious harm to your pup’s mental wellbeing, as well as the possibility of trauma to the neck.

  • When choosing a puppy collar, a preferable option is one with a plastic safety clip to allow easy release if the collar becomes caught on something.

  • Ensure that the collar isn’t too tight or too lose; a tight collar can be very uncomfortable, while a loose collar may get caught on a scratching paw or other object.

  • Always practice this in a safe, secure environment! This ensures that the puppy cannot escape and run off or get spooked by sudden noises.

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