Training a Puppy to Accept a Collar and Leash

Get your puppy used to a collar as soon as you get her home. Simple, flat nylon collars are the most comfortable for small pups. Most puppies will accept the collar straight away, but some will squirm and try to get it off the moment you put it on. Put the collar on when your puppy is relaxed and distracted on something else. If they squirm about, just ignore it and try to distract her with an interesting toy or treat and she will soon forget about it. The collar shouldn’t be too tight. There must be enough space for you to slip in a couple of fingers between her neck and the collar.Introduce the leash when your puppy is inside the house with you. Leave your puppy to drag the leash around with her but make sure you supervise her, as the leash can get caught in all sorts of things in the home. As always, you want this to be a positive experience for your pup, so lots of encouragement and treats are a good idea. When your pup is relaxed with the leash being attached to her collar, gently pick up the leash and let her move about, don’t try to control the leash initially. The next step is to gently pull the leash towards you, reward and praise her when she follows. If your puppy resists, don’t make it a battle of wills, just wait for her to calm down and stop resisting, and then slowly begin again. The key is to ignore inappropriate behaviour and reward her when she behaves correctly.

Use the leash when you are toilet training your pup and taking her outside, you’ll be doing this often, so it’s great practice for leash training.

Some safety tips:

  • Never put your puppy in a crate with their collar on. Sadly there have been instances where puppies have choked, when they have caught their collar on the crate
  • Slip and choke type collars are for training purposes only and should not be left on your dog when the leash is not on
  • Get into the habit of checking the fit of your puppy’s collar once a week. Puppies grow fast and you will need to loosen it regularly to fit your pup’s growing neck
  • Attach an ID tag to your puppy’s collar ASAP