As soon as you take out the collar and leave it to go for a walk with your dog, the latter has attitudes of fear and you feel that this material does not put your dog in confidence.
Understand this behavior and fix the problem: These are the two main objectives of this article.
How to detect fear in dogs?
A fearful dog will emit many signals which, if not read and interpreted correctly, could lead to aggression. Here is the list of signals that a scared dog can send:
- Put the tail between the legs.
- Lower your ears and head.
- Lick the truffle repeatedly.
- Want to flee.
- Yawning exaggeratedly.
- Do your business on the spot.
- Bark, or even growl.
- “Romp” on an object, a piece of furniture, a person or a toy.
- Excessively drooling.
- Have dilated pupils.
- To shiver.
- Gasping excessively.
All of these signals are important to consider because they show real discomfort in your dog.
But in general, when a dog is afraid, either it will flee (or will want to flee), or it will have a defensive behavior if the escape is not possible. And as I said earlier, a dog who cannot flee or who is not surrounded by people who understand and observe his fear, can be aggressive.
Thus, it will be very important to take into account your dog’s fear, to identify it and to implement habituation and / or immersion exercises, according to the fear in question, in order to allow your dog to regain a stable emotional state in front of the object of his fears.
Why is a dog afraid?
Dogs can be afraid for many reasons, but the two most common are:
- A dog is afraid of a situation / an object / a person because he has never been used to living the situation in question. By nature, a dog will be afraid of what it does not know, hence the importance of a rich and quality socialization during the development period.
- A dog is afraid because it has had an accumulation of bad experiences (or a single very traumatic event) related to this situation, this object or this person. In this case, especially if the dog is old, it will be more complicated to solve the problem but it will not be absolutely impossible. It will all be a question of patience and gentle and adapted methods.
Why is a dog afraid of his collar?
To come to the precise subject of this article, the one which interests you and which concerns you – you and your dog – I imagine, namely a dog which is afraid of its collar, here are some reasons which can explain this attitude:
- Your dog is only used to wearing a collar for going to the vet or any other unpleasant activity.
- Your dog has always lived without a collar and therefore does not know this material.
- Your dog has had one or more bad experience (s) related to wearing the collar: choke collar, collar with peak, collar too tight, permanent tension, etc.
- Your dog is afraid of his collar because it is sometimes used to punish him physically (by whipping him with for example).
See, there are multiple reasons why your dog may be afraid of his collar, whether as a result of experiences with you or with others (especially if you have adopted an adult dog with a questionable past).
Prevention is better than cure
As with any problem, it is obviously advised to anticipate and prevent it as soon as the puppy is adopted, and even before. Of course, this is only valid if you adopt a puppy and not an adult dog in a shelter or otherwise.
So, as I mentioned earlier, socialization during the development period will be essential for the future of your doggie. Socialization should be done, well, between the first 3 and 12 weeks of the puppy’s life. If you take into account that the legal age of sale is 8 weeks, this means that you only have one month left to give your puppy as many positive experiences as possible.
But beware, the breeding in which you adopt your puppy must have started this work, because between 3 and 8 weeks of the puppy, it is not a question of leaving it in kennel or in the house! This could trigger developmental disorders later on.
It will therefore be a question of proposing a socialization, certainly, but rich and of quality. Your puppy will have to meet dogs, people, various places, certainly, but also get used to wearing a collar, or a harness, a leash, etc.
All these experiences should be offered regularly, but above all they should all be positive. If you are not sure of the positive outcome of a particular experience, it is better to abstain so as not to create trauma.
Clearly, accustom your puppy as soon as possible to all the situations he will have to live regularly in his life. And even if you know that in the future your dog will have very little opportunity to wear a collar or be walked on a leash, you do not know what can happen, you could move in town or even need to keep your dog on a leash during walks in the forest during hunting, etc.
The key word is therefore to anticipate and prepare your dog as much as possible to get him used to new experiences and that he is not “afraid” to face the novelty by your side.
My dog is afraid of his collar: what to do concretely?
Tip # 1 : Don’t hesitate to leave a thin and light collar around your dog’s neck so that he considers this to be “normal”.
Tip # 2 : When you put the collar on him, have a neutral attitude, don’t be “afraid” that he is afraid, don’t stress. Know that dogs have a pretty impressive ability to feel and absorb our emotions: so be sure of yourself and confident!
Tip # 3 : You can try an alternative to the collar, namely the harness. This will still allow you to walk your dog safely while waiting to have resolved the problem of fear of the collar.
Tip # 4 : Make your dog associate “putting the collar” on something very positive: it can be a treat, a verbal congratulation or even just going for a walk. Clearly: choose a reward / activity that your dog loves.
Tip # 5 : In addition, do not hesitate to play with your dog when he has his collar, always in the spirit of positive assimilation to the object.
Tip # 6 : and finally, NEVER use the collar to punish your dog and work as much as possible on a relaxed leash so that your doggie has no tension at the neck. Especially if he has had traumatic experiences following excessive tension.