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Don't Grab My Collar!

Author: Staff

Don't Grab My Collar!

Does your dog run away from you when you try to take hold of her collar? When you reach out your hand to take her collar, most dogs will either run away or actually nip to prevent you from taking hold of her. That's because she's fearful of what will happen when you finally do get hold of her! It might be as simple as anxiety that you will end her playtime, but it also might be fear that you'll hurt her.

Instead of fear, teach her that when your hand comes toward her it means she'll get a reward. You want your puppy used to having her collar taken hold of. If your puppy got loose and someone reached out to grab her, you want her to:

  1. Not run away when she sees a hand come toward her
  2. Not try to bite someone for touching her collar or restraining her

Why Do I Need To Teach Collar Handling?

So your puppy learns not to run away or bite someone for restraining her by her collar.

How Do I Teach Collar Handling?

  • First, get your "lures," pea-sized bits of a good smelling soft treat. These will also be used to reward your puppy.

  • To put her in a frame of mind for learning, warm her up to the practice session by doing three quick repetitions of eye contact. This will help her focus on you.

Practice collar handling by first lightly taking hold of your puppy's collar, saying "gotcha" then rewarding her while you are still holding her collar. As your puppy is comfortable with this first level, then grab a little tighter, more quickly and use your voice a little more loudly. Always reward when you take hold of her collar AND she has stopped trying to wrestle away. You want to reward only calm behavior while you maintain control of her collar. Keep your hand wrapped around the collar while your puppy is eating the reward.

TIP:  Don't move too quickly with this exercise, you don't want to scare your puppy. The purpose is to help your puppy become comfortable with one level, then slowly increase the speed of your movements, the loudness of your voice, the strength of your grip on her collar. You want to teach her that:

  1. A hand coming toward you will result in good things
  2. A hand holding your collar is rewarding
  3. Remaining calm while being restrained is a rewarding experience

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