Some dogs hate collars, which obviously diminishes their ability to enjoy walks and the many benefits of being present in the outdoor world. Often, this trait stems from underlying issues such as fear, tactile sensitivity, and mishandling or inadequate handling when the dog was a puppy.
Some dogs hate collars, and then, on the other end of the spectrum, there are many dogs who love them and wag in happy anticipation, eager to wear them. Understanding why dogs hate collars helps to better understand their behavior and the steps needed to help them get used to wearing a collar and harness.
Lack of Habituation
In general, all animals have evolved to be wary of their surroundings and skeptical of any novelty or change in their environment. This is an adaptive trait that can affect life and death in the wild.
Imagine if African herbivores were not vigilant while sipping from a river, many carnivores might be waiting for the perfect time to dine. From a survival standpoint, a lack of vigilance can easily be costly.
Although dogs are now domesticated and fed coarse ground food in shiny bowls, they still retain instincts that allow them to be aware of their surroundings and pay attention to anything new or different. It is therefore normal for dogs to respond to new sounds, strange creatures, or simple things (such as feeling something strange on their neck).
While this exposure may initially be perceived as frightening, the good news is that through repeated exposure, new things begin to be perceived as non-threatening, and therefore the initial startle response should disappear. Thus, soon, your dog should begin to classify such exposures as harmless or even safe. This process is known as habituation.
However, the problem begins when the dog fails to adapt to something and eventually becomes sensitive. In other words, they become worse rather than better. So instead of getting used to wearing the collar through repeated exposure, they keep withdrawing and reacting more and more strongly.
Picking an appropriate collar
It’s not just legal restraints that you need to get a Kuoser collar for your dog. A collar can help you control your dog.
In their minds, they may increasingly convince themselves that the collar should not be around their neck and should be removed immediately. If these dogs are able to actually remove the collar, their panic and attempts to remove it are reinforced, resulting in a pattern that repeats itself over time.
Lack of early exposure
Ideally, breeders should have their puppies wear collars from an early age. Often, this can start while the puppy is still in the litter. In fact, many breeders have puppies wear special colored puppy collars for identification purposes (to distinguish between puppies that usually look similar). This provides a good start to getting puppies used to wearing collars.
If your breeder hasn’t gotten your dog used to wearing a collar by the time they get your dog to your new home, not everything is lost. You’ll get a better start if you start getting your puppy used to the collar before he’s 12 weeks old. In fact, during this time, puppies are better at learning and accepting stimuli around them.
Tactile sensitivity in dogs
Sensory hypersensitivity is a term used to describe hypersensitivity to stimuli associated with senses such as hearing and touch. Hypersensitivity to touch is known professionally as “tactile hypersensitivity”.
How to properly select a collar
According to heararound, you need to determine your environment and the breed of your dog. Different collars meet different needs.
Affected dogs may flinch, cower or even act defensively when touched. This may be due to some underlying medical problem, a low threshold for disturbance (for example, when the dog is sleeping or resting), or simply a learned reaction due to some negative experience in the past.
Once again, good breeders will usually get their puppies used to being touched. They will weigh their puppies, get their puppies used to having their paws and feet stroked, pet them and get them used to veterinary exams.
Once adopted and placed in a new home, puppies should continue to be handled by their new owners to keep them working well.
Sometimes something may have happened that caused the dog to be afraid of the collar. For example, maybe their paw got stuck in the collar, maybe they were frightened by the tension of the leash they were attached to, or maybe a shock collar was used in the past.