My Puppy Hates His Collar!? What Do I Do?

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Does your puppy hate his collar?

If you just brought your puppy home or only had him for a few days I’m guessing your answer is a resounding YES!!!

In fact, people tell me all the time in a frantic mood…”My puppy hates his collar!?  What do I do?

The answer is not that difficult: “just leave the collar on your puppy until he gets used to it.”

My puppy hates her collar. What should I do?
My puppy hates her collar. What should I do?

But he’s scratching at it, trying to bite it, chew it…he hates his collar!  In a calm voice…”leave the collar on your puppy until he gets used to it.”

Of course, make sure you have it sized properly, but besides that, you need to just sit back and let your puppy get used to his new collar.

It’s that easy, but you didn’t think that’s all I had to say about this matter did you…you’re correct!

QUICK TIP: We start our 8-week-old puppies out with a basic nylon buckle collar. See the pic of Dublin below.

My Puppy Hates His Collar!

Puppy Collars
Dublin doesn’t hate his puppy collar when he’s sleeping 🙂

I’ve been raising guide and service dog puppies for over 12 years now and every puppy I’ve ever brought home absolutely hated his collar and none more than my second guide dog puppy in training, Derby.

He didn’t just hate his collar, but he had a vengeance against his pet tags.

Here are a few things I learned about puppy collars and pet tags after raising Derby.

UPDATE: I’ve now raised several Golden Retriever litters, a German Shepherd mix litter, and a Chihuahua mix litter, and one of the things we do very early on is start training our puppies to get used to their collars. By the time our puppies go home with their puppy raisers, they have no problems wearing a collar. Unfortunately, not all litters have the advantage of being raised and trained to wear a collar.

Tips For Wearing A Puppy Collar

  • I actually learned this one before Derby. Just leave the collar on your puppy and he’ll get used to it within a few days/weeks.
  • Get a puppy collar with a buckle system. The buckle makes it easy to remove the collar when needed.
  • Make sure the collar fits properly. I usually make sure I can fit a couple of fingers under the collar while it’s on my pup’s neck. You want it tight enough so it does not slip over your pup’s head, but as mentioned you want it loose enough to fit a couple of fingers underneath while it’s on your pup’s neck.
  • Certain materials may stretch or loosen while your puppy is wearing the collar (plus your puppy will grow) so make sure you check to make sure the collar has not become to loose or tight over time.
  • Have fun with your collars! We have some seasonal collars, different designs, and materials. Have fun! Just make sure whatever you get is safe for your puppy.
Some puppies don't collars nor the jingle of the pet tag.
Some puppies don’t collars nor the jingle of the pet tag.

Tips For Wearing Pet Tags

  • Guide Dogs of America issues us school tags, but I also recommend getting a personal tag so if your puppy gets lost people can contact you. Make sure you register your puppy. You’ll receive another tag for registration.
  • Even if you have tags you should microchip your puppy. Collars/pet tags can fall off and if your puppy gets lost people will have no way of knowing how to find you.
  • Are you tired of the jingling of your puppy’s tag? Try the Pet Tag Silencer. I got a couple from our guide dog group and love them.
  • Is your puppy chewing on his tags? Derby taught me this one. While the pet tag silencer did stop the jingling of pet tags it did not deter Derby from chewing on his tags. What did I do? Simple really, I taped his pet tags to his collar with a little bit of cloth tape. No more jingling and no more chewed-up tags. A very inexpensive solution to what was at the time a big problem.
  • Have fun with your pet tags! There are different designs and materials. I also like to get tags for certain accomplishments. For instance, I bought the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) pet tag for Stetson when he passed his CGC test.

In no time your puppy will be used to wearing his brand new puppy collar and his shiny new pet tags just leave them on and they’ll get used to it.

By the way, this probably doesn’t apply to most people, but most of my puppies hate wearing their “Puppy In Training” bib/jacket a couple of my pups even chewed up the sides of the material.

I try to get my pups used to the service dog jacket by making them wear it quite often at home even before going out in public. Nowadays I keep a close eye on my pup to make sure he doesn’t chew on the material when wearing his jacket.

First things first. Make sure your puppy is comfortable wearing his collar (and service dog jacket). Once he’s used to wearing his collar you might start introducing him to other products he might need to wear during training like a leash and harness.

QUICK TIP: As mentioned earlier if you don’t like the jingling of pet tags then you can DIY it and tape them together or get a fancy pet tag silencer like the Quiet Spot Dog Tag Silencer. We got one for Stetson and his jingling pet tags.

Do you have any tips for puppies who hate their collars and pet tags?

Tell us about your experiences with puppy collars and pet tags.

Yellow Lab puppy, Adelle taking a nap.
Does your puppy hate her collar?

UPDATE: This post was originally published March 6th, 2012. We made some updates and left some of the content the same. We’ve learned a lot over the years and it reflects in the new information.

Top Picks For Our Puppies

    We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
    We Like: Mighty Paw Naturals Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
    We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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  1. I’m having this same problem with my Shih Tzu cross. She’s 3 months, fully vaccinated and we’ve had her 3 weeks. She was a bundle of love, fun and energy – until we introduced ‘The Collar’. We’re now on our 3rd attempt but it’s like she turns into a different animal. Whenever she or we get her on her feet she panics and runs to a safe space (den, blanket, long grass) and lays down. She obviously itches it a lot also. We’ve left it on for a day and half now. She will go for walks and likes that. And she’ll play with new people and dogs. But, when she’s just with me around the house she mopes around, sleep most of the day, doesn’t play at all. It’s so upsetting to see. I intend to persevere with it but I do worry that she’s now losing weight, hair and confidence because of stress.

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