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.

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40 Comments

  1. Knock on wood, I haven’t had a puppy that hated their collar. They have scratched at it for the first day or so, but nothing major. These tips will come in handy though if we do get a puppy that hates their collar.

    1. It can be frustrating if your puppy hates his collar. Derby tried over and over again to chew his collar. He mostly got a hold of his tags and pretty much destroyed his GDA tag.

  2. My 6 month old labradoodle bites his leash. Every time I take him out he starts biting it. He’s chewed through 2 leashes which broke the first time he took off after a rabbit, cat, squirrel, bird. I’ve tried spraying the sour apple spray on it, but I’m pretty sure that’s his favorite flavor. Lol.
    Please help. He cannot go outside without a leash. We live too close to a busy street.
    Thank you.

  3. We have a little schnauzer 8months old and when we put a collar on he lies down and in some cases he is rubbing his head on the carpet, jump on the couch and hide under the pillows on the couch, this is such straing thing to see. He does walk on a leashe.We tried this from very small puppie and thought it will change by getting older —— NOW NOT AT ALL He gets totally passive and does not want to go for a walk poo or whee~whee. We stay in a complex and he need to ware a collar and name tag. Is it something that happen with Burth
    What can we do he is such a sweety at all times. We stay is South Africa. Trust i will get answers,

  4. I’m in the same predicament as many of the responses I have read. I have an eight week old 2 pound puppy, since she is so small housebreaking will be an issue. She’s doing very well but I want her on a leash; had to do the caller first. She absolutely hates the collar. She curls up and goes to sleep as soon as I put it on and she won’t move. Your site was the first when I read about “leave it on” I guess I’m writing just asking for reassurance. Thank you

    1. We raise mostly larger puppies Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers, but we’ve always just left the collar on and over time they eventually get used to wearing it.

  5. I have an 8 week old puppy that is still getting used to his collar- I leave it on all day (when he isn’t in the crate) and take it off at night when he goes in, but he scratches at it all the time, and today I noticed that his hair is starting fall out in the spots he is scrating. Any other suggestions? I know he will get used to it eventually, but I don’t want him to go bald around his neck during the process. Help me!

    1. In order to prevent his hair falling out, there a few things you can do. 1. Give him coconut oil in his food and rub it on his fur. He should probably have about a tablespoon at dinner and have the oil rubbed on him about once a week or so. When rubbing it on his fur, do not go so crazy! It will irritate his skin if you do this too often or use too much. 2. Get a new, soft collar and make sure it is loose enough. You could also just make sure that his current one is loose enough. It should be tight enough that he cannot slip it over his head, but loose enough that you can stick a few of your fingers through. 3. He might even not be itching because of the collar! Make sure he gets all his vaccines and is put on all the essential flea/tick medicines.

  6. Why don’t you have them wear collar during crate training?
    Ours inches at collar a lot but we’re folloing advice and just leaving it

  7. My two months old puppy hates her collar. Every time i put it on, she tends to hide herself and cries. It is like she is mad at me and does not care when i call her name. Like ignores me completely! She doesnt eat nor run around, just hides herself and becomes so silent. The longest i have put it on her is 4 hours. I couldnt stand the fact that she ignored me. So what should i do?

    1. When we bring home our guide and service dog puppies we put on their collars and don’t take them off unless we are working on crate training.

  8. My dog is 7 months old and we just got her a collar. She HATES it! She just sits around and does absolutely nothing! She won’t play fetch anymore, It’s like she’s a ststue. HELP!

    1. Sorry for the late response. It can be difficult when your puppy doesn’t like her collar, but in every case with our puppies we just left it on them and eventually they got used to wearing the collar.

    2. 7 months old! First of all, and this is for everyone as well as any future pups you may get, MAKE SURE YOUR DOG GETS A COLLAR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!! All my dogs have gotten their collar within a week of bringing them home! This helps them get used to it quickly, because they are not old and stubborn. When they are puppies, they do not really know what to do, so you have to guide him/her into getting used to the collar.

      1. I just got a Maltipom. He hated his light weight collar. He’s only 7 weeks. Should I just keep it on him. He doesn’t like sweaters too. He’s only 3.4 lbs

        1. I’ve been lucky to raise my last few puppies from birth and have a collar on them from the day they are born. Yes, when I get a puppy at around 7-8 weeks of age I usually just put the collar on them and only remove it when I’m crate training. Good luck with your new puppy.

  9. Our new puppy was doing great letting us know when she needed to go outside, as soon as I put that collar on her she started going in the house. The puppy just cries and whines. We are getting ready to go on vacation and I need her to wear her harness so she can be walked during potty breaks. Any suggestions?

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! It’s difficult to tell what’s going on with your puppy without being able to witness first hand. When we work with our own puppies we will put on their collar and leave it on at all times except when we are crate training. Most of our pups adapt quickly to their new collars, but some do take longer than others. Hopefully this helps. Good luck with your training!

  10. When we first got our puppy, she hated her collar. She just moped around for 2-3 days because of her collar. When I asked you what I should do, your advice was to just keep it on and that she’ll get used to it. You were right! Thank you for the great advice.

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