Teach Your Dog Not to Get Scared of His Collar With These Easy Steps!

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If you have a dog who gets scared of his collar, you might wonder how to help him overcome this fear. Collar fear is a common problem that can affect dogs of any age, breed, or size. It can make it difficult to put on or remove the collar, leash, or harness and cause stress and anxiety for your dog.

Whatever the reason for your dog’s collar fear, you can help him overcome it with patience and positive reinforcement. In this blog post, we will show you how to teach your dog not to get scared of his collar in four easy steps and give you some additional tips and examples along the way.

Teach Your Dog Not To Get Scared Of His Collar

Understanding Your Dog’s Fear

Before diving into the training techniques, it’s important to understand why your dog may be afraid of his collar. Dogs can develop fear or anxiety due to various reasons. It’s crucial to approach the training process with empathy and a calm demeanor to help your dog feel safe and secure.

Collar fear can have many causes:

  • Negative associations with the collar, such as being yanked, choked, or punished with it
  • Lack of socialization or exposure to the collar as a puppy
  • Traumatic experiences with the collar, such as getting tangled, injured, or lost with it
  • Sensitivity to the sound, smell, or feel of the collar
  • Medical issues that make the collar uncomfortable or painful

With that said, here are a few steps that you can follow to teach your dog not to get scared of his collar.

Step 1: Choose a Comfortable and Suitable 

Collar for Your Dog

The first step to help your dog overcome collar fear is to choose a comfortable and suitable collar for him. Not all collars are created equal; some may be more appropriate for your dog’s size, shape, and personality than others.

For example, if your dog has a thick or long coat, avoid collars that are too tight or have metal buckles that can get caught in his fur. 

If your dog has a sensitive neck or a history of choking, avoid collars that are too thin or have prongs or spikes that can hurt him. If your dog is easily distracted or reactive, consider avoiding collars that have bells, tags, or other noisy or shiny elements that can trigger him.

Instead, look for collars that are:

  • Soft and flexible
  • Adjustable and easy to put on and take off
  • Made of breathable and durable materials
  • Appropriate for your dog’s breed and weight
  • Simple and plain

Consider alternative options to collars, such as harnesses or head halters. These can offer more control and comfort for your dog without putting pressure on his neck. 

Some dogs may benefit from using a halo collar instead of a regular one. A halo collar is a smart device that uses GPS technology and gentle feedback to keep your dog safe within a virtual fence. You can read more about halo collar reviews here.

Keep in mind that some dogs may also be scared of these devices, so you will need to follow the same steps to desensitize them.

Step 2: Introduce the Collar to Your Dog in a Positive Way

The next step is to introduce the collar to your dog in a positive way. This means that you want to create a positive association between the collar and something that your dog loves, such as treats, toys, praise, or play.

To do this, you will need to:

  1. Start with a low-stress environment where your dog feels safe and relaxed.
  2. Show your dog the collar and let him sniff it without putting it on him.
  3. Reward your dog with a treat whenever he looks at or touches the collar.
  4. Repeat this process several times until your dog shows interest and curiosity in the collar.
  5. Gradually move the collar closer to your dog’s neck and reward him for allowing it.
  6. Gently touch your dog’s neck with the collar and reward him for staying calm.
  7. Slowly place the collar around your dog’s neck without fastening it and reward him for accepting it.
  8. Fasten the collar loosely and reward him for wearing it.
  9. Adjust the collar to fit snugly but comfortably and reward him for tolerating it.

The key is to go at your dog’s pace and never force him to do something he is uncomfortable with. If your dog shows any signs of fear or discomfort, such as:

  • Pulling away
  • Hiding
  • Shaking
  • Whining
  • Growling
  • Biting

You should stop immediately and go back a step. You want to make this a positive and fun experience for your dog, not a scary or painful one.

Step 3: Increase the Duration and Frequency of Wearing the Collar

Once your dog is comfortable with wearing the collar for a few seconds at a time, you can start increasing the duration and frequency of wearing it. This will help your dog get used to having something around his neck and learn that it is not a threat.

To do this, you will need to:

  1. Continue rewarding your dog with treats every time he wears the collar.
  2. Gradually extend the time he wears the collar from seconds to minutes.
  3. Vary the times and places he wears the collar from indoors to outdoors.
  4. Add distractions and challenges like noises, people, animals, or objects while he wears the collar.
  5. Remove the collar periodically and reward him for being calm.

The goal is to make wearing the collar a normal part of your dog’s routine, not something he associates with negative outcomes. You want him to feel confident and happy while wearing it.

Step 4: Attach a Leash or Harness to the Collar

The final step is to attach a leash or harness to the collar and teach your dog how to walk with it. This will allow you to take your dog out for walks safely and enjoyably.

To do this you will need to:

  • Follow the same steps as before to introduce the leash or harness to your dog in a positive way.
  • Start with short walks in familiar areas with few distractions or triggers.
  • Reward your dog with treats whenever he walks nicely with you without pulling or resisting.
  • Gradually increase the length and difficulty of walks as your dog becomes more comfortable.

Additional Tips and Examples

Here are some additional tips and examples that can help you teach your dog not to get scared of his collar:

1. Be Patient and Consistent

Every dog is different. Depending on his history and personality, it may take weeks or months for your dog to overcome his fear of his collar. Be patient and celebrate every little achievement. 

Avoid rushing the process, as it can create more anxiety. Allow your dog to set the pace and gradually increase exposure and comfort levels until he shows no signs of fear.

2. Be Positive and Encouraging

Besides the steps mentioned earlier, you can incorporate positive association techniques to alleviate your dog’s fear further. Use a cheerful tone of voice and body language when interacting with your dog. 

Avoid yelling, scolding, or punishing him for being afraid. This will only make him more fearful and distrustful of you. For example, you can pair the collar with activities your dog loves, such as going for a walk or receiving a belly rub. This helps your dog associate the collar with enjoyable experiences, reinforcing positive emotions.

3. Break the Training Into Small Steps

If your dog’s fear is severe, consider breaking the training into smaller steps. For instance, you can start by having the collar nearby during playtime and gradually move closer to get your pet comfortable around it. 

Breaking the training into manageable increments allows your dog to build confidence gradually and reduces overwhelming feelings.

4. Provide Distractions

Distractions can be helpful during the collar introduction and wearing process. Engage your dog using interactive toys, puzzle games, or obedience training sessions to redirect his attention and create positive associations. 

He will be less likely to fixate on the collar if you keep your dog mentally stimulated and focused on enjoyable activities.

5. Reward Calm Behavior

When your dog exhibits calm behavior with the collar, reward and praise him. This can be via treats, verbal encouragement, or extra affection. 

Consistently reinforcing calm behavior reinforces positive habits and strengthens your bond with your furry friend.

6. Be Creative and Flexible

Try different types of collars, leashes, harnesses, treats, toys, games, etc., until you find what works best for your dog. Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with him.

7. Seek Professional Help

If your dog’s fear persists or worsens despite your efforts, consider seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer or a veterinarian experienced in behavior modification.


Trying to teach your dog not to get scared of his collar requires patience, understanding, and consistent training. By gradually introducing the collar, utilizing desensitization techniques, and reinforcing positive associations, you can help your furry friend overcome his fear. 

Remember to celebrate small victories during the process and seek professional help if needed. With time and dedication, you and your dog can enjoy a stress-free collar experience, making daily routines more enjoyable for both of you.

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