Putting a collar on your puppy for the first time is an exciting moment. It represents that this is your puppy and that there will be many future outings and special occasions you will share together.
Your puppy, however, may not be so enamoured of their collar when they first wear one. Pups will often try to drag their collar over their necks or get it into their mouth to chew, a potential hazard, as the collar can get stuck around their jaws. It is important that your puppy wears the correct type and size of collar. Knowing how to select and fit a collar will ensure your puppy remains safe and happy.
Choosing and fitting a puppy collar
A whole range of fashionable collars is available for your puppy (check out the Purina PetLife range). You can choose these based on fabric (leather, suede, elastic), design (metal buckles,clasps) and colour.
Young pups require a light collar, one which does not weigh their necks down or cause annoying rubbing against their skin. Leather collars may be more durable than nylon ones but pups may be tempted to chew them. If your pup swims a lot or is into rough and tumble games with other pups, you may find that their collar needs replacing quite often. Puppies grow quickly, so be prepared to purchase several collars in the first year of your puppy’s life or choose one that will accommodate growth.
Your puppy’s collar should fit snugly. Too loose and they will pull it off. Too tight and it will cut into their skin and annoy them. You should be able to fit two fingers comfortably under the collar when it is fastened.
If you are unsure which collar will fit your puppy, measure your puppy’s neck and check the collar’s packaging for the correct size. Remember to check your puppy’s collar periodically to ensure that it still fits. If it is too tight, either loosen it or purchase another larger one as your pup grows.
Collars – A legal requirement
It is a legal requirement to identify your dog and so you should attach an id tag on to your dog’s collar. This applies even if your dog is microchipped and registered. While your puppy does not have to wear a collar at home, it is advisable to have the collar on at all times, just in case your precious pup should escape.
The identification tag should have your puppy’s name and your contact details. Both a home and a mobile telephone number are ideal, as anyone who finds your pup can then contact you, even if you are on holiday.
Collars can get pretty dirty, especially if your dog likes to roll in the mud! You may like to wash your collar occasionally to keep them smelling fresh and leather collars may need special conditioners to keep them supple.
In addition to making sure your puppy’s collar fits as they grow, it is vital to periodically check that they still have their identification tags attached.
The pup who dislikes their collar
If your puppy objects to their collar, take it off and start at the beginning again. Place the collar on the floor in front of your puppy and when they sniff it, give them a treat. Place the collar on their neck but don’t fasten it. Again give them a treat. Quickly fasten the collar around their neck, give them a treat and take it off again. Progress like this and soon your puppy will love having their collar on.
About Dr Joanne Righetti
Dr Joanne Righetti is an animal behaviourist, educating the public and professionals in all aspects of the human–animal relationship. Her background is in zoology, with a PhD in animal behaviour and a counselling diploma – qualifications which enable her to work with all sorts of animals – including the human variety! Joanne likes to help pet owners understand their pet's behaviour and solve any pet behaviour problems. She also consults to a variety of organisations including non-profit organisations, commercial companies and councils and is involved in a variety of media including regular spots on radio. Joanne is an honorary associate of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Sydney. Find out more about Joanne at www.petproblemsolved.com.au