Getting your dog used to its collar and leash

Start as you mean to go on.

If want to eventually take your new pup on the trails and walkways it's important for them to learn to walk with a collar and leash. Whilst it'll be fun for them to be off leash there will also be times where it is not safe or appropriate for them to be off-lead.

So until the puppy has learned to accept the collar and leash, it will be really difficult to perform any additional training.

Getting the right collar

The first step toward getting your puppy or dog to accept the collar and lead is to find a collar that fits properly.

A bit like Goldilocks... It's important that the collar isn't too light nor too heavy, neither too thin nor too thick. A collar that is too light for the dog can be easily broken, while a collar that is too heavy may be uncomfortable for the puppy to wear. It is also important that the width of the collar be just the right size for the dog (porridge anyone?).

Determining the proper length of the collar is relatively easy. Simply wrap a tape measure or a string lightly around the dog’s neck to get an accurate measurement. It is important that the tape measure not be tight, just slightly snug.  

Most collars are sized in two inch increments, so you may have to round up to get a properly sized collar. For instance, if the dog has a 13” neck, you would buy a 14” collar, and so on.

Once you have purchased the perfect collar, the next step is to put it on your furry friend and allow him to wear it around the house. Do not be dismayed if they whine, paw at the collar or give you the puppy dog eyes 'mummy take this off'. Totally normal behaviour! Don't worry, they'll soon get used to it.

Also remember that collars can get caught so remove them when you're not in sight.

The leash, the lead
(what do you call it?)

Once you've nailed the collar, it's now time to start introducing the leash. A lightweight leash works best at first. Simply attach the leash to the collar and let him to walk around the house with it. Make sure they are supervised during this process in order to make sure he does not get the it caught on anything.

Creating 'happy' associations.

Getting the leash caught or snagged could frighten the dog and create a leash phobia that will be hard to overcome. In the beginning, the leash should only be attached for a few minutes at a time. It is important to attach the leash at happy times, such as playtime, meal time, etc. It is important for the dog to associate the leash with happy things.

When the leash is not attached to the dog, it is a good idea to keep it near the dog’s food and water bowls. The dog should be encouraged to investigate the leash, and to discover that it is not something to fear.

Once pooch grows in confidence, take the end of the leash in your hand and just hold it. Allow them to walk around allow him to react and move as he desires. The goal of this exercise is to simply allow him to get used to the feel of the collar and the leash.


It is important to allow the puppy plenty of time to get used to wearing the collar and leash before ever attempting to lead the puppy.

It is best to do this at home or other environment where the puppy feels safe and secure. Once comfortable and content walking on the leash in the home, it can slowly be taken outside. It is best to make these outside trips very short at the beginning, and to lengthen them slowly over time. Some puppies take to the collar and leash immediately, while others may require some additional time. A little patience may be required!

Do you have any other tips or ideas? How quickly did your dog take to the lead or is it still a struggle?

Leave us a comment below.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published