Puppy hides when collar is put on
by Chris Bartholomew
My mom and dad brought home a border collie pup (8 weeks old). He is very active and playful until they try to put his collar on on him - he has never had a collar or or ribbon around his neck. When they put his collar on, he hides under chairs or anywhere he can.
He also rubs his neck/face where the collar is to try and get it off. He then hides and does not move. I tried to positively reinforce him when it was put on, praised and rewarded with food. He ate the food and then hid again. They also have two other dogs that he gets along great with. The breeder told them he was a sensitive dog.
I have had many pups and just recently brought home an 8 week old chocolate lab. She scratched her collar once and that was it. I have never seen this and do not know what else to try. I suggested a light ribbon at first and then move on to the collar. Please let me know your thoughts.
It's not unusual for a puppy to resent their collar at first but, as you've noticed, every puppy is different and some take longer than others to get used to it.
Puppies are unique individuals, just like people, and react accordingly. A 'sensitive puppy', may take longer to adjust to any new situation than a more confident and robust pup. Of course, that doesn't mean you should avoid new things/situations etc., just that you can realistically expect the adjustment period to be longer.
You've pretty much done the right things so far, and I would say just give it time. Definitely start with a light, soft collar as this will be less uncomfortable for the pup. A light, cotton collar is best. When you put the collar on the puppy, use a happy, confident voice and give him a treat once it's in place. Then just ignore him. If he feels that you are anxious about it, he will pick up on that and get more scared.
Let him hide, run away, whatever it is that he does, ignore it. Soon enough he will get used to the weight and feel of his collar and it won't be a big deal to him. I think it will be fine if you just give him time to adjust to things himself.
Best of luck!