Collar and harness training

Exploring the best ways to help your dog feel comfortable with wearing a collar and harness.

12th January 2024

Collar and harness training 

Through our Dog Training campaign, we’re setting you up for a better future with your pooch. In this week’s video, we’ll be exploring the best ways to help your dog feel comfortable with wearing a collar and harness.  

As paw-rents, we often take for granted that our canine companions (puppies in particular!) will accept wearing a collar as if it’s natural to them. However, equipment like collars and harnesses should be introduced gently, no-matter your dog’s age, because the sensation of wearing a new collar or harness may seem strange at first. 

But, before we introduce our best fur-iends to a collar or harness, it’s im-paw-tant that we’ve chosen the right reward for them – whether that’s treats, toys, or both! In case you haven’t yet found your pooch’s preferred style of praise, you can visit our article all about finding the right reward for your dog. 

Collar and harness training step-by-step 

Letting your canine companion take their time as you work through this training process will undoubtedly improve the bond you have with them. By exercising plenty of patience (and giving them lots of praise!), you’re allowing your pup to enjoy learning how to behave when wearing a collar and/or harness. 

Step 1 – Show your dog their new collar or harness. Provided your pooch stays calm as you introduce the collar or harness, say your chosen marker word and give them a reward. If you haven’t seen it already, our marker word training video is available here. 

Step 2 – Once you’ve successfully repeated ‘Step 1’ a few times, move the collar or harness towards your dog inch by inch, rewarding them if they stay calm.  

Step 3 – As long as your pet stays calm and is happy around the collar or harness, you can prepare them to wear it. Carefully place the collar or harness onto your dog, unfastened, for a few seconds, then remove it, before saying your marker word and rewarding them. 

Top tip: Should your dog show any signs that they’re uncomfortable (e.g., moving away from the collar or harness), slow the process down and start from ‘Step 1’ again.  

Also, if your puppy tries to chew the collar or harness, remove the item for a few seconds before trying again. 

Remember: Repetition is vital to success when training your dog! Each of the above steps should be repeated at least five times, to make sure your pup is comfortable before moving on to the next stage of training.