What to Do if Your Dog Hates Wearing a Collar

What to Do if Your Dog Hates Wearing a Collar

Dog collars may not be suitable for all dogs, particularly those with certain health or behavioral issues. For example, dogs with respiratory problems, neck injuries, or a predisposition to conditions like a collapsed trachea may benefit more from a harness, which distributes pressure away from the neck. Additionally, dogs that pull excessively on walks might also be better suited to a harness to avoid strain on their neck and throat. However, for dogs without these concerns, a properly fitted collar is often suitable and can be a simple and effective way to attach identification and leash for daily walks.

Why are dog collars not suitable for all dogs?

Dog collars are not suitable for all dogs due to various factors related to the dog’s health, behavior, and physical characteristics. Here are key considerations to determine if a collar is suitable for your dog:

Health Concerns

  • Respiratory Issues: For dogs with tracheal collapse or other respiratory problems, collars can exacerbate these conditions by putting pressure on the throat. Such dogs are better suited to harnesses that distribute pressure away from the neck.
  • Neck Injuries: Dogs with a history of neck injuries or cervical spine issues should avoid collars to prevent aggravation of these conditions.

Behavioral Factors

  • Pulling: Dogs that pull vigorously on the leash may experience neck strain or injury from a collar. A harness can help manage pulling more safely by redistributing the force.
  • Training Needs: While collars can be effective for training certain behaviors, they may not provide the control or safety needed for dogs that are large, strong, or particularly reactive.

Physical Characteristics

  • Small Breeds and Puppies: Small dogs and puppies with delicate necks are at risk of injury from collars. A harness is often a safer choice.
  • Brachycephalic Breeds: Dogs with short noses (like pugs and bulldogs) often have compromised airways, making collars less suitable due to the risk of obstructed breathing.

Preferences and Comfort

  • Sensitivity: Some dogs are sensitive to having anything around their necks, either due to past trauma or general discomfort. These dogs may respond better to a harness.
  • Fit Issues: Finding a well-fitting collar can be challenging for dogs with unique body shapes, such as greyhounds or other sighthounds, who often have necks wider than their heads.

Alternatives and Combinations

  • Identification: Collars are essential for holding ID tags. For dogs that cannot wear a collar comfortably, using a harness with an attached tag or a microchip can provide identification.
  • Combination Use: Many dog owners use both a collar for identification and a harness for walking to balance the benefits of each.

Why Some Dogs Dislike Collars

It’s not just a fashion faux pas—some dogs genuinely feel uncomfortable or anxious with a collar around their neck. Whether it’s the new sensation, a past bad experience, or just plain stubbornness, every dog has their reason.

Identifying the root cause of your dog’s discomfort is the first step towards a solution.

For some, it could be the texture or weight of the collar that irks them. Others might be sensitive to the sound of tags jingling. And let’s not forget the little Houdinis who view every collar as a puzzle to escape from!

How to train my dog to like dog collars?

Training your dog to like wearing a collar involves patience, positive reinforcement, and gradual introduction. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help your dog get comfortable with a collar:

1. Choose the Right Collar

  • Select a lightweight, comfortable collar made from soft material. Ensure it’s the correct size, allowing you to fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck.

2. Familiarization

  • Let your dog sniff and explore the collar. Place it near their bed or play area to associate it with familiar and positive settings.
  • Reward your dog with treats or praise when they show interest in the collar without showing signs of fear or discomfort.

3. Gradual Introduction

  • Start by placing the collar on your dog for short periods while at home. Do this during positive activities like feeding or playing to create a positive association.
  • Gradually increase the time your dog wears the collar each day.

4. Positive Reinforcement

  • Every time you put the collar on, reward your dog with treats, affection, or a favorite toy. This helps build a positive connection with the collar.
  • Continue giving treats and praise intermittently while the collar is on to reinforce the positive experience.

5. Training and Consistency

  • Use training sessions to practice putting the collar on and taking it off. Make these sessions short and positive with lots of rewards.
  • Be consistent in your approach to help your dog learn that the collar is a normal part of their routine.

6. Watch for Discomfort

  • Regularly check the fit of the collar to ensure it remains comfortable and not too tight or loose.
  • Look for any signs of irritation or discomfort, such as scratching or rubbing, and adjust as necessary.

7. Patience and Persistence

  • Some dogs may take more time to adjust to wearing a collar, especially if they have had negative experiences in the past. Be patient and keep the training sessions positive and stress-free.

By following these steps and maintaining a calm, positive approach, you can help your dog become comfortable and even happy wearing a collar. It’s important to remember that every dog is different, and adapting the process to your dog’s specific needs and pace will yield the best results.

What’s best to wear out and about for different dogs?

When deciding what’s best for different dogs to wear out and about, it’s important to consider the dog’s size, breed, behavior, health, and the activity involved. Here’s a guide to help you choose the right gear for various types of dogs:

Small Breeds and Puppies

  • Small Harness: Ideal for small dogs and puppies due to their delicate necks. A soft, adjustable harness helps distribute pressure evenly and prevents injuries.
  • Small Collar: For identification purposes, a lightweight collar with ID tags is suitable, but avoid using it for leash attachment if the dog pulls.

Active and Energetic Dogs

  • Y-Harness: Provides freedom of movement, especially important for active dogs engaged in running, hiking, or agility training. It allows for more natural motion and prevents chafing.
  • Reflective Collar: A robust collar with reflective features is good for visibility during outdoor activities, especially in low light, but pair it with a harness for better control.
No Pull Dog Harness


It is very easy to wear and simple structure, not as big as H-type binding for dogs, very suitable for climbing or travelling.

Reflective Collar

It is made of strong material with reflective strips for safety at night.

Reflective Dog Collar

Large Breeds

  • No-Pull Harness: Essential for large dogs that pull, as it offers better control without straining the neck. Look for harnesses with front and back attachment points.
  • Strong Collar: A sturdy collar for ID tags and brief control moments, but rely on the harness for walks to manage the dog’s strength safely.

Dogs with Health Concerns

  • Step-In or Vest Harness: Recommended for dogs with respiratory issues, tracheal collapse, or spine problems. These harnesses ensure no pressure on the neck and are easy to wear.
  • Soft Collar: Use only for carrying ID tags, and ensure it’s loose enough to avoid any pressure on the neck.
No Pull Dog Harness

Step in dog harness

Soft Collar

Neoprene Dog Collar

Well-Trained Dogs

  • Flat Collar: Can be sufficient for well-behaved dogs that do not pull and respond well to minimal guidance.
  • Harness for Safety: Even well-trained dogs can benefit from a harness in unfamiliar or highly stimulating environments to ensure safety and control.

Brachycephalic Breeds

  • Mesh Breathable Harness: A must for breeds like pugs and bulldogs to avoid any restriction on their already compromised airways.
  • Small Collar: Use a loose, comfortable collar strictly for identification purposes, not for leash attachment.


Helping your dog get comfortable with a collar is a journey of understanding, patience, and positive reinforcement. By addressing their discomfort, choosing the right materials, and using rewards effectively, you can transform collar time from dreaded to anticipated.

QQPETS is the leading wholesale dog harness manufacturer of adjustable harnesses for dogs and other items that people may use when walking their dogs. Our goal is to make dog walking easy for pet owners by providing valuable accessories. We offer a variety of customization services including custom logos, custom graphics, custom products and more. If you want to start your dog products business, check out our website and contact us today.

FAQ about Dog Collar

  1. Does your dog wear a collar in the house? Many owners choose to keep a collar on their dog inside the house primarily for identification purposes, especially if there’s a risk of the dog escaping. However, it’s important to ensure the collar is comfortable and not too tight.
  2. Do dogs feel weird when you take their collar off? Some dogs might initially feel strange when you remove their collar because they are accustomed to its weight and presence. However, most dogs quickly adapt to the change and may even enjoy the feeling of freedom.
  3. Do dog collars bother dogs? Collars can bother dogs if they are too tight, poorly fitted, or made from irritating materials. It’s crucial to choose a collar that fits well and is comfortable for your dog to prevent discomfort.
  4. How do dogs feel about their collars? Many dogs are indifferent to their collars, especially if they have worn them from a young age and they are comfortable. For some dogs, their collar can become a part of their routine and identity, often associated with positive experiences like walks.
  5. 5 Ways Collars Can Harm Your Dog:
    • Pressure on the Neck: Tight collars can put undue pressure on a dog’s throat, especially in breeds prone to tracheal collapse.
    • Skin Irritation and Hair Loss: Poorly fitted collars can cause chafing, irritation, or even hair loss due to constant friction.
    • Restricted Breathing: Too tight collars can impede a dog’s ability to breathe properly, particularly in brachycephalic breeds.
    • Injuries from Getting Caught: Collars can get caught on objects, leading to potential strangulation or injury if the dog is unable to free itself.
    • Behavioral Issues: Uncomfortable collars can lead to stress and anxiety in dogs, sometimes manifesting in behavioral problems.

Article by

Kyra Luo

Product Design Manager

Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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Kyra Luo

Product Design Manager

Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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