When Should You Put a Collar on a Dog?

When Should You Put a Collar on a Dog?

Ever found yourself wondering, “When should I put a collar on my dog?” It’s like asking when to give your kid their first smartphone—it’s a big step! A collar is more than a fashion statement; it’s a badge of canine adulthood, a key to the wider world, and sometimes a gentle guide for your four-legged friend.

The right time to introduce a collar is when your puppy is ready to start learning about the world outside their cozy home. This is usually around 8 to 10 weeks old, once they’re beginning to socialize and explore more actively.

Let’s dive into the world of dog collars and discover the best practices for introducing this essential accessory to your furry companion!

How do I get my puppy to wear a dog collar?

Introducing a puppy to a dog collar requires patience and positive reinforcement. Here’s how you can help your puppy get used to wearing a collar:

1. Choose the Right Collar

  • Select a lightweight, soft material collar that is appropriate for your puppy’s size. Ensure it’s adjustable to accommodate their growth.
  • Make sure the collar fits properly; you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and the puppy’s neck.

One of the main advantages of a flat collar is the ability to secure an identification tag. This is vital for puppies as they are naturally curious and may wander off. A collar with an identification tag ensures that it is easier to identify and return the puppy if it wanders off; it is also ideal for basic leash training; it is usually lightweight and less intimidating for the puppy to wear than bulky carriers or other types of collars; it is made of a soft material that is gentle on the puppy’s developing skin and coat; and it can be put on and taken off straight away, making it very easy to use, which is good for both the puppy and the owner. The adjustability of flat collars is a great advantage. They can be easily adjusted to accommodate your puppy’s growth, ensuring that they are always worn appropriately during the first few months of your puppy’s development.

2. Familiarize Your Puppy with the Collar

  • Let your puppy sniff and investigate the collar before putting it on them. Place it near their favorite spots or during playtime to create positive associations.
  • You might also place the collar near their food bowl during meal times to associate it with positive experiences.

3. Gradual Introduction

  • Start by placing the collar on your puppy for short periods while they are calm and distracted, like during feeding or play.
  • Gradually increase the time the collar is worn each day, ensuring the puppy remains comfortable and stress-free.

4. Positive Reinforcement

  • Reward your puppy with treats, praise, or play whenever you put on the collar. This helps them associate the collar with positive outcomes.
  • Continue offering treats and affection while the collar is on to reinforce the positive association.

5. Monitor and Adjust

  • Regularly check the fit of the collar as your puppy grows and adjust as necessary to ensure it remains comfortable.
  • Look for signs of discomfort such as scratching at the collar, whining, or trying to remove it, and adjust your approach if needed.

6. Be Patient and Consistent

  • Some puppies may take longer to get used to wearing a collar. Maintain a calm, positive approach and never force the collar on your puppy.
  • Consistency is key; make putting on and wearing the collar a regular part of your puppy’s routine.

By following these steps and being patient, you can help your puppy learn to wear a collar comfortably and safely, setting the foundation for future training and walks.

When can I start training my dog to go out for a dog walk?

You can start training your dog to go out for a walk as soon as they have settled into your home and begun their basic obedience training. Here’s a general guideline on how to approach this:

1. Puppy Vaccinations

  • For puppies, it’s crucial to wait until they have received all their initial vaccinations before taking them out for walks in public places. This typically occurs around 12 to 16 weeks of age. Before this, you can start leash training indoors or in a private, safe area like your backyard.

2. Indoor and Backyard Training

  • Begin leash training indoors or in your own yard as early as 8 weeks old. Use this time to get your puppy or dog used to wearing a collar or harness and responding to basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.”

3. Short, Positive Experiences

  • Once fully vaccinated, start with short walks in a quiet, low-distraction area. Keep these initial outings brief and positive, focusing on reinforcing good behavior with treats and praise.

4. Build Duration and Distance Gradually

  • Gradually increase the length and complexity of the walks as your dog becomes more comfortable and better behaved on the leash. Always adjust the pace and distance based on your dog’s age, breed, and stamina.

5. Consistency and Patience

  • Regular, consistent walks help establish a routine and reinforce training. Be patient, as some dogs may take longer to get used to the idea of walking calmly on a leash.

By starting early and progressing gradually, you can help ensure that your dog learns to enjoy walks and behaves well on the leash.

How to train your dog to understand basic commands like ‘sit’, ‘stand’ and ‘come’?

Training your dog to respond to basic commands like “sit,” “stand,” and “come” involves consistent, positive reinforcement. Here’s how you can effectively teach these commands:

1. Training “Sit”

  • Get Your Dog’s Attention: Have treats ready and ensure your dog is focused on you.
  • Lure and Command: Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose and slowly move it back over their head. As their head follows the treat, their bottom should naturally lower into a sitting position.
  • Mark and Reward: As soon as your dog sits, say “sit,” give the treat, and praise them. Repeat this several times until your dog begins to understand the association between the command and the action.

2. Training “Stand”

  • Start from Sit or Down: If your dog is sitting or lying down, you can teach them to stand by using a treat to lure them.
  • Lure with a Treat: Hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose and slowly move it away from them, encouraging them to stand up to follow the treat.
  • Mark and Reward: As soon as your dog stands, say “stand,” give the treat, and praise them. Practice this several times until your dog understands the command.

3. Training “Come”

  • Start in a Distraction-Free Area: Begin in a quiet room or enclosed yard where your dog can focus on you.
  • Use a Happy Voice: Call your dog to you with a cheerful voice and the command “come.” You can use their name before the command to get their attention.
  • Reward Upon Arrival: When your dog comes to you, immediately reward them with treats and praise. If they don’t come immediately, show them the treat to encourage movement towards you.
  • Gradually Increase Difficulty: Once your dog reliably responds in a quiet area, gradually practice in places with more distractions and over longer distances.

General Training Tips

  • Consistency: Use the same command and reward system every time. This helps your dog learn faster.
  • Short Sessions: Keep training sessions short (5-10 minutes) to maintain your dog’s attention and interest.
  • Patience and Positivity: Always use positive reinforcement with treats and praise. Avoid punishment or negative reactions if your dog makes a mistake, as this can cause confusion or fear.
  • Practice Daily: Regular, brief practice helps reinforce learning and improve your dog’s response to commands.

By following these steps and remaining consistent and positive in your approach, you’ll help your dog learn basic commands effectively, strengthening your bond and enhancing their obedience.

When to use a dog collar?

Using a dog collar is appropriate and beneficial in several situations, given its versatility and the essential role it plays in a dog’s life. Here are key scenarios when a dog collar is particularly useful:

  1. Identification and Safety: A collar is essential for holding ID tags, which include your dog’s name, your contact information, and any necessary medical details. This is crucial if your dog ever gets lost, as it can significantly increase the chances of a safe return.
  2. Training: For basic obedience training, especially for well-behaved dogs that do not have issues with pulling or neck sensitivity, a flat collar can be effective. It allows for gentle corrections and communication during training sessions.
  3. Quick Bathroom Breaks and Leash Training: For quick outings, such as bathroom breaks or short walks where your dog behaves well on a leash, a collar can be more convenient than putting on a full harness.
  4. Veterinary Visits and Public Outings: When visiting the vet or going to public places where your dog needs to be under control but isn’t expected to pull or be overly active, a collar provides a simple and effective way to attach a leash.
  5. Home Use: Inside the home, a collar is useful for attaching a leash quickly if needed, for brief moments of control, or when training indoors.

While collars are versatile, it’s essential to choose the right type and size for your dog’s comfort and safety, and to use them appropriately based on your dog’s behavior and health needs. For dogs that pull or have neck or respiratory issues, a harness might be a better choice during walks.

Which dog collar is better for training?

The choice of a dog collar for training depends on the specific needs of the dog, the type of training, and the trainer’s experience. Here are some common types of collars used for training and their suitability for different situations:

  • Martingale Collars: These are often recommended for training because they provide gentle correction without the harshness of choke chains. They tighten slightly when the dog pulls but stop at a predetermined point, preventing escape without choking. They are especially good for dogs whose heads are smaller than their necks or for those prone to slipping out of regular collars.
  • Flat Collars: A basic flat collar is suitable for basic obedience training, especially for puppies and dogs that do not have issues with pulling. They are good for teaching commands and leash manners in a gentle manner.
  • Head Halters: For dogs that pull or are difficult to control, a head halter can be a good training tool. It controls the head and, by extension, the body, allowing for gentle direction and correction. It’s particularly effective for larger breeds or dogs with strong pulling habits.
  • Choke Chains and Prong Collars: These are more controversial and should be used with caution and expertise. They provide a strong correction when a dog pulls or misbehaves but can be harmful if not used correctly. These are typically used for more challenging behavioral issues and should only be used under the guidance of an experienced trainer.
  • Clicker Training with Any Collar: Often, the best training involves positive reinforcement rather than correction. Using a clicker and treats with any comfortable, well-fitting collar can be highly effective for teaching a wide range of behaviors and commands.

Ultimately, the best collar for training is one that matches the training goals, respects the dog’s comfort and safety, and is used in a way that fosters a positive learning environment. For most dogs, especially those just starting their training, a martingale or a flat collar combined with positive reinforcement is often the most effective and humane approach.


Introducing a collar to your dog is a key step in their development and integration into your family and the wider world. Whether for identification, training, or safety, choosing the right collar and the right time to introduce it can make all the difference in your shared journey.

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.When Should a Dog Start Wearing a Collar?

A dog, particularly a puppy, can start wearing a collar from about 8 to 10 weeks old. At this stage, it’s important to choose a lightweight, adjustable collar and to introduce it gradually, ensuring the puppy is comfortable and positive associations are formed.

2.Should a Dog Wear a Collar All the Time?

It’s not necessary for a dog to wear a collar all the time, especially at home where they are safe and unlikely to escape. Continuous wearing can cause discomfort, irritation, or even hair loss under the collar. However, keeping a collar on for identification purposes when outside or in unfamiliar settings is crucial.

3.Should My Dog Wear a Collar at Night?

Generally, it’s best for a dog not to wear a collar at night, especially during sleep. Removing the collar can prevent potential risks like getting caught on something or causing neck discomfort. Ensure your dog is in a secure environment where they don’t need identification tags at night.

4.Can You Put Collars on Newborn Puppies?

Collars are not recommended for newborn puppies due to their delicate necks and rapid growth. If necessary for identification among littermates, use specially designed soft, lightweight bands or markers instead of standard collars.

5.Can You Leave a Shock Collar on a Dog for More than 12 Hours?

Leaving a shock collar on a dog for more than 12 hours is not recommended. Prolonged use can lead to discomfort, irritation, pressure sores, and other skin issues. Shock collars should be used only during specific training sessions and under the guidance of a professional trainer. Always ensure breaks are given and the contact points are checked and cleaned regularly.


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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