Introducing the collar and lead
Collar and lead
Although it will be a few weeks before you can walk your puppy outside on a lead (prior to vaccination, you should carry your puppy so as to avoid the risk of infection), you can get him used to a collar when he's had a few days to settle into his new home.
What type of collar?
Your puppy's first collar should be one with a buckle, definitely not chain or choke collar. When you put it on, you should be able to slide two fingers between the collar and his neck.
When to put it on
Choose a time when something pleasant is about to happen to your puppy, such as feeding him, playing with him or taking him outdoors. You must be prepared for him to try and remove it at first by scratching at it. But you should ignore this and, as soon as he stops, lavish praise upon him. After a short time, divert his attention with another pleasant event and take the collar off and put it back on again later.
Getting accustomed to his collar
It should only take a few days for your puppy to get used to his collar. When he begins to ignore it, you can leave it on all the time. But there are two things to remember at this time; firstly, your puppy will almost certainly grow at a tremendous rate, so check his collar every few days, to make sure it isn't too tight and restricting. And secondly, your puppy can so easily get lost in his early weeks, so it's important that you attach an identification tag. Besides, the law says that all dogs must wear a tag with their owners' contact details on at all times when in a public place.
Later on, when your puppy is used to being handled, start getting him used to being restrained by his collar. Hold his body with one hand, to stop him trying to pull away from you and twist your fingers in his collar. Try to ignore his wriggling around and, when he stands still, praise him. By gently restraining him like this, he'll learn and accept that he can't get away if he's being held by his collar.
Time for the lead
Once your puppy has got used to being restrained by his collar, you can attach a lead. So that he gets used to the feel of his lead, let him drag it around during a few play periods. You can pick up the lead now and again but keep still when you do. That way, your puppy will learn that being on the lead means he can't go wherever he wants because he's attached to you. Once your puppy has accepted that he's restrained, give plenty of praise before letting him go again.
Your puppy's ID
As we've already mentioned, it is the law for your puppy to wear a tag on his collar with your contact details clearly displayed. However, there are other steps you can take to ensure your puppy's safe return if he gets lost. For more information see article on Microchipping.