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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 to avoid the risk of infection), you can get them used to a collar once they’ve had a few days to settle into their 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 your puppy’s neck.
When to put it on
Choose a time when something pleasant is about to happen, such as feeding, playing or going outdoors. You must be prepared for your puppy to try and remove it at first by scratching at it, but you should ignore this and as soon as they stop, lavish praise. After a short time, divert attention with another pleasant event and take the collar off and put it back on again later.
Getting accustomed to a collar
It should only take a few days for your puppy to get used to the collar. When your puppy begins to ignore it, you can leave it on all the time. There are two things to remember at this time; firstly, your puppy will almost certainly grow at a tremendous rate, so check the collar every few days, to make sure it isn't too tight and restricting. Secondly, your puppy can so easily get lost in the early weeks, so it's important that you attach an identification tag. The law states that all dogs must wear a tag with their owners' contact details on at all times when in a public place.
When your puppy is used to being handled, start getting them used to being restrained by the collar. Hold their body with one hand, to stop them trying to pull away from you, and hold onto the collar. Try to ignore the wriggling around, when your puppy stands still, give praise. By gently restraining your puppy like this, they'll learn and accept, that they can't get away if being held by the collar.
Time for the lead
Once your puppy has got used to being restrained by their collar, you can attach a lead. To help get used to the feel of the lead, let your puppy 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 they can't go wherever they want. Once your puppy has accepted that they’re restrained, give plenty of praise before letting them go again.
Your puppy's ID
As already mentioned, it is the law dogs to wear a tag with owner details clearly displayed. There are also other steps you can take to ensure your puppy's safe return if they get lost. For more information see article on Microchipping.