Puppies are sponges for learning. They love to explore, and they are sensitive to human commands, praise and corrections. Puppies can be taught basic obedience commands, such as sit, down, come and stay. They should also be taught to walk on a loose leash without pulling. However, some training methods are too harsh for puppies, so select a collar with your dog's age in mind.
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A collar provides your puppy with a place to hang his ID tags, and it's useful when you need to attach a leash to your pet, so a puppy needs to learn to tolerate a collar. You may have noticed that young puppies dislike all collars. The restriction is unfamiliar, and many puppies struggle to free themselves from the confusing neckware. Your pup's scratching and rolling to rid himself of the collar can reach a feverish pitch, and efforts to get the puppy's attention are futile, leading you to wonder if he'll ever accept a collar of any type.
A simple, nylon buckle collar may be your best option for your pup's first collar. Don't invest in leather, because the puppy will outgrow it soon. The collar should be loose enough to fit a few fingers between the collar and the puppy's neck, but not so loose that the collar can be caught on gates or furniture. Toy breeds, such as Maltese and Yorkies, are so small as puppies that owners should shop for collars in the cat aisle. These collars are inexpensive, and often you will find matching leashes.
Harnesses and Training Collars
Walking your dog on a leash is one of the first challenges of pet ownership, and some turn to harnesses instead of collars. These can be beneficial for dogs with sensitive necks, or dogs with thick necks, like bulldogs or mastiffs. Harnesses, however, can encourage dogs to pull, so they are not well suited for training purposes. Traditional training collars, sometimes called choke collars, are not appropriate for puppies. The corrections delivered from these collars are too severe for a young dog. Never use electronic shock collars or pinch collars on a puppy.
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Every collar needs a good leash, and puppies do best with lightweight leashes that make them forget they are there. Once you have the appropriate collar for your pup, start training him to walk on a leash. Allow him to wander as you hold the leash and he follows along. The best leashes are leather, which are soft like gloves, and the puppy won't outgrow the leash. Nylon leashes are lightweight and can be washed. Never purchase a leash made of chain. Puppies don't like being hit by the swinging chain, and they are hard on your hands. Regardless of leash or collar, make sure that your puppy doesn't become caught on objects.
Connie Jankowski began writing in 1987. She has published articles in "Dog Fancy" and "The Orange County Register," among others. Areas of expertise include education, health care and pets. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Pittsburgh.