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Discussion Starter #1
Please help if you have any advice. We adopted our Jack Russell at 8 weeks, she is now 11 weeks. She has been a happy bouncy pup until 3 days ago when we put the collar on her. Since then she wont play and she spends the whole day sleeping or scratching at the collar and will only go outside to toilet if we take her out and then runs straight back inside and into her crate with her head down. We are trying to be strong and not take the collar off because she needs to wear one for her safety and puppy class but it is hard when it makes her this unhappy. What should we do? Has anyone been through this before? The collar isn't too tight and is nice and soft so I don't think that would be the problem. I don't know what to do because I feel like it could be creating an issue with her development and her bond with us, but she needs to wear a collar!

Thanks in advance
 

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What size is your dogs collar? You might want to try a cat collar (not the kind with the release buckle , like this : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07875571...&pd_rd_r=5ff41d2a-4d27-4649-b8e2-8f9ce23060de

or

if your collar is already a cat sized collar, try a ribbon or a whelping collar (you can hot glue/tape two together to make one sizeable for your dog) and work up heavier and heavier ribbons and felt until you get to the size and weight of the collar you want to use
 

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Size was also my first thought too. I see a lot of photos of dogs with wide collars that look uncomfortable to me. I would have something cat-collar thin on a Jack Russell puppy.
 

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Maybe try changing the collar and see if it's better. I had the same problem with the muzzle and so far my witch doesn't tolerate it very much. She understands that she must have it while driving the bus or when it is waiting for me in front of the store, but there is no way that she would go with him normally on a walk. He is constantly rubbing his legs and grass and trying to take it off
 

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Sounds like you didn't condition to the muzzle well enough. My dog never tries to back out, pull off scratch off his muzzle. Took us 4 months to get him used to it.

263781
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What size is your dogs collar? You might want to try a cat collar (not the kind with the release buckle , like this : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07875571...&pd_rd_r=5ff41d2a-4d27-4649-b8e2-8f9ce23060de

or

if your collar is already a cat sized collar, try a ribbon or a whelping collar (you can hot glue/tape two together to make one sizeable for your dog) and work up heavier and heavier ribbons and felt until you get to the size and weight of the collar you want to use
I did look at the cat collars in the store today and her one is the same size but for dogs with the snap buckle, so I don't think the size is the issue. I also made sure there were no scratchy bits that might be irritating her. Thanks for the suggestion, once she seems back to her normal self I will switch to something even more subtle like a ribbon that maybe she wont notice as readily. It's hard because she has to wear a collar to attend her puppy playschool but I think we might need to just skip it for a week or two because I don't want force it on her? When she was there last week she spent the whole time focussing on trying to get the collar off anyway and not really interacting with the other dogs.
 

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This is about introducing a dog to a harness, but you can absolutely use the same steps with a collar. Keeping things very slow and positive is key - try not to push your puppy past a step until she's ready and super confident and relaxed.


I'd definitely take a break with puppy playdates until you work this out. If she's spending the whole time stressed about wearing a collar, she's not learning anything good about being around other dogs and puppies. At best, she might just not be paying enough attention to really get much out of it. At worse, she could be learning that she has to wear uncomfortable things around other dogs, and so other dogs mean uncomfortable things happen to her. That's not the greatest lesson for her, as you might imagine.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This is about introducing a dog to a harness, but you can absolutely use the same steps with a collar. Keeping things very slow and positive is key - try not to push your puppy past a step until she's ready and super confident and relaxed.


I'd definitely take a break with puppy playdates until you work this out. If she's spending the whole time stressed about wearing a collar, she's not learning anything good about being around other dogs and puppies. At best, she might just not be paying enough attention to really get much out of it. At worse, she could be learning that she has to wear uncomfortable things around other dogs, and so other dogs mean uncomfortable things happen to her. That's not the greatest lesson for her, as you might imagine.
Thanks so much for this reply it’s really helpful and good advice. There are a lot of forums out there that say to be persistent leaving the collar on and the puppy will get over it but instinct tells me thats not the case and we weren’t doing her any good by forcing it, just as you have said. She is back to being the happy pup she was today without the collar and I’ll give her a break before trying to reintroduce anything and may switch to a harness anyway as I’m worried she’s now quite scared of the collar. I’m not sure if there’s a deeper issue as even treats like chicken aren’t enough to tempt her if she knows the collar is around but we will keep trying to gently develop the positive associations.
 

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My youngest boy has a harness aversion, and I believe I waited too long for him to 'get over it' instead of going back and doing some proper desensitization work when I first saw the issue. We don't really know why - he had an incident at the breeder's that might've been traumatic (no one's fault, just one of those accidents that can happen with a curious puppy doing dumb things), and we later found he had some shoulder pain that wasn't immediately obvious, but will never be sure if those were the main causes or if it's just part of who he is. He'll wear a light harness now that we took a step back and re-introduced things slowly. Just making the sight of the harness/collar be a positive thing instead of negative is a big step forward. Good luck!
 
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