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Hello, hoping someone more knowledgable can help me out. Our new puppy seems to be terrified of wearing his collar.

We adopted a puppy from a family who had him for a week. He is 12 weeks old, and is a mini pinscher. The other family got rid of him because their larger dog didn't really tolerate the puppy. We also have a female pug who is about 17 weeks old. They are both about the same size and age. Well, we have had the mini pin since yesterday. The previous owners stated that they had no luck getting him to wear his collar. On the ride home, he didn't want to be in his kennel, but was very happy to ride on my lap. He played and seemed to be adjusting well, until we put the collar on. Immediately, he changed. He bark, whimpers, squeals, thrashes around, hides, and cowers. The only thing that pacifies him is to be held close and babied. Put him back down to eat, drink, pee, or poo, and its the same routine. Take the collar off and he is a happy dog again, he runs and plays. He isn't very well disciplined, or attentive, but that is to be expected. The howling and complaining about the collar is pretty extreme. He is really two different dogs with and without it. Of course, we could just keep the collar off, and do our best to train him, but we want to be able to take him out on walks and socialize him with other dogs. With the collar, he plays just fine with our female pug, and she takes an active role, but then all the sudden, he will remember he has the collar on, and begin the routine again. If we take the collar off, his play with her becomes more and more aggressive to the point where she avoids him. He does get a bit too rough and bites when he doesn't have the collar on. In general, without the collar, he is pretty rowdy. There are other weird things, like the way he inhales his food, but the collar is the main issue. We don't want to get rid of him just because he is a challenge, it wouldn't be right to keep passing him along. I really don't know his past except that the last family had him only a week.
Would it be better to just leave the collar on and let him get used to it while we love and baby him? We don't want to keep removing it, because we may negate any progress we make with him. We also don't want him to feel punished when we put it on each time. It seems very traumatic for him. Does anyone know what could cause a dog to behave like this? My only guess is that maybe somebody put a shock collar on him and shocked him repeatedly and often just for fun, but I don't know. It has to be deeper than just disliking the collar. Our pug has taken to him, and seems confused and concerned by his behavior, and even our anti-social cat has been watching him, which she didn't even do with the first puppy. The new puppy loves close personal attention, but even while being cuddled, will remember that he has the collar on and go crazy again sometimes. Is there anything besides affection and patience that we could do to help him past this or has the damage been done?

Thank you
 

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I would guess it's most likely the previous owners used a shock collar on him, or he at some point snagged/hurt himself while wearing a collar, but I'm really hoping since he's so young the shock collar wasn't the case. He may just be completely freaked out by the idea of a collar?

I'm not sure how far to go with such a young puppy and such an odd fear. Maybe talk to a behaviorist? The only thing I could think of is associating putting the collar on with a high value treat and praise, but of course removing it when the crying got too severe would be negating the whole process.
 

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Maybe you could do sort of a desensitization process with the collar. Drape a string or something over his neck, and if he tolerates it, give him a treat and take it off, eventually working up to putting the collar on for short amounts of time. We are using a desensitization process like this with my dog who gets very anxious when I leave the house. When they get so worked up it's like their brain shuts down, and there's no way they'll learn because they're so panicked. If he's a very small dog maybe a harness would work better?
 

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Maybe you could do sort of a desensitization process with the collar. Drape a string or something over his neck, and if he tolerates it, give him a treat and take it off, eventually working up to putting the collar on for short amounts of time. We are using a desensitization process like this with my dog who gets very anxious when I leave the house. When they get so worked up it's like their brain shuts down, and there's no way they'll learn because they're so panicked. If he's a very small dog maybe a harness would work better?
This is what I would suggest as well. Maybe start with a piece of ribbon or something with very little weight and work your way up. I would try a harness too. Sometimes they are better for small dogs anyways, as you don't have to worry about causing damage to their neck.
 

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just a suggestion ~
if you do clicker training .... click/treat when the pup goes to the collar, then maybe try a few different things .... each contact with the collar for awhile should be a click/treat !!! not sure just a suggestion
 
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