Grabbing your dog’s collar should NOT be a punishment but rather a way of helping him to settle down and focus on you!
Most dogs will get quite worried if you grab at their collar. Why? Because it can mean that they are about to be reprimanded or their play time is ending. It could also just be that leaning into your dog’s space is intimidating. Sometimes, they may even think it is part of a game so they start to mouth and bite at your hand.
If you teach the collar grab as a game, it will lead to all sorts of benefits:
- If you need to grab your dog in an emergency, he is unlikely to run away.
- If you need to stop him doing something inappropriate, he will not stress when you take hold of his collar.
- If you need to put his leash on , he will be less likely to bite or play with your hand.
- It is useful when teaching a “drop-it” cue (you will learn this a little later on
But, in order for this game to work, we first need to make it fun!
I want you to introduce the collar grab from the hand touch. Before you release the treat for the hand touch, you can slip your hand under his chin. Gently touch his collar as you release the treat to him. Repeat this a few times, providing he is not showing any signs of stress.
After a few repetitions, take a short play break, then do the hand touch and collar grab game again. This time, as you touch the collar, pull the dog slightly towards you as you treat. Your dog may initially resist, but he should quickly realise that the slight pressure is nothing to worry about. In fact, it leads to yummy things!
Remember, the collar grab is not a threat!
Gradually increase the intensity of the grab, ensuring your dog is comfortable with this. Remember, that in the case of an emergency you made need to quickly grab your dog and you do NOT want them running away from you.