Get Your Dog To Love Anything
Teach Your Dog To Love Thunderstorms, Fireworks, and Trips To The Vet
While this article is written about getting a dog to love having you put a collar on, the technique outlined can be used to train your dog to love anything including trips to the vet, riding in the car, fireworks, lightning and thunder, etc. The key is to make the increments VERY small to ensure your dog NEVER goes over threshold. You work at one level for a few days or until your dog is completely comfortable at that level before you increment, ever so slightly, to the next level. For fireworks start with a YouTube video on the TV at a very low volume so your dog can barely hear it. You might even have to use a video with no volume or barely audible sound with no video for very reactive dogs. You want to start at a level where your dog notices the distraction, like maybe his ears perk slightly or he starts looking around, but not where he peaks or fixates on the distraction. If your dog is too anxious, nervous, excited, or “freaked out” your starting level is too much. Start with no volume and slowly raise it until your dog just barely notices and that’s your starting point for the first few days.
Acclimating a Dog to a Prong Collar
The particular prong collar style, fit, and how you use it are extremely important. Be sure to watch my free videos on “Prong Collar Fundamentals” and “Fitting A Prong Collar” before putting a prong collar on your dog. The first time you put the prong collar on your dog use BOTH rings (not just the D-ring) so that it doesn’t actually tighten. Also use your arm as a shock absorber to ease your dog into the feeling of the collar on her neck! ALWAYS use a backup strap with a prong collar! NEVER LEAVE A DOG ON A PRONG COLLAR UNSUPERVISED! The collar can hang up on something and strangle your dog.
Use the below process to get your dog to love having you put the prong collar on:
- For the first three days, get the collar out 3 to 5 times per day.
- Do NOT put the collar on your dog! Give your dog meat! Use little cubes of roasted chicken (1/4 inch per side). Don’t use store-bought treats or processed lunch meat!
- If you feed your dog chicken every day then use steak or lobster! We want a special, high-caliber reward that is only for teaching new behavior!
- Get your dog excited to see the collar! Show her the collar and use the chicken as a reward when she takes interest in the collar. PRAISE! PRAISE! PRAISE!
- By day 4 she is going to LOVE the collar because she knows that means she gets chicken!
- On day 4, start putting the collar on your dog. Use BOTH rings initially. Give her chicken before and after putting the collar on and the entire time it’s on (intermittently not continuously)
- Make her sit while putting on the collar so you don’t have to chase her down.
- From this point on you want to vary the length of time that you leave the collar on your dog. Sometimes you leave it on for 30 seconds, sometimes one minute, two minutes, five minutes, or ten minutes. Sometimes leave it on until you go for your walk.
- The prong collar is for while you are walking on the leash ONLY and no other time. The goal is to make sure your dog doesn’t associate the corrections, or not being able to do what she wants, with putting the collar on. If she makes that association, she’ll run away every time she sees the collar. We want her to associate you putting the collar on with getting chicken. Once that happens you can gradually wean her off of the chicken. Since you gave both chicken and praise, she will experience the same pleasurable feelings she got from getting both, even after you stop giving her the chicken.