If you have a puppy scratching its collar constantly, you may be wondering what to do and what causes this, because it can be a little alarming to see.
It’s important for dogs to get used to wearing collars when they are fairly young, but when you first introduce a puppy to a collar, you may find that it seems to agitate the dog, and this results in a lot of scratching.
Some people will find this quite concerning, and it’s a good idea to pay attention if your dog is constantly scratching.
It may just be that your dog needs some time to get used to its collar, but in other cases, scratching can be a sign that the collar is uncomfortable or too tight.
It’s important to make a habit of regularly checking your dog’s collar to make sure that it has not got tightened or loosened, and that it is not causing any soreness. You should do this throughout your dog’s life, but particularly when it is a growing puppy.
Being vigilant can ensure that your dog is comfortable and prevent any issues from developing, so do keep an eye on this. If you’re sure that the collar fits well, there are other things you can do to prevent scratching, which we will cover in more detail further down.
Remember, scratching is perfectly normal for a young dog that is not yet used to wearing a collar, so don’t be too concerned about this.
Why Does A Puppy Scratch At Its Collar?
There are many reasons for a puppy to scratch at its collar, ranging from discomfort to it simply not being used to the sensation of wearing one.
For a young dog, learning to wear a collar can be a strange experience, and some puppies will therefore scratch at a collar in an attempt to get it off or make it feel more comfortable.
Just like people, dogs notice when something changes, and if you’ve ever found yourself tugging at a tight or uncomfortable shirt, you’ll know the feeling, and how tempting it is to keep trying to adjust the shirt until it feels comfy again.
Your puppy scratching at its collar could also be a sign that the collar is too tight or that it’s rubbing against its neck. This is particularly true if the collar has a heavy buckle or is made from a rough material that may be uncomfortable.
A tag on the collar might further worry the dog, encouraging it to scratch because it will cause irritation.
Equally, a collar that has a bell on it or a collar that is so lose it slips around and constantly catches the dog’s attention will also be more likely to cause annoyance and scratching.
The dog cannot reach up to remove the collar in any other way, so scratching is its only means of trying to get it off and letting you know that it is irritating. It’s a good idea to start collars off without any extras.
Is It Normal For Puppies To Scratch Their Collars?
It’s fairly normal for a young puppy to scratch at its collar when it first begins to wear it, but you should make efforts to introduce the collar in the correct way, and to distract your dog when it does this.
If the scratching persists, make sure the collar is comfortable, or consider trying a different brand or something softer while your dog gets used to it. Don’t ignore ongoing scratching, as it shows your dog is distressed, and it could lead to long term issues.
Most puppies will scratch at their collars for the first few days or weeks, and this is not unusual behavior, even if it persists for a while.
However, it is still your responsibility as the owner to minimize the issues for your puppy and encourage it to get used to wearing a collar, and you can do this through careful introduction and by choosing comfortable fabrics.
Don’t panic if your puppy seems to hate its collar, but do take a calming and sympathetic approach.
Leave tags off the collar until the dog has got used to wearing it, and then keep them out of its way with a bit of tape if they seem to be annoying the puppy. Don’t try to introduce a leash or harness before the puppy is very at ease with the collar.
How To Stop A Puppy Scratching Its Collar Constantly!
There are a few things you can do to discourage scratching, and most involve building the puppy up to wearing its collar slowly.
First, you should check that a collar is not too tight, or it will be uncomfortable; you should be able to slip two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck.
Next, start distracting your dog with food and treats when you put the collar on, and take the collar off when it has finished eating.
This will encourage it to get used to the collar and create positive associations. Don’t shout at your dog if it scratches at the collar, but instead distract it with a game or a toy.
Gradually increase the amount of time that your dog wears the collar for, and reward it whenever you put the collar on.
If your dog really dislikes the collar, go slowly, but persevere and do not give up. It’s fine to try a different collar if one in particular is causing issues, but do keep working on it.
When your puppy is scratching its collar persistently, try to distract it with a game, a toy, or treats. Even just jingling your keys or calling its name may prove enough of a distraction to redirect its attention onto you, and could help your dog to forget about what it is wearing. It will eventually get used to the sensation of wearing a collar and provided that the collar is comfortable and not creating sores, all you need to do is persevere.