Some dogs are sensitive to their collars being touched and react anxiously to being led by the collar. However, there are times when you may need to lead her by the collar, to keep her safe. Please use caution at all times when training your dog to be comfortable with anything that she may be anxious about. It’s important to establish a trusting relationship with your dog; once you have that, you will be able to make good progress with training.
You can use the following exercise to change a dog’s unpleasant association to her collar being touched into a more comfortable association. Make the training sessions into a game that the dog gets excited about and loves to play. Follow these steps:
Limit the sessions to no more than three minutes each, with a total of three or four sessions per day. Remember, make it a game that your dog loves to play. Let her get a good rest between sessions.
Do not lead the dog by the collar until you have built a relationship and done the steps above to change the association from something undesirable to a wanted reward. Why? There’s a difference between being able to hold the dog’s collar and being able to lead her by the collar. Some dogs are much more sensitive to the latter, so you should work on simply holding the dog’s collar first.
After the work is done, the dog can be led out by the collar for walks, and given a food reward after she has exited the house. Soon, no food reward will be necessary, although a cookie upon returning from a walk is always welcome!
Once progress has been made with one handler, start introducing different handlers in different locations to help the dog generalize her comfort with collar handling.