Your new pup is home and settled, it’s now time to introduce the concept of your puppy wearing a collar or harness and lead. So. how do you get started?

Collar or Harness

Sometimes breeders have already introduced pups to collars as they use different coloured collars to identify the individual pups.  If not, after you have your pup a few days, purchase a soft flat collar.  Do not use chain or pinch collars. These are too uncomfortable for your pup.  You should be able to insert two fingers under the collar when it is fastened.

Put the collar on for the first time, just before you are about to do something fun, like play or go out in the garden.

If he scratches, which is very likely, wait until he stops, praise him and continue to distract him with a game. Once he is distracted, remove the collar and try again later.  Do this several times over a few days and eventually, he will ignore it.

You might want to get an identity tag with your phone number to attach, just in case he ever gets lost.

To introduce a harness, just follow the same basic principles.


Personally I prefer to attach my dog’s lead to a harness rather than a collar. Necks are vulnerable structures and pups and dogs can end up getting hurt if they get inadvertently jerked or pulled.

First, your pup needs to learn to be restrained by the collar.  Gently hold the collar with one hand and hold the pup firmly at his side with the other hand. Ignore any wriggling and release the hold when he stands still.

Once your pup is used to being restrained by the collar, you can attach a lead, preferably to a harness in my opinion.  Then him get used to the lead being attached by leaving it trailing loose while you play games. Do this for a few sessions.

The final step is to pick up the lead. When you do so, you need to stay still, so your pup understands that when you have the lead, you are both attached, and he no longer gets to choose where he can go.  When the pup stands still, praise and release him back to play.