Are you overly dependent on collars? I would say probably 90% of the regular canine guardians are today, so you are not alone. When I say regular guardians I mean people who are not very involved with obedience, agility or some other canine performance actiivty. So that means all of you people out there who are afraid to take off your dogs collar. A collar gives guardians a sense of control but that control can be misleading.
When I am out either shooting, driving or just out sight seeing I often see dogs being yanked around. I have been told many times that "oh no, we can't take the collar off." I completely understand when out in an environment that is not secure, best to be safe than sorry but what about your home or an enclosed park? Many people have a loss of control issue if they take their dogs collar off.
Do you control your dog via their collar? This can also be a huge issue, if the only way you can control your dog is by yanking or grabbing their collar then you simply do not have control. With the introduction of micro chips most dogs don't even need a collar for identification purposes so that cannot be an excuse. A dog collar can become a crutch, afterall if you can grab hold of your dog by it you don't have to worry about having actual control over your dog.
But what if I said today, take it off? Take off the collar and see what happens? We do not keep collars on our dogs when they are home, they only get a collar on if we are going for a walk and even then I much prefer a body harness. Many years ago I had an incident with two of my dogs who while playing got tangled up in each others collar. It was a horrible situation and one that I swore would never occur again by taking off the collars.
When you don't have the crutch of a collar on your dog you may realize that you feel helpless and lack the control you desire over your dog. This will lead to training your dog. It is amazing how training, learning about body language, feedback, consistency and leadership can eliminate the need for collar grabs. All of this may sound like a ton of work and grabbing the collar sounds like a much easier solution but it is not a solution. Collar grabs are physical control and if you constantly grab your dogs collar for control chances are you are going to start seeing collar grab avoidance.
Dog quickly learn that your hand heading their way means to duck out. By avoiding your grab you have lost control and your dog starts ruling the roost. Unless you can grab that collar you have no control. Take control today and take off your dogs collar. If you have any questions or concerns about this plesae ask away.