Desensitizing your Dog to a Head Collar

If your dog is particularly resistant to wearing a head collar try using the steps below to help your dog associate it with positive things. Some dogs may require more time on certain steps, while others will move through very quickly. Every dog is different.
1. Start by showing the dog the head collar without actually putting it on. Give the dog a generous portion of several small treats or reward with something your dog finds rewarding (play, petting, praise). Do this several times per day for at least 2 or 3 days. At this point your dog should be very positive when it sees the head collar and anticipate its reward.
2. Once you see the positive reaction, start by treating the dog for touching the head collar when you present it to him (not for biting at it, only for sniffing or bumping it with its nose). Do this several times throughout the day.
3. The next step is to lure the dogs nose through the nose loop. Have the nose loop properly fitted (or close to it) and hold the nose loop up luring the dogs muzzle through the loop. Treat the dog when it puts its nose through the loop. Then remove and repeat. Do this several times for a day or two increasing the time the dog has the loop on his nose each time but only be a few seconds. If your dog is pawing to get it off, take a step back and leave it on for a shorter period of time.
4. Adjust the neck trap so that it would fit very loosely if it were on. Lure the dogs nose through the nose loop and snap the neck strap on. Immediately reward (treat, play, praise) then remove the collar. Over the next 3-4 days do this several times, slowly leaving the collar on for longer periods of time and tightening the neck strap slightly each time. If may be helpful to use an attention command to keep your dogs attention on you and off the collar.5. If your dog is reacting well, fit the neck strap properly and follow the above instructions for a couple days to make sure that your dog is still doing well with it on.
6. Continue to associate the head collar with good things. Put the head collar on then have an extra fun play session or feed the dog a special meal.
7. You can now attach a leash to the collar and walk around the house with your dog keeping the leash loose. If your dog is reacting well, bring it outside to encounter distractions with the head collar. When your dog begins to pull it will feel slight pressure on its nose which may cause him to fuss about the collar. Ignore any fussing and reward good behavior (walking nicely without pulling or pawing).
Never leave any type of training collar on a dog when you can not supervise.

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