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Chapter 8: First And Foremost, The Collar

Before going anywhere, every dog needs, first and foremost, a collar with a tag stating the dog’s name and your contact numbers.

Collar With Identity Tag

A regular collar (also known as a flat collar) with ID is not an exercise tool, but rather an essential part of a dog’s ‘wardrobe’. It's to be worn by your dog at all times: if your dog gets separated from you, this simple device (coupled with the all-important microchip) ensures that you have the maximum chance of finding your dog again.

Rope Collar

For dogs with long, curly, or shaggy fur, the Ruff Wear Knot-A-Just™ Collar - which is a rope collar as opposed to a flat collar - is just the ticket.

NOT A Check Or Half-Check Chain!

The type of collar NOT to use for housing an ID tag
is a check or half-check chain. The loops on them can
too-easily catch on something and the dog could hang
him- or herself (and when I say ‘hang’ I mean choke
to death). Flat collars or rope collars are the
only types
of collars to have as a permanent fixture on your dog.


Just For Identification Purposes!

As I've already said, a dog should wear their collar simply to house their ID tag. It's not for attaching to a lead as it's just too unreliable.

My personal experience with this is heartbreaking. My second dog, Jordan, died because he slipped his collar and was killed in a hit and run. So, please, don't make the same mistake I did - don't attach leads to your dog's collar but instead use a correctly-fitted head halter and harness to get out and about with your dog.

The Correct Fit

There should be approximately two vertically-positioned fingers’ worth of space between the dog's neck and his or her collar. If in doubt, get your vet to check whether you’ve achieved the correct fit.

Desensitisation Plan For Collars

If your dog is not used to wearing a collar, go through the following steps, moving on to the next step only if you feel your dog is ready for it. Use plenty of treats and verbal praise when your dog shows relaxed, unfearful behaviour:

  • Supervise your dog as he or she sniffs the collar. Give a treat for calm, well-mannered sniffing.

  • Put the collar on your dog, give the dog a treat, and take off the collar straight away.

  • Place the collar on your dog and do one minute of very basic obedience training using treats. When the minute is over, give the dog one last treat and take the collar off.

  • Do as suggested in the above point, but for two minutes. Then for three, four, and five minutes.

  • Increase the time in five minute increments until you’re up to twenty minutes. By that time your dog should be able to handle wearing a collar full-time.

>>>On to Chapter 9: Walkies

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dogs wearing collars
Jake (right) and Jasmin (left) have lots of collars so that there's always one available if the others are in the wash. Each collar has an ID tag with the dog's name, John's number, and my number engraved on it.

Dog collars
Like I dogs have lots of collars!

The only time my dogs don't wear their collars is when they're having a bath. That's Jasmin on the left and Jake on the right. Poor little buggers - they're really not fans of that water and both desperately want weekly bathtime to be over! (Oh, by the way, Jake and Jasmin don't actually wear shower caps when they're being bathed. I just put them on briefly to take this photo!)



Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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