She is a one year old rescue affenpinscher. She has a bit of sassy attitude, but we are in training to make us all better. We have taken her on walks since we first got her with no issues what so ever.

She within the last 12 hours has developed a severe anxiety about either the harness or collar having a leash put on. We have given her treats and rewarded the good behavior exactly as our instructor has told us. She is fine when we get the leash on her but to get it on she sounds like we are beating her to death by latching the collar on.

I know everything fits proper and no signs of rashes on either areas. This is so out of the blue I thought I'd ask you all.

We have had her for five days and just today she started the issue. Thanks for any help or direction.

  • What kind of collar do you have? We've had many issues with the first harness we've bought (you'd had to put a strip on th dog's back, then connect four(!) clips) and it's always been a choir. Then bought a more expensive harness, where you just put the dog's head through, close one clip and you're done. This helped a lot, although he still loves running away from the harness since he knows we'd run after him.
    – Mario
    Mar 2, 2015 at 7:58
  • Also what you describe sounds a bit odd to me. Is there any chance the dog might got injured somehow or has something else? Is she only reacting to leash/collar that way or also when you try to touch her? (If touching/petting is okay, try hugging her similar to how the collar would be around her.)
    – Mario
    Mar 2, 2015 at 7:59
  • What do you mean by anxiety? What is the dog doing when you try to put it on? Please describe the exact behaviour
    – Huangism
    Mar 2, 2015 at 17:18
  • Just to clarify - the first four days you had no problems putting her collar on? Then on the fifth day she started to complain when you put the collar on?
    – Kate Paulk
    Mar 3, 2015 at 12:35

1 Answer 1


I wouldn't worry too much - as you mention - she's a new dog, and a rescue. It takes time from a dog from a rescue to 'settle down' and learn to trust a new owner. This process can quite easily take months.

So don't worry too much.

Now - we had a similar problem with ours - a dog from a rescue, about a year old - who decided that she really disliked the car harness. Not to the same degree, but definitely and distinctly 'didn't like it' - and would run away and hide whenever we went near it.

We still don't know entirely why - but it has settled down given time.

However I'd suggest there's two likely root causes - either it's because it's uncomfortable, or your dog as formed a negative association as to the wearing of it.

For the former you can address this by checking the tightness, and inspecting the neck area. Also consider how the collar does up. We stopped using the buckle style collar, and instead went for one like this: http://www.ezydog.co.uk/neo-collar-wide/

It's a wider band (so less likely to 'cut') and with a clip to do it up. It's adjustable, so you can set it to exactly the right side for the neck (although, her neck does seem to widen and shrink at times!).

A combination of this with using high value treats to bribe (pieces of liver, tripe sticks work very well) helped keep her distracted long enough.

We also bought another harness that didn't go over the head - http://www.ezydog.co.uk/chest-plate-harness/ - but didn't get as far as using it.

If it's anxiety brought on by an association, then the trick there will be desensitisation. Work 'collar drill' into training regime - put it on, take if off again. Put it on, do something fun, take it off again. Add treats. Make 'putting collar on' mean 'good things happen'. Usually it being walkies is enough, but you're going to need a bit more.

Don't worry too much though - your dog is still settling in, and chances are it's still learning boundaries.

  • Great links, but are they trustable websites for pets, that's something I'm worried about. Treats is a good way to get your dog to behave if y o u know what your doing. Apr 6, 2015 at 5:36

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