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Old 01-09-2013, 10:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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My Doberman is emotionally attached to his collar and needs a new one.

Hello all!

My doberman Angus is emotionally attached to his collar. He is a rescue. I am his third owner not to mention i will be his last! anyhow he has had the same collar since his first owner.which seems to have been his only consistency in the 3 out of 4 years he has lived. He needs a new collar really bad. It is a nice leather collar with pyramid studs but it smells REALLY bad. I have tried cleaning it with leather cleaner many times and while it always looks nice afterward it still smells very bad. Its hard to even hug him without smelling it.

Anytime his collar is taken off he cries and as soon as he gets it back he is SO excited. My question is.. how do I get him less attached? If i got him the same collar but new I am sure he would notice. Is it a weight thing? a smell? or just that it is his own thing?..it wouldn't fit right at first either because it wouldn't be broken in. Do i just get him a new collar anyway and force him to deal with it for the structure of it all? Im sort of stuck on this one. Ive been thinking about it for awhile (hints the long description) so sorry.

thanks
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I wonder if that's collar specifically, or a collar that you give him. Have you tried removing his (smelly) collar and putting a different one on? Or not yet? Does he seem genuinely fearful or agitated, just excited?

Depending on how "upset" he is, I would try trading collars and rewarding him for the process. If he gets too agitated, maybe put a second collar on him for a little while, then remove the smelly one, etc. Take it slowly, and don't agitate him too far; make it a fun game to play. Hopefully, that kind of thing will acclimate him to the changes, letting him know it isn't a big huge deal, and then you can put a new collar on him.

I know if we take Elka's collar off for any reason, she sniffs after us and noses it, in kind of a "Hey, that's mine!" sort of way. Having a collar off must feel like taking one's rings off, I've frequently thought.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My girl also gets weird when her collar is removed nosing and staring very intently almost demandingly at me however working with her and changing collars periodically has seemed to help her. She has 4, 2 pink ( one thick one thinner). A thinner green one, a bright orange reflective one and her leather harley davidson studded collar. I just every once in awhile will take them off for a bit and either put a different one or the same one depending on what I like best at the time haha.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have tried putting a new one on and he still acts all sad and whines without his. id say its not that he is getting agitated in an angry way but just a really genuinely depressed way like I am punishing him by taking it off.. like taking a baby blanket from a child. I don't know if its related but He also has a favorite toy and a blanket that he literally carries around like a child and cherishes. He has a groundhog toy that he ripped the squeaker and stuffing out of but has kept the fabric "skin" part of it intact and carries it and loves to just sit with it in his mouth. He acts as if that specific collars is one of his favorite things and he is sad without that one specifically. It makes me so sad to think of taking away that collar but I can not enable it. I will definitely try the advice given until I find a solution! because one day it will get worn out to the point he will HAVE to have a new one and i will have no choice.

Thanks so much!
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Could you try leaving his old collar on and also putting on a new one, and then the new collar gets the scent of the old collar and you can take the old stinky one off.
Or maybe, associate the new collar with walks. The only time he goes for walks is when that collar is on? Or maybe everytime the collar is on, he gets his dinner?
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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In addition to the collar changing games with rewards and positive associations that others already suggested--try this: Cut a small piece of leather off the old collar, use a leather punch to make a hole in it, and hang it from one of the D rings on the new collar.

Tiny bit of the old stank for the boy, to help him make the transition--waaaay less of the old stank for you, to help your poor nose.

Edit to add: In all my years with dogs, I'd never seen an example--or at least such an extreme example--of what you're describing, until last year. And, it's not a rescue dog, but a fairly neurotic "Goldendoodle" who has to be touching her collar all the time, with her nose or a paw, even when the collar is off her for a bath or grooming.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You are probably exacerbating his reaction to this collar. Take the collar off, and put on a new one like it doesn't matter because it doesn't. He's a dog, and I promise you he doesn't care about what collar he's wearing.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Buy a new leather one that has the same feel. I would never keep on a stinky collar. Put the new one on with the old for a day or two then when he is resting gently take the old one off, give him a nice chewy bone for distraction and throw it away. He will get used to the new one. I think part of the problem is how you are handling it. He has a new life with you, therefore a new collar be super positive about it, your vibe to him should be symbolizing the new life, calm, happy, secure and confident. Do not project that you feel sorry for him, it's like washing away the bad. Come from that position. That is what I would do but I can't handle smelly so...
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thea2003 View Post
Could you try leaving his old collar on and also putting on a new one, and then the new collar gets the scent of the old collar and you can take the old stinky one off.
Or maybe, associate the new collar with walks. The only time he goes for walks is when that collar is on? Or maybe everytime the collar is on, he gets his dinner?
I would definitely try this. I know I didn't try a similar method with a dog, but did with my own daughter. She hated shoes/socks. Anyway, she realized that she won't go for a walk/out if she doesn't put her shoes/socks on. It worked!

Hopefully something like that will work on your boy as well.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree with putting both the old and the new collar on for several days, then take the old one off but leave the new one on... with treats, a walk, a game and other happy associations. Poor baby - hope he has a really good life now!
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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A couple of other cleaning methods (if you can get the collar away from him)

Baking Soda
Baking soda can be used a few different ways to remove odors from leather, all of which are very gentle, however it is always best to perform a spot test to be safe.

Dry Baking Soda
Put Item in a paper bag or pillow case with an open box of baking soda for at least 24 hours. You may also sprinkle baking soda into the pockets and interior of the item or fill a sock with baking soda and leave it inside.
Baking Soda Solution
Mix one teaspoon or baking soda with one liter of warm water and saturate the leather item (you may also increase the mixture and soak the item). Rinse item and dry flat.

Vinegar

Dilute vinegar in equal parts warm water and let item soak. Rinse and repeat. Allow to dry.
Sponge the item with straight vinegar and rinse. May need to be repeated several times.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:04 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Along the lines of alternate cleaning - what about saddle soap or neatsfoot oil?
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:53 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Thank you everyone for the advice! I will definitely try all of them until I find a solution that works. Actually after I made this post i thought that putting a new one on with his old one for a bit and taking the old one off. I have used a saddle cleaner but it doesn't really take the stink away. I have had him for a while actually it's kind of a long story.I adore him and I will treat him with nothing but the upmost respect and the best structure I can provide. I would never take on a dog like this if i weren't prepared for all the responsibility and work it will take. Thanks again everyone! I really do appreciate the advice!
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:36 PM   #14 (permalink)
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If you do find something that works, could you report back and let us know?

Good luck.
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