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Helping your dog to wear a Buster Collar

03/04/2022 - Puppy & Dog Training Advice

You may not have heard the term “buster collar” before, but you are bound to recognise one if you saw it! Also known as the “cone of shame,” the buster collar is something most of our dogs will need to wear at some point in their lives. A large, lampshade-like collar designed to ensure our dogs can’t fuss at and irritate wounds or pull out stitches, this comical looking piece of equipment is often no laughing matter for our pups. Most commonly used after a surgery, many dogs first come across the buster collar after they have been neutered. These days, there are a range of softer and slightly less inconvenient buster collars, such as inflatable ones which look a lot like travel pillows – but even these can be a big adjustment for our dogs and, sometimes, only the traditional lampshade will do the trick! So, how can we prepare our dog for their stint as the new star of the Pixar logo?

Handling Training
Teaching our dogs to be comfortable with handling is a vital life skill for many situations – important for during vet examinations, so we can easily check our dogs over at home and treat any small bumps and scrapes without hassle and for groomer visits. It will also help to ensure our dogs feel more confident and reduce anxiety when we need to introduce something new, like a buster collar. Find more information on introducing handling training via our Dogversity online training school.

Training for Vet Visits
While handling is a big part of preparing our dogs for a trip to the vet, there is more to it than that. There are a huge range of behaviours and skills we can equip our dogs with to ensure their experience with the vet goes and smoothly as possible. Mitigating the stress caused by other factors will make it much easier for your dog to adjust to the buster collar, as they won’t need to worry about everything else on top of this new, strange thing. Check out our extensive Vet Visits course on Dogversity to support your pup when they need it the most.
We also cover handling and vet visit training in our group Puppy & Dog Training Classes, alongside other valuable life skills!

Get a Buster Collar!
You don’t need to wait until you and your dog are under a close time limit to get them used to this piece of kit! You can purchase buster collars online and start working on this now, while you have plenty of time to take things slowly. If you’ve working through handling and vet visit training already, you will have a good idea of how to gradually introduce this new thing to your dog at a pace to suit them, so you can ensure they have only good experiences and can feel confident and relaxed. You can find the style of buster collar that you and your dog find the most convenient and comfortable. Not only will your dog be thankful, reducing your dog’s stress will take a load of your mind, too.

General Training
We can spend all the time we want focusing on specific skills for specific situations with our dogs, but a broad approach to training in general is one of the most effective ways to ensure our dogs can cope with new situations. Not only does general training cover a wide variety of relevant skills and behaviours, it is a wonderful way to build a strong relationship and develop trust between us and our dogs. A dog who knows how fun and positive it is to work with us to learn new things will find it much easier to cope when we ask something new of them.
Training classes also give us the opportunity to practice these behaviours around distractions, such as other people and dogs – this is vital if we want to ensure our dogs can offer these behaviours reliably. Especially when we consider that our dogs may not be feeling their best when it comes time for them to wear a buster collar. The more we have proofed our training in a distracting environment, the more likely it is our dogs will be successful when we need our training to pay off.

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