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Why does my dog lick his collar when I take it off

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Dogs often lick their collars due to accumulated dirt and oils. Regular weekly cleaning with mild soap can prevent buildup, and using machine-washable nylon collars helps maintain hygiene.

Familiar Scent

Dogs have an incredibly keen sense of smell. Their olfactory abilities are 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than those of humans, which allows them to detect and discern substances and concentrations much lower than people would. Removing your dog’s collar can result in its fabric absorbing the scents of your dog’s skin and fur throughout days or weeks of wear. After removing, the collar might smell representatively of the dog, as the fabric has concentrated its scent. In this way, the comforting potential of the dog’s smell to the pets themselves may be similar to what people feel when, for example, smelling their loved one’s clothing.

To address this issue positively, the owner might consider using scent as an agent of training or comfort. For example, if a dog is anxious or seems unhappy when the owner leaves, leaving the collar or another scent-associated item with the dog can be helpful and comforting. It is important to remember, however, that the collar needs to be regularly washed, as over time the dirt it gathers might cause the item and the dog to smell bad. Perhaps the owner can consider using another item that associates its scent with that of the home, such as a small blanked or a chew toy.


Relief or Comfort

In some cases, the dog might lick its collar after you remove it due to relief or comfort. If a collar is too tight for the dog or rubs against the skin, it can feel uncomfortable for the pet. In this way, after the collar is removed, the dog might lick the spot either to soothe any possible irritations or to relish the feeling of freedom. To make sure that the collar is a source of a dog’s comfort, you should do the following things. “To measure your dog’s neck you should obtain a flexible measuring tape and wrap it around the dog’s neck[]”. To avoid having to squeeze the tape around the neck, ensure that it can still fit two fingers in-between the neck and the measuring tape.

This way, the fit is secure but not tight. Provide your dog’s collar with a regular check-up and replace it when you detect any signs of wear it is fraying or has any pointy bits that might irritate the dog’s skin. Consider the material of your collar as well. While leather collars are more durable, they can often be heavier and less flexible as compared to nylon collars which might be more comfortable for your dog. In case your dog appears to be feeling discomfort, try switching a collar.

The best option,would be a padded collar that would decrease the likelihood of chaffing as well. Still, you should watch your dog closely as licking the former spot frequently might be a sign of irritation to the area. If you observe constant redness or swelling, you should your veterinarian, as a pre-existing skin condition might be inflamed by a collar. In hotter climates, wearing a collar could cause further irritation by accumulating heat and increasing sweating. So, if you notice your dog is feeling hotter in a place, try to take off the collar when the pet is resting.

Curiosity or Habit

Normal behavior may include behaviors driven by curiosity or habit. For example, when you take off your dog’s collar, the sudden change in sensation around their neck may trigger a brief interest in the collar. When your dogs is interested in something, they will sniff and investigate it with their mouths, which can turn into licking. Basically, dogs’ mouths are equivalent to humans’ hands, and they tend to lick and chew on things like humans use their hands to explore the world. If this behavior usually occurs when you are taking off your dog’s collar, it may be a conditioned response that your dog has developed as a habit. So, perhaps, your dog’s behavior is caused by curiosity by an interesting new object around it.

There are several ways you can prevent the situation. The first one is keeping your dog’s routine and structured. You can create an environment that keeps your dog’s interested and entertained, like keeping some toys on hand that you can give to your dog when you need to remove its collar. There are many interactive toys available on the market, such as puzzle feeders and chew toys, which can distract your dog and at the same time allow your dog to chew and explore. Second, distractions can prevent your dog from licking their collar.

You can play actively with your dog with these toys, not only distracting, but also providing much-needed mental and physical stimulation. Third, you can give your dog a happy memory or associate their new activity with soup. This is a very simple but effective way, while removing the collar, give your dog his favorite food or actively play. Because it would help your dog shift her attention to your treat or fun activities, it are less likely to lick it. Note how your dog reacts to certain things and decide whether they are acceptable. If licking is uncommon and seems to be only due to curiosity, there may be no reason for concern. But, if the dog starts licking it obsessively, is it itching on your neck, or do you find pieces of your collar being broken, results in proof of improper licking. Or the dog seems to be particularly distressed when not actively licking. A visit to the veterinarian or study with a professional dog trainer will provide you with the help you need.



Dogs are pack animals, and they really need the contact with their owners. When a dog licks the collar right after it has been removed, it is most likely simulating the activity to ensure that the owner will not forget about them. Most probably, the behavior developed is that the dog learns it will get the owner’s attention, at least eye contact. If not the attention, the owner may respond with laughter or a degree of concern. Generally, the best way to suppress the attention-seeking behavior it to pay attention to the pet and provide enough of the activity. Play more with your dog playing active games, walk them, play games with the owner, and reviews the main commands with treats. A pooped dog is less likely to have enough spare energy to seek attention by such an undesired way.

Then, reinforce desirable behavior even if it was displayed without additional stimulation. When the dog is calm and behaves properly, gives it treats or hugs. When the dog either gets something it appears to like very much or a lot, reinforces the idea that the appropriate behavior leads to good consequences. When a dog licks something to get its owner’s attention, the best way is to pretend it is not getting any; if they stop, praise them and give treats. The presence of the owner or any activity is the anthropomorphic attribute or non-verbal assuring. Then, if the dog insists on licking the collar, place it further away.

The training, therefore, is another thing to manage the problem. For instance, a “leave it” and “focus” command will distract the dog and move its attention from the avoided object. It is necessary, however, to ensure training is regular to get the results. Complete all the activities in the same order daily. The routine is one of the best remedies as it is hard to forget about feeding your pet when the dog clings to the fridge and approaches it several times before the feeding time. Consider the age of the dog; some seek attention more often, and puppies are especially needy in this context due to their wild or young age. Older dogs could become like puppies over time, primarily if they learned that some types of behavior would be rewarded with the necessary attention from the owners.


Dogs commonly exhibit behaviors that imitate grooming or cleaning, which applies to licking their collar when it is taken off. The collar tends to get dirty over time, accumulating sweat, oils from the skin and fur, and possibly some other particles. Therefore, the dog might be licking the collar in order to clean it from the residues. If your dog frequently licks the collar, it is important to regularly clean it and ensure it does not develop a bad smell. Use mild soap and warm water to wash the collar every week, ensuring that all the soap is rinsed out and the collar has completely dried before putting it back on. It is critical for the collar to be completely dry, as any moisture left on the skin may cause irritation, infection, or other issues.

If the dog still demonstrated its willingness to lick the collar, opt for the materials that do not smell as much and are easier to wash. Synthetic fabrics like nylon are usually more odor-proof and can air out more quickly than leather or other materials, and machine-washable collars are easier to maintain clean. Consider the overall lifestyle of the dog and its frequency of walks and baths. If the animal is very active or likes to get dirty or wet, the collar should be washed more frequently.

More suitable dog collars could be used that are equipped with silver ions to ensure lasting freshness, as well as other antimicrobial properties. If the licking appears to be compulsive, check for the symptoms of skin irritation and contact a veterinary. If the animal does not have any underlying skin problems, compulsive licking can also be a manifestation of stress.

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