5 ways to use an ‘Elizabethan Collar’ (if you are a dog)


Flossie here.

I have been convalescing.

(An operation of the female kind left me with some fetching stitches)

Is there something on my head?
Elizabethan Collar

For two weeks I have been sporting a rather ridiculous Cone on my head. The cone prevented me from licking the said stitches. This would have been a very bad thing apparently. I know this because every time I attempted it, the Boss intervened and the aptly named, Elizabethan Collar, was brought out.

At first, I admit, this unusual headgear worried me. It did not seem to mean that I was about to go out for a walk – unlike the Halti which goes over my nose and can be annoying but is worth putting up with for a short while. No, the cone was attached to my collar and engulfed my ears and head for no apparent purpose.

The Vet told me it was for my own good and the Boss concurred.

Now, you might think I would do all within my power to get rid of this unasked for appendage. Not so. Once I had grown used to it I found it had its uses. So, for all you canines out there who might at some point be obliged to wear such a contraption, here are a few ideas for its use:

 1.    Your cone as the perfect meal protector

Ok, at first it was a tad difficult. The bowl of food was placed before me. I moved in to dine. Head down – where was the bowl? I could see the bowl through the cone but I was the other side. I moved forward, so did the bowl. Ah, the Boss saw my dilemma and kindly popped the cone over the dish. There you have it! The perfect private eating place. No other dog could steal my food for as long as my dish was encased in its plastic igloo. Granted, it was a bit hot under there but I soon got the knack of coming up for air and positioning myself so that the cone popped over the dish of its own accord.

2.    Your cone as a shovel

Like many dogs I love to forage in the garden for roots and balls and anything tasty – the muddier the prize the better. At first I was not quite sure how I could conduct such an exploration whilst thus encumbered. Aha! No problem – once I had mastered the art of positioning my mouth just ahead of the desired object, it was a simple task to shovel it up with the cone, lodging it safely inside until needed. This exercise did result in a quantity of mud and grass being scooped up at the same time and caused the Boss to attack  me with a wet cloth, swooshing it round the cone at every opportunity. I can only liken this experience to that of being stuck in the drum of a washing machine as the clothes spin round.  A very strange experience!

3.    Your cone as a game enhancer 

This has to be my favourite. The Boss thoughtfully provided me with me some new toys, one of which was a medium sized ball. This was just large enough so that it would not lodge beneath the sofa. I was prepared to overlook this faux pas, even though one of my favourite games is to push a tennis ball as far under the sofa as I can and then demand that the Boss fetches it. Strangely, this seems to be something the Boss dislikes doing.

I have to say that I display some pretty fancy footwork when playing ball. I can hold a ball in my front paws, passing it through my legs and stopping it niftilywith my back paws. I can pass it back and forth in this way until finally, it spins across the floor of its own accord, nudged on by my nose and comes to rest beneath the sofa. The Boss thinks I should turn professional. Unable to use my nose, I soon learnt to use the cone instead. With the ball trapped within the mouth of the cone, I managed to achieve perfect control as I dribbled the ball to its final destination.

 4.     Your cone as a battering ram

There is nothing quite as useful as a plastic cone for making sure you get first dibs on anything. I mean, who is going to stand in your way when you run full pelt at them, tongue lolling, ears flapping against the cone, giving you the appearance of a Triceratops at full charge? It opened doors for me in more ways than one!

..and the difference is?

5.    Your cone as a sympathy gatherer

Visitors just love to make a fuss of you if you wear one of these contraptions. Yes, they laugh a little but then they ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ and allow you to lay your head (complete with cone) in their laps while they fondle your ears. It seems to give humans great pleasure to delve into the cone and grab your head. Almost as though you are laid out for them on a plate! Time to use those big-brown-eyes that seem magnified by their temporary incarceration, to gain the biggest sympathy vote ever.

Flossie learns how to get sympathy from a friend
A sympathy catcher!

The cone was removed at intervals and returned to me in pristine condition. I used these windows of opportunity to carry out my ablutions while the Boss supervised lest I nibble my stitches.

After a few interim trips to the Vet’s – it turns out that I am allergic to Cat-Gut (used for one layer of stitches) Cat-Gut? is it any wonder? – more anti-biotics were required – but the stitches were finally removed and so was the cone.


Walks have been somewhat boring for the past couple of weeks and how galling it has been to see Ol’ Keano trotting off on his own while I walk sedately at the Boss’s side on my lead. This week, I am pleased to report that things have returned to normal and normal woodland romps are back on the agenda.

Mind you, I must admit that I quite miss that Cone at times – it certainly did have its uses.

Flossie AKA Puptales

Aged One whole year


I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow www.theglowstudio.com.


  • Deb

    What a good sport you are, Flossie at One Whole Year. I was especially impressed with your using the cone as a shovel. Not only are you growing up, but you’re also amazingly creative. Good girl!

  • Patricia

    What a great story – Oh Flossie how you got such positive experiences out of what could have been a major problem for a pooch not so clever.

    ZIP is having a nip and tuck on the 31st of this month….I wonder if he will support the cone head experience also?

    He is being a very big teenager right now – demanding walks only on his terms and stopping and starting at perfect moments to rip the human’s arm right out of the socket… The small halti does not fit yet – soon thank goodness.

    Wonder if Flossie would be ready to puppy sit? I have an out of town wedding the end of July (prime vacation time and weather time here) and I can not find a spot for him? I know – too far away…

  • Andrea Carlisle

    Flossie, you are much brighter than the average cone-head dog. I love the Sympathy Catcher idea the best, but I hope all five reach other dogs in the same situation. My friends have a little dog named Miki who gets warts (of all things) and since his last wart removal Miki was been wearing a cone. A real drag. I’ll pass this on to them and maybe they’ll give Miki some brilliant new ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  • cj Schlottman

    Happy Birthday, Flossie,

    Our boss, cj, has never been forced to put one of those contraptions on either of us. You have our sincere sympathy and, we admire your inventiveness.

    Belle the Boxer and Honey the Lhasa Apso

  • Teresa

    Aw, Flossie you look so cute! I had a dog once, Sweep, who had to wear one of those contraptions and until I read this I’d forgotten how he used it to dig the garden! The main thing I remember is him stripping the wallpaper – his cunning plan I think to make me remove it (the collar not the wallpaper) 🙂

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