Friday, February 28, 2014

Martingale Collars

The day that I saw a frightened German Shepherd back out of her standard buckle collar in a PetSmart, run head-long for the front of the store, and fly out through the automatic doors - straight into a busy parking lot - that was the day I started recommending martingale collars to my clients. Why did that happen? Because for a buckle collar to be tight enough that it can't slip over the ears when pulled, it may have to be uncomfortably tight on the dog's neck. So most dog's collars are too loose.

That German shepherd would not have gotten away from his horrified owner if he had been wearing a properly fitted martingale collar. Martingales are comfortable for your dog while keeping him secure on leash. They are made with two loops. Adjust the collar so the big loop will just slip over the dog's head. Clip the leash to the O ring on the small loop and you're ready to go. If your dog tries to back out of his collar, the tension on the leash pulls the small loop taut, making the big loop smaller and tighter on the neck - preventing escape. When adjusted properly the dog is never choked, but the collar stays snug around the dog's neck (just behind the ears) until the the dog stops pulling. The following illustration shows how the two loops on a martingale collar work.

Should you leave a martingale collar on your dog all the time? No. All collars can be potentially dangerous because of the risk of the dog getting hung up on something and choking. Plus, dogs have been known to chew a martingale off. I recommend a quick-release buckle collar when your dog is just hanging out. Take all collars off your dog when he is crated or kenneled. When the leash comes out, the martingale goes on. In fact, the martingale can stay attached to his leash all the time.

May all your outings with your dog be fun and safe!

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