My Precious Pennies

I will be AWAY until late February as we do this moving thing...again.

Ginger from Attention Target Shoppers & Tricia from 1stopmom
will be holding down the fort in the meantime - thank you so much, ladies!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tipster Tuesday: Martingale Collars

There are plenty of dog collars on the market - regular snap collars, pinch collars, choke chains, gentle leaders...but I will never use anything but the martingale collar on my dogs. Here's Chloe and Chip modeling their designer martingale collars. For those of you unfamiliar with them, they are basically no-slip collars originally designed for dogs with long necks & small heads, like a Greyhound or a Whippet. There are no snaps or buckles, it simply slips over the dog's head. What prevents the dog from slipping it back over their head is the fact that the loop tightens when pulled.

I can leave the collar loose around the dog's neck like a necklace, but once I attach the leash (or just grab the collar), it will tighten so it won't slip over the head. And since it'll return to its original loose form once I stop pulling, I can leave the collar on them 24/7. With a traditional buckle collar, it's recommended that it's tightened until you can get no more than 2 fingers through. Speaking from experience though, dogs can still slip their collars with that 2-finger clearance. I've personally seen collars that were on so tight that the fur was permanently flattened in that location, and the dog still managed to slip his collar.

Slipping a collar is no laughing matter. Imagine being on a walk and your dog slipping his collar...he is now free to run into the street. And he's probably so overjoyed at his unexpected freedom that he's bound to go bolting away from you at top speeds...and without a collar he's going to be hard to identify or bring home. In my opinion, slipping a collar is right up there on the "danger" level with giving your dog chocolate.

The martingale also serves as a good training reminder. I wouldn't recommend the martingale for training a new rambunctious puppy, but I use a martingale when training with Chloe. She's not a wild child anymore, and all I really need is that little jerk to catch her attention. It's a good enough reminder to pay attention and stop daydreaming about sausages.

My parents also use a martingale with their 90lb lab. You can tug all you want on a buckle collar, but trust me, he'll be more bothered by a fly than your tugging. The unexpected tightening of the martingale is similar to the choke chain, and it's enough to jerk an otherwise obedient dog back to reality to realize the errors of his ways.

Martingale collars can cost anywhere from $7 to more than $50, and come in many different sizes as well as widths. To my knowledge there's 5/8", 1", 1.5", and 2". You can opt for the cheap generic nylon type, or you can go all out with a designer collar lined with fleece. I like to spend a bit of money on a quality collar that will last all year and I just love all the different designs. Martingales are rather hard to find locally though, but of course that depends on your area and just takes a bit of looking.

The collars that Chloe and Chip have right now are made by Yellow Dog Design. Unfortunately they don't do individual orders, so you'll have to find a local pet store that carries them and would be willing to order some for you. I really like their products because they're cheap AND durable. Chloe and Chip have had these collars for over a year now, and they still look brand new. The fact that they're washable also helps too =). The only complaint I have is that they only make collars in 1" width, which is just too small for Chloe - she works much better with a 1.5".

I've also gotten collars from Trendy Hounds and TLC Pet Stuff, which are both small-businesses owned by some friendly women. After some searching I also came across Aah Paws, and if all things go well I will probably be ordering a new collar set from them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with their current collars, but like I mentioned, Chloe needs a 1.5" wide collar, and I want to get her one that matches Chip's.

If you've got a dog in your family that you would like more control over, but really don't want to go with the choke chain or even the pinch collar, I definately recommend the martingale. Not only is it more stylish, it's also a lot safer than a regular buckle collar and is a good investment of your money, IMHO.

1 comment:

2 Hounds Design said... has fabulous collars as well, 99% of them are washable (you can wash them in the washing machine on the delicate cycle and let them air dry) and they are always happy to work with you to help you choose collars that will last for your dogs.

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