Call them what you will: escape artists, "Houdini hounds," wiggle worms...some dogs are masters of slipping their collars. Too many people resort to choke or prong collars, not realizing the potential for injury.
There is a better solution to safely keep your pup on the end of your leash - the martingale collar!
What is a Martingale Collar?
Long used by sighthound owners (Greyhounds, Italian Greyhounds, Whippets, etc.), martingale collars were designed for dogs whose heads are smaller in diameter than their necks. On these breeds, a standard collar will slip right off if the dog simply lowers its head and backs away!
Think of a martingale as a collar within a collar: the larger portion wraps around the front of your dog's neck, and a smaller loop connects it, allowing pressure on the leash to narrow the diameter enough to avoid slipping over Fido's head, but not enough to hurt him.
When your dog is relaxed, the smaller loop lays flat against his neck.
The mechanics of these collars make them an excellent choice for dogs of any breed that tend to escape by pulling away on the leash, and they are often used as an obedience training tool for gentle correction.
How to measure and fit a martingale collar:
When choosing a size for your dog's martingale collar, measure around the widest part of her head, just in front of the ears. Also measure around the neck, where the collar will lay at rest.
TIP: If you don't have a flexible fabric measuring tape, use a shoelace - mark the end point and lay it across a ruler or tape measure.
After slipping the collar over your dog's head, tighten the buckle until you can fit 3 fingers inside the small loop between the two rings. These rings should not touch when pressure is applied to the collar.
Attach ID tags to one of the side rings (not the D-ring that the leash clips to) so that the collar does not tighten if the tags get stuck on an object.
Why to avoid choke chain and prong collars:
Choke chain collars are dangerous and can cause serious injury to your dog:
Prong collars use negative reinforcement to demand obedience through fear and pain. Moreover, prong collars purchased in the pet store and used incorrectly without instruction by a certified trainer. This is an ineffective technique that - in addition to the above risks - can elicit aggressive behavior in reactive or fearful dogs.