Category Archives: dog collar

What is a Martingale Collar?

By Linda Cole

I was searching for a new collar for one of my dogs awhile back and ran across an odd looking one I’d never seen before. I had no idea how it even went on the dog, so I hung it back up and continued my search. Recently, I learned what it was – a Martingale collar – and why it’s one I need to consider. What is a Martingale collar, and what makes it better than some of the other choices we’ve had in the past?

What threw me when I saw the Martingale collar was the little loop on the back that appeared to have no function that I could see. However, that loop is what makes the collar a more humane one over the chain choke collar I’ve been using on my dogs.

I had a female Siberian Husky who kept escaping from her buckle collar. After so many times of chasing her down the street and screaming her name in vain as she raced away, I decided I needed a collar she couldn’t wiggle out of. She always came back, but that’s beside the point. I sure could have used a Martingale collar back then, but at that time, my only choice was a chain choke collar.

Choke collars are controversial for good reason. They were made for training purposes and aren’t supposed to be used as a regular collar for a dog. However, many owners find them useful in controlling their dog or as a collar for dogs like mine who wiggle out of a buckle collar. They should be used with extreme care though. If used incorrectly or by an overly aggressive owner, a choke chain can be very harmful to dogs.

A choke chain does exactly what the name implies. It can also damage the dog’s soft muscle tissues and  trachea, and can cause injuries to a dog’s spine, especially if the collar is put on wrong. The skin can easily be pulled through the metal ring of the collar or pinch the skin. Worn incorrectly, the choke chain won’t function properly during training sessions and the dog becomes confused as to what’s expected of him. He did what was asked, but if the chain doesn’t release its tension, the dog thinks he’s still being corrected. This type of collar should never be used on any small breed dog or on puppies.

A Martingale collar works in a similar way as the choke collar, but it can’t be pulled so tight it chokes the dog or causes injury to the neck. It tightens just enough to get the dog’s attention and releases the tension when the leash is relaxed.

This collar was originally designed for dogs with heads smaller than their necks, mainly the sight hounds like the Greyhound or Saluki. However, this is a good collar for any dog owner who has a wiggly dog who can escape a buckle collar or a larger breed that’s harder to handle and likes to pull on his leash. When the dog pulls on his leash, the Martingale collar will tighten just enough to keep the dog from backing out of it. Once the dog relaxes and stops pulling, the collar loosens on his neck. It’s also called a limited slip collar or Greyhound collar.

The proper fit of a Martingale collar is gauged by the two metal rings on the back of the collar holding the little loop that’s attached to a leash. When the collar tightens, the two rings should never meet. If they do, the collar is too big and the dog will be able to back out of or wiggle out of this collar. The purpose of the rings is to allow the collar to tighten just enough to keep the dog secure. Once you have the correct fit, it can be taken on and off the dog without having to readjust it.

A Martingale collar is not a half-check collar. It looks similar, but the Martingale is made entirely of nylon which reduces the chance of the dog’s hair or skin getting caught in chain. They’re sold in narrow or wider widths for better control. You can find Martingale collars with the little loop made out of chain.

It can be used as your dog’s regular collar, but the small loop can get caught on things, so it’s highly recommended to remove the Martingale collar anytime the dog is left unattended or allowed to wander on his own, especially while hiking. Put a regular buckle collar on your dog as his main collar and use the Martingale when he’s on a leash for safer control for you and him.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Choosing the Best Leash and Collar for Your Dog

By Suzanne Alicie

Just as there are many different sizes and types of dogs, the same is true for leashes and collars. Choosing a leash and collar combination that is right for your dog’s size and strength is an important part of being a responsible pet owner.

There is no definite right choice and no definite right style of leash and collar, because each dog requires different features. But the number one feature of safety for your dog is universal, and should always be the first factor when shopping for a leash and collar.


There are retractable leashes in many different strength levels; there are braided leashes, leather leashes, and nylon leashes. Leases come in all colors, thicknesses and lengths to make sure that when you walk your dog he is secure. When purchasing a leash it is important to look at the weight suggestion on the tag. You certainly don’t want to walk your German Shepherd on a leash made for a Poodle.

The type of fastener is also important when choosing a leash. You want a fastener that is easy to clip on and off, but not one that is easily triggered into the open position by rubbing against a collar. Your comfort also comes to mind when choosing a leash. Some have handles that are simply a loop made out of the leash material; others have a leather handle that is secured with rivets. For security, a one piece is always your best bet, and many times for comfort as well.


You can find rhinestone collars, spiked collars, chain collars and many other styles. You will also find collars made of leather, nylon, and braided fabric. The main things to look for when choosing a collar are whether it will fit your dog’s neck well, without choking, and whether it is strong enough to hold your dog. Dog collars are sized from extra small to extra large based upon the neck and head measurement of the dog.

A secure fastener that won’t come loose is also important when selecting a collar. So keep these important factors in mind and don’t just buy a collar because it is cute. Some of the other features to look for in a collar are the location and position of the leash clip ring, a tag hook, and padding between the leash and the dog’s neck. Read this article for more information on choosing the right dog collar.


Large and small dogs alike are often outfitted with harnesses instead of traditional collars. These also come in all colors and sizes. The benefit of harnesses is that they give the pet owner more control of the dog while walking, and because they don’t pull tight around a dog’s neck, which is a choking hazard.

No matter what style or color of collar and leash you choose for your pet, their safety is the main point of importance. Therefore a good fitting collar, secure fasteners and clips, and a strength that is appropriate for your dog’s weight are definite requirements when shopping for these products for your dog.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Choose the Right Dog Collar

By Ruthie Bently

Dogs should always wear a collar, whether it is for identification or training purposes. Not only that, most dogs wear collars from the time they are puppies until they leave us and cross the “rainbow bridge.” Choosing the right collar for your dog is very important; it needs to be comfortable, as well as being the right size and weight for them. There are other things to consider when purchasing a dog collar too. Is it for a new puppy or an adult dog? Is it for training, and if so what kind: obedience, confirmation or Schutzhund?

If you are choosing a collar for a puppy, just remember that they are teething and your beautiful leather collar may end up on the bottom of their crate if they get to it. When I was still in pet retail and sold a collar, our only alternatives were nylon or leather; now there are more choices. You can choose nylon, which is durable and easy to clean. Or you can choose cotton or hemp, both of which come from renewable sources. I like the renewable idea because I am a recycler, but do what fits your budget the best.

If you are choosing a collar for an adult dog, they are past the teething stage (though they may still be chewers) and a fancier collar is fine. I dressed Nimber in a collar made from saddle leather after he was an adult, and he looked great. Skye on the other hand, is a rough-and-tumble dog; she wears a decorated nylon collar that is easy to wash. When an everyday collar is fitted properly, you should be able to fit two fingers side by side between your dog’s collar and their body, and should not be able to pull the collar off over their head.

Are you looking for a training collar for your dog? Different trainers may require different collars for training; if it is a beginning obedience class most trainers prefer a choke collar. However, you should only have a choke collar on your dog when training, and it should be taken off as soon as training is finished. There are several link sizes, so make sure you get the appropriate link size. Don’t use a collar on a puppy that would be more suited to a two year old dog, choose a choke collar with smaller links.

A choke collar that fits well should not fall off over your dog’s head; however, it should be loose enough that it doesn’t choke your dog on its own. To fit a choke on your dog, face your dog, form the choke collar into the shape of the letter “P” and put it over their head. When fitted correctly you should have about four fingers worth of draw when making your correction. Too much or too little draw and your correction will have no effect on your dog.

The “pinch” collar is another training collar, so called because it pinches the dog’s neck much like a mother dog does with her teeth when she is disciplining a puppy. The pinch collar also has different link sizes, and links can be added and removed as needed. This collar does not go over the dog’s head, and when fitted properly should have about two inches on each side of the center ring that lies on your dog’s body. I prefer the pinch collar, as it does not cut off a dog’s wind, and I can give a firm, but gentle correction to get the results I desire.

You should check your dog’s regular collar every day to make sure that the stitching, buckle and any rhinestones or additions are not loose or coming apart. Your training collar should be checked daily as well for rust and elongated end rings. If the plating is beginning to come off, cease using it, as you can get metal slivers from the burrs that the wear of the plating can create. If this happens you should replace the collar with a new one.

Whichever collar you choose, whether it is for training, everyday wear or fancy dress, it should fit your dog properly and wear well. After all, you wouldn’t go to work wearing a tie with a hole in it or a pair of pantyhose that is three sizes too small.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.