I have a lab/BC mix. Currently his neck is pretty big, and his head pretty small.
Twice now we've encountered an exuberant dog that escapes from its yard and comes down to play as we pass. In the hustle of maintaining my dog and catching the excited/socialized dog, my dog has slipped out of his collar.
Where I realize it would be awesome if my puppy could settle down (and I'm working on it), I'm wondering if a martingale collar would be an appropriate safety measure for moments like this, and if anyone would care to chime in.
I use martingale collars for walking/running my dogs. I love them and find them kinder and more effecient than regular collars. i would recommend getting one 1.5" or 2" wide. I have whippets who can slip their collars very easily due to the way they are built plus it is kinder on their long necks if they bolt for whatever reason.
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I have a greyhound, so she only goes out in martingales (sighthounds tend to have heads that are as narrow as their necks, so they recommend martingales or other specialized collars). There are a LOT to choose from. Check out etsy for some fun designs, or this is a site with a lot of options and reasonable prices for fancy pretty ones: http://www.crowncollars.com/shop/index.php
I love mine on my greyhound's pretty neck (she has several...) and I like the 1.5" for day-to-day use, and I'll usually put on the 2" for fancier events = ) I like the flexibility and control they provide, and I will probably always use them from now on with any breed. I just prefer the feel, and I've seen so many dogs with all size heads back out of collars.
Martingale collar yes, wide no! because of the type of dog you have. You should be able to find a nylon collar (3/4" or 1" wide) with chain martingale.
Definitely pick the width that is appropriate for your dog. You likely won't need as wide of one as us sighthound folks unless you think that would be comfy for your dog. They make some very fun 3/4-1" collars though.
The chain isn't all that different (and it can be easier to find in stores, in my experience). It works the same, but I suppose it could feel a little stronger to some dogs (I imagine my short-haired, thin-skinned grey might like it less than the nylon). The one benefit I could see with a chain is that it's likely to slip more quickly and more smoothly. I have a couple of nicely worn fabric collars that slip really great, but some are a little slow. I think I might prefer the cloth/nylon type if you are ever leaving it on (say, supervised but off leash at a friend's house or something), but I don't have any chain ones, so I'm not sure.
One thing though, and I'm sure you've seen this, I would not leave a martingale on unsupervised or in an area where it could get hung up on something. They can get it stuck on something and choke, hang a foot through it and get all tangled, etc.