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Martingale collars for dogs (and do you leave your dogs collar on)

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  • Martingale collars for dogs (and do you leave your dogs collar on)

    On an off-topic day a few months ago I was asking for adopting a dog advice for a first time dog owner.

    In November we found the perfect pooch for us. A rescue here in Ontario, Canada brings dogs up from a shelter in Ohio and apparently this guy was even tagged to be put down due to overcrowding. He has a wonderful temperament and you can tell someone put a lot of work into him at some point.

    One of his only downfalls, he's part bloodhound and loves to sniff everything and pull on the leash a lot when walking. We have him in dog school (more so for me to learn to deal with a dog since I'm only used to dealing with horses) and the instructor recommended considering a martingale collar for him since he is a big strong boy and his nose takes over.

    Anyone have experience using martingale collars (yay or nay). Also opinions on leaving dogs collars on all the time? We are currently leaving his regular collar on all the time as his id tags are on it, but I don't know if i would want to leave on a martingale collar all the time if I were to use that as his regular collar.

  • #2
    I use a martingale collar on my biggest dog. She walks beautifully about 99% of the time but for that 1% where she sees something and *loses it*, I like having the martingale for a little extra control. She's only about 55 lbs. but she can pull like a freight train when she wants to . The martingale works great for us at home. I have the one with the chain insert (vs the all nylon one). The chain doesn't actually touch the neck, I think the principal is that just the sound of the chain acts as a reminder to them that they need to stop pulling (although I could be remembering this wrong). But anyway, I find that it works for us.

    However, when we go to the park, or shopping, etc., I always use the Gentle Leader to insure complete control. With the Gentle Leader it's like walking a feather on the end of the lead! Makes our time out very relaxing and fun!

    Oh, and I NEVER leave the martingale collar on. Too easy for it to get caught on something (with disasterous results). It stays attached to the leash hanging by the door).

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    • #3
      My dogs all wear flat collars at all times. I use a martingale collar when walking 1, 1 walks in his flat collar, and my 'nosey parker' dog (he's a beagle and young...his sniffer gets him into ALL kinds of trouble) wears a Gentle Leader while walking. It's been the best choice for him as I can control his nose.
      Random horse pics http://www.flickr.com/photos/glfprncs/
      Talk to me about fitness or nutrition (I'm an A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer)!
      My blog! http://personalsweatequity.blogspot.com/

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      • #4
        Oh I love my martingale collars!

        Both dogs have regular collars they wear with tags/LED light, but when they're at home or in the fenced backyard, they're naked. We did this mainly because the hound thought it great fun to drag the little dog around by his collar, and little dog can at times be a little too tolerant of such nonsense.

        The little dog (a 45-pound lab/terrier mix) does well in his martingale collar for everything (general walks in the neighborhood, going to Petsmart, training classes, etc.). I like it because he can't back out of it and I can adjust it so it stays up behind his ears for situations where he's going to be a little amped.

        Big dog (60-pound hound mix) alternates between a Gentle Leader and a martingale collar. I put on the Gentle Leader when I need reliable "brakes and steering," which isn't terribly often now. Otherwise I keep the martingale collar adjusted so it stays high behind his ears, and that works well.

        I like the chain martingales better than the nylon ones; I think they work identically, but I like the noise the chain makes. I can twitch the leash and make it jingle some and that is a good way to get their attention without having to do a correction.

        If you do get a martingale collar and want it to sit high behind the ears, get one with a buckle. They're tougher to find, but they're SO worth it. It was such a PITA to constantly be loosening the collar to get it over their heads and then snugging it back up.

        Their martingales are only on them if we're walking or in the car, as I don't want them to find a way to get hung up somewhere.
        Full-time bargain hunter.

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        • #5
          We have greyhounds and their martingale collars (and tags they came with) stay on all the time.

          To make your dog a feather to lead you have to be very very consistent with corrections - no pulling allowed, but the correction has to be almost before he gets to the pulling stage - like training a horse. The wow should never need to be out of the lead.
          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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          • #6
            We have a martingale collar on the Rhodesian Ridgeback/Boxer cross, and she wears it all the time. Mostly because ordinary collars do not work for her, she manages to pull her head out of them.
            There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

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            • #7
              My mother always walks her Doberman in a martingale collar and likes the control it gives her. We never leave a collar on our dog except when he is going for a walk or a car ride with us.

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              • #8
                I use a martingale on my sensitive Lab and a choke chain on my UNsensitive Lab. Both work well with both dogs. They have been highly trained, and on the occasions when the unsensitive Lab gets too excited, the choke chain calms him down. Basically, I use the martingale on my sensitive one because it's no-slip. No way to come off her if she pulls back because she's afraid of something. That's the only reason I use anything more than a regular collar. For both our dogs, the choke and martingale are "out of the yard" collars, if they're going on a walk or trip, and they both wear regular nylon collars with ID on them at all times.

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                • #9
                  I have seen too many accidents with any kind of tightening collars (martingale, choke, pinch) to keep it on my dogs, but my Basenji had a martingale for walks and a rolled leather collar that held her tags.

                  And I agree--gentle leaders are the BEST for big strong pullers.
                  Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

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                  • #10
                    We leave our dogs regular, flat, collar on all the time, unless she's having a bath. Should she get out and run off, she'd have her tags on.

                    Our dog is older now and pretty calm. But, when she was young, she was a real handful. She was too strong for my, then 12 year old, son to walk on his own. We used a "pinch collar" on her and it worked great to keep the pulling under control. I don't know anything martingale collars, but a pinch collar is preferred to a regular "choke chain" because it doesn't cut off the dog's breathing when they are pulling. The pinch (or prong) collars look scary, but they are not and are really quite humane, if the dog pulls, it pinches a bit and they knock it off. Our dog doesn't need hers any more, but I've used it to walk my neighbor's extremely strong pit bull, who could most certainly out pull me when he sees another dog he doesn't like.

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                    • #11
                      I have little dogs that like to play and get under the furniture. Also they are still crated when alone. For these reasons they do not wear their collars when at home. They are relatively unique looking and are microchipped should they get out (shudder).
                      They walk fairly politely on flat collars. I will use them for more serious training unless something more is warranted. There is a definite upside to having little dogs - not afraid of being overpowered. I would never leave any kind of tightening collar on any unattended dog.

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                      • #12
                        My dogs all have flat collars on at all times. That was a really good thing a couple of weeks ago. I managed to not shut the front door all the way before I went to bed. Two of the three dogs went out the front door and took a 2 mile walk. Somebody caught the lab and called my husband's cell. Yes all three dogs are microchipped but who is available at 6 am on a Sunday morning to read those microchips.

                        I would never leave a martingale or choke chain collar on an unattended dog. A friend's lab/rottie cross got his choke chain collar caught on the knob of a cabinet. Thankfully he was big enough that he took the whole door off the cabinet. The door was found down the hallway in the bedroom. The cabinet had been slid about 3 feet from the wall- it was heavy and filled with books.

                        On one hard to walk lab we used the prong collar. It was the only one he didn't pull on hard enough to choke himself. We tried a Halti but he hated it and would panic over it.
                        Current lab is a puller and we use a harness that has the hook on the chest. He does pretty well with that. He only has it on when we are walking him.
                        Last edited by SonnysMom; Jan. 17, 2011, 11:50 AM. Reason: spelling
                        Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

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                        • #13
                          We don't ever leave collars on in the house. Ever. Too much they can get stuck on, plus 2 of ours are crated when we're gone. A friend of mine lost her dog when it's flat collar got stuck on the back of it's crate and it strangled itself. Not fun coming home to that.

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                          • #14
                            On a properly fitted martingale collar it could never tighten enough to even mildly choke a dog. But with our greyhounds, the risk of them escaping without a collar and tags is too great. Can happen in the best of families...and has.
                            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                              On a properly fitted martingale collar it could never tighten enough to even mildly choke a dog. But with our greyhounds, the risk of them escaping without a collar and tags is too great. Can happen in the best of families...and has.
                              This is true. A properly adjusted martingale cannot close tight enough to choke (not even close). BUT, the danger is not that the martingale will tighten to the point of choking, it is that the loop in the collar (when not attached to a leash) is very capable of becoming hooked on something. The possibility then exists for the dog to panic and start pulling wildly to free itself - and that can lead to major injuries; a broken neck or back among them. Those things do, and have happened, with martingale collars left on unattended dogs. Just not worth the risk, IMO.

                              A properly fitted flat or rolled collar is much safer when leaving a collar on full time.

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                              • #16
                                My Basenjis have to wear martingales when on leash. My 15 year old girl B is very adept at the Exorcist head rotate that will have a regular collar off in a blink.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by laskiblue View Post
                                  very adept at the Exorcist head rotate .
                                  LOL!

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                                  • #18
                                    My lab has a regular collar from Cabellas that he wears 24/7 that has his tags on it as well as a name plate with my name and phone number.

                                    When we got for walks he wears a pronged/pinch collar. As someone else mentioned, they look like torture devices- but they're really not that bad! I take his pinch collar off as soon as we get to the woods where he runs off leash for most of our walk. Then for the walk home, pinch collar and leash go back on.

                                    Personally, I'd never leave anything other than a regular collar on 24/7 or when they aren't supervised.
                                    Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
                                    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever

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                                    • #19
                                      What is a martingale collar? Is it like the training/ nylon choke collars?

                                      My dog wears a nylon choke collar, as do most of the other 20+ dogs in my barn (they do breeding on the side). My dog only wears one because a dog while I had her at the barn ate her collar, so my BO gave me a new one she just bought to replace it. I think the other dogs where them just incase they fight, but don't quote me on that because I'm not positive.

                                      Oddly enough, or studs get along great and we only occasionally have a problem with females!

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                                      • #20
                                        The loop in the martingale collar can twist up like a twist tie and tighten a whole lot more then the adjustment allows for. It can and does strangle dogs who get caught up and turn around, and around, and around again, to death. And what dog doesn't do that when tangled? Don't leave a martingale collar on an unattended dog and you won't have to find out the hard way that the advice is for a reason.
                                        Power to the People

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