Dog Training Tools: The Martingale Collar

Updated on October 26, 2016
An example of martingale collar
An example of martingale collar | Source

Also, known as greyhound collar, a martingale collar is type of dog collar with some added benefits. This collar is not very popular compared to your regular buckle collar or a choke collar. However, many dogs owners find this collar very beneficial for certain types of dogs.

At a first glance, the collar looks almost like a normal buckle collar, but at a closer look, you'll see that it has two distinctive loops. One large loop is the actual collar, the part that encircles the dog's head and is slipped onto the dog's neck. This loop is often made of fabric. The other loop is most commonly made of chain (but can also be made of fabric) and is where you will find a ring to clip the leash to. This is the most important part of this collar as it's what makes it particular.

Basically, once you have clipped your leash to the ring, when the dog pulls, the chain loop becomes taut which causes the collar to tighten on the dog's neck. When this happens, the dog is unable to slip his head out of the collar and escape as he possible could with another type of collar.

Using a Martingale Collar

Advantages
Disadvantages
Doesn't slip off
Shouldn't always be left on
Isn't constantly tight
May not be an easy find
Doesn't choke
Doesn't hold tags

Advantages

There are several benefits derived from using a martingale collar. If you are unsure, ask a dog trainer what type of collar is the best for your dog. In the case of martingale collars, they offer several advantage for specific types of dogs.

  • Doesn't Slip Off

For a good reason a martingale collar is also known as a Greyhound collar or a whippet collar. Basically, greyhounds, whippets and other member of the sight hound family have heads that are much smaller than their necks. This makes slipping out of a dog collar quite an easy task. A martingale collar would be the perfect collar for these dogs as it prevents them from slipping their heads out. Other dogs who may benefit from this collar are dogs with very smooth hair which makes it easy for a collar to slip off or dogs who through trial and error have learned how to escape from a collar. Why use a martingale in place of a regular buckle collar worn tight?

This is how I see it: imagine a rigid, plastic bangle bracelet. These bracelets stay nicely put all day,but when you need to remove them, you wriggle them off your wrist and it works its way out. Of the dogs who would escape buckle collars (and even harnesses) I have seen, they sort of wriggle out as you would wriggle a bangle bracelet off your wrist. These dogs know the right moves to get out.They freeze, back away, move their necks side to side, then get one ear out, then the other and voila! The worst "wrigglers' I have seen were fearful dogs. Often, the owners further help these dogs out, by instinctively pulling on the leash as the dog backs away..... and with certain breeds with slim heads (for a good reason these collars are also known as greyhound collars), it's as if you had soap on to remove the bangle bracelet, as easy as pie...

With the martingale instead, what I have seen is that even when the dog tried to back out, the collar definitively tightened enough to adhere and removed room for wriggling. I have often seen them used incorrectly though such as owners using them with pullers. These dogs are constantly coughing, gagging as it's constantly tight. Also, the owners let their dogs wear them all day when they're not meant to. Such dogs did much better once I converted them to a harness.. no more coughing and gagging, yay!

  • Isn't Constantly Tight

If you own a dog who slips out of collars or has a small head, you may feel compelled to let your dog wear a tight buckle collar to prevent him from backing out of it. This can be very uncomfortable as the buckle collar is tight at all times. With a martingale collar instead, the collar isn't tight all the time, (unless as mentioned, your dog is a puller) but tightens only when you need it the most, which is when the dog occasionally pulls on the leash and tries to back out of the collar.

  • Doesn't Choke

Best of all, a martingale collar doesn't choke a dog as a choke collar does, it only contracts so it stays snugly on the dog and prevents him from escaping. For this reason, a martingale collar is often also known as a "Humane Choke Collar" since it's sort of mid range between a buckle collar and a choke.

Disadvantages

As with other training tools, there are always risks for misuse. After discussing the advantages of the martingale collar, let's discuss some disadvantages of this training tool. of course, no training tool is ever to be used as a substitute for training!

  • Shouldn't Always be Left On

You shouldn't leave a martingale collar on 24/7 as it may very likely not be safe. As with other collars, it should not be left on when a dog is crated.

  • May Not Be An Easy Find

A martingale collar may not be easy to find at times in stores and may need to be ordered online or you may need to head to large pet stores that carry a variety of collars.

  • Doesn't Hold Tags

Another disadvantage is that martingale collars are not crafted to hold ID tags on the D ring. The reason being that they can get snatched on something with devastating effects. However, some martingale collars offer the option to have a name and phone number embroidered or the collars side slides can be used.

How to fit a martingale collar

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

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      • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        5 years ago from USA

        Hi Larry, thanks for the votes up!

      • Larry Fields profile image

        Larry Fields 

        5 years ago from Northern California

        Hi alexadry,

        Thanks for answering my question from your sight hound hub. Voted up and useful.

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