Martingale Dog Collars: How to Use Them and Which Are Best

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Martingale collars have been indispensible to Greyhound people for ages, but in the recent past, they’ve become even more popular among dog owners of all types. The martingale is a type of collar that keeps dogs safely on-leash without choking them.

Read on to learn all about martingale collars: what they are, what kind of dogs benefit from using them, and how to choose and fit one to your dog.

If It Barks 1.5″ Martingale Collar

This adjustable martingale collar is made from heavy-duty material and comes in a range of colors and sizes. You can also order a custom size if needed.

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What is a martingale collar?

Martingale collars, also called no-slip or limited-slip collars, are a type of dog collar that provides more control than a typical flat collar, and prevent dogs from backing or slipping out. They look similar to a flat collar, but about 1/3 of the length of the collar is actually a smaller loop of fabric with a D-ring attached (see image above). On some martingale collars, the smaller loop is made from chain instead of fabric.

The collar works by constricting when the dog pulls on the leash. Tension on the leash causes the smaller loop to tighten, which in turn pulls the larger loop tighter—but not too tight! Martingale collars are adjustable, and should not tighten past the width of the dog’s neck. They offer comfortable security without harming your dog.

What’s the difference between martingale collars and choke collars?

On the surface, Martingale collars may seem similar to choke collars because they tighten when the leash is tense. However, properly-fitted martingale collars do not choke dogs. Because of the way it’s constructed, the martingale collar can only tighten to a certain degree. This differs from chain choke collars, which do not have a limit to how tightly they can constrict.

Choke collars have long been considered inhumane and dangerous for dogs. Martingales are a safe alternative. As long as the martingale is properly adjusted, it will tighten just to the size of the dog’s neck, preventing them from backing out of their collar without choking them.

What breeds should use martingale collars?

Martingale collars are sometimes called “greyhound collars” because they’re designed for dogs whose heads are more narrow than their necks. They’re very popular among owners of Greyhounds, Whippets, Salukis, and other slim-headed breeds.

However, martingale collars aren’t limited to sighthounds! They’re a good choice for any dog who tends to back out of their collar, or for people who want a little more control of the leash without putting their dog in harm’s way. In fact, many rescue group use martingales as “back-up collars,” placing them alongside flat collars for extra security on walks.

How to choose and fit a martingale collar for your dog

Martingale collars come in different widths for different dogs. Many dogs will do well with a simple 1″ wide martingale collar. But for narrow-headed dogs like Greyhound and their cousins, a wider, padded martingale offers greater security and comfort. In fact, you can search for “Greyhound collar” to find martingales specifically designed for graceful greyhound necks.

Whatever style of martingale collar you choose, it’s important to purchase one that fits well. To find the right size, measure around the base of your dog’s skull just behind the ears. This measurement is the same as the collar when it’s fully tightened or closed. This size chart is for the PetSafe brand martingale collar but serves as a good example. Choose the smallest collar that will comfortably fit your dog.

Once you’ve found the right size martingale collar, you’ll need to adjust the fit to your dog. First, slip the collar over your dog’s neck and pull it up to the spot just behind their ears. Then, pull up on the smaller loop and watch the metal slides on either side. According to UK collar maker Doggy Boho, a well-fitted martingale collar will have approximately two-finger width’s distance between the two sides to ensure appropriate tightening when pulled.

How to safely use a Martingale collar

Martingale collars are best for safely walking dogs who may otherwise slip or back out of a traditional collar. They’re not meant as a walking aid for dogs who pull. After all, if your dog pulls nonstop, they’ll have a constantly-tight collar; even though martingale collars are safe, constant tightness is uncomfortable for your dog. If your dog pulls nonstop, it may be more useful to work on loose-leash walking skills.

Professional dog trainers recommend using martingale collars only on walks and removing them while at home. Although martingale collars are safe, the loose design and dangling ring does have a higher chance of getting caught on things. For that reason, dogs should always be supervised while wearing martingale collars.

With 21 colors to choose from, there’s bound to be a Blueberry Pet martingale collar to suit your dog’s style. You can even personalize the collar’s nylon band with your pet’s name and contact info.

Blueberry Pet Essentials Martingale Dog Collar

You can choose from 21 colors and have the option to engrave your pet’s name with this martingale collar.

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This adjustable martingale collar is constructed with abrasion-resistant ribbon material. Show here in purple, it’s also available in pink, green, and blue colors as well as several different sizes.

Red Dingo Classic Martingale Dog Collar

This martingale collar is adjustable in order to fit your dog better.

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Available in five color options and four sizes, this PetSafe collar is an affordable martingale option that’s made out of sturdy nylon material.

PetSafe Martingale Dog Collar

This martingale collar comes in five colors and is a great deal for its affordable price.

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