Are Martingale Collars Cruel? Best Ways to Minimize Risk

are martingale collars cruel

Sometimes people group martingale collars in with choke chains or choke collars, which leads to a common question: are martingale collars cruel? How does a martingale collar work?

Also, are greyhound martingale collars and leashes safe for small dogs? Are there martingale collars for puppies?

There is a martingale collar for all kinds of dog breeds – no matter the size. You’d find wide martingale collars for a large dog breed. You can even find a martingale collar whippet sized.

Martingale collars, also known as no-slip or limited-slip collars, are an alternative to the traditional flat collar for dogs since they allow for greater control and less freedom of movement. These collars prevent dogs from slipping out.

A smaller loop of cloth with a D-ring is connected approximately a third of the way down the length of the collar, giving it an appearance similar to a flat collar.

How Do Martingale Collars Work?

Martingale dog neck collars, also called no-slip or limiting-lip collars look very similar to regular flat collars on first glance. The pressure around the dog’s neck is evened out by a martingale flat collar, making it slightly safer and more secure than prong collars.

During an inspection however, about 3/3 of the collar length is covered by an inset loop. It can have fabric or chains and always has metal D rings in the center. The leash can be attached by the buckle.

When tugged against, the adjustable loop on a martingale collar tightens; when the strain is released, it relaxes.

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So, Do These Collars Hurt?

When your dog pulls out of the collar, this can cause constriction. The pulled loop will be shorter. It may seem as though there’s a choke-chain in a sense.

If you have a greyhound or whippet, you probably already know a thing or two about this double buckle dog collar. These no-slip collars are invaluable for dogs with slim profiles who can easily slip out traditional collars on walks.

The question is understandable. Any collar that constricts around the neck seems like it would hurt! And it would, except martingale collars, have a built-in safety mechanism that prevents them from tightening too much.

As long as dog owners use them correctly, martingale collars aren’t cruel. However, it’s easy to use them wrong, and that can cause pain, discomfort, or worse. So, let’s zoom in on how martingale collars work. Then we’ll discuss when you should and shouldn’t use one.

martingale collar safety

Dog Pulls: Martingale Collars vs Choke Collars

A Martingali collar looks a lot like a choker collar. The Martingale dog collars are adjustable to fit your dog’s necks, while chains choker collars are designed so that you can adjust them as they get bigger.

The Martingale collar adjusts to the neck length of your pet so that the dog collar is not snarled even when it has been completely closed.

When tension is applied, a choke collar is tightened and the dog choked – this can literally choke the dog if the tension is applied. Many dogs do not like to be pulled as it chokes them. Many dogs wearing choke-collar tend to cough constantly.

It’s hard to enforce desired behaviour through positive reinforcement when pups experience discomfort like choking.

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Martingale Collars Vs Pinch Collar or Prong Collar

The prong or pinch collar and the martingale have similar designs. The ring at the base of the muzzle loop is where the leash attaches.

Martingale Collars vs Standard Collars

When it comes to choosing the right collar for your dog, it’s important to know the difference between a standard collar and a martingale collar.

Regular collars are the most popular type of collar, and they’re often used as a training tool. They provide more control than martingale collars, and they can be helpful for teaching desired behaviors.

However, the traditional collars can also be less comfortable for your dog, and they can be more likely to slip off. Martingale collars are growing in popularity, and they offer several advantages over most collars.

A martingale collar might be narrower than a standard collar or it may have the same width. They’re more comfortable for your dog, and they’re less likely to slip off.

They also provide more control than typical collars, which makes it a great training tool. However, martingale collars can be more expensive than standard collars, and they’re not always necessary for every dog.

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How to Make a Martingale Collar Work?

Martingale collars, also known as no-slip or limited-slip collars, look similar to regular flat collars at first. On closer inspection, though, you’ll see that about 1/3rd of the collar’s length is made up of an inset loop. The smaller inset loop can be of fabric or chain and always has a metal D-ring at its center.

You attach the dog leash to the metal ring when walking your dog. Should your dog try to pull out of the collar, it will constrict, preventing your dog from slipping out. However, pulling only shortens the length of the smaller loop.

The idea may sound similar to a choke chain, and in some ways, it is. Both choke chains and martingale collars constrict when you or your dog pulls on them.

However, choke collars have no stopping point. They continue to tighten, effectively strangling the dog. For that reason, the Humane Society of the United States labels choke collars as inhumane.

Martingale collars, though, are humane. As long as you fit a martindale collar correctly, it won’t constrict to smaller than the size of your dog’s head. So, the martingale collar will keep your dog on a leash without causing discomfort.

Before you begin using one, though, there are a few best practices to consider. Let’s start with when (and when not to) use a martingale collar. This will help ensure your dog’s safety.

martingale collar benefits

When To Use a Martingale Collar

You’ll sometimes hear martingale collars referred to as “greyhound collars” because greyhound owners use them regularly—any slim-headed breed benefits from a no-slip collar, including whippets, Salukis, and other sighthounds.

Slim-headed breeds tend to slip or pull out from their collars when on walks. Such behavior can be exceptionally hazardous in cities where there’s traffic and other risks. Martingale collars work great in those circumstances because their purpose is to keep your dog on a leash.

Martingale collars also work well for anxious and fearful pups. Rescue shelters commonly use martingale collars because anxious dogs tend to back up when frightened or startled.

If a dog backs up on a walk, it can easily slip from its collar, and rescue dogs, especially, are prone to run away. By using a martingale collar, owners can keep their fearful pups safe.

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Can You Leave Martingale Collars On All The Time?

Martingale collars serve an essential purpose with slim-headed breeds and fearful pups, but dog trainers recommend that dogs never wear a martingale collar without supervision. That’s because of the front D-ring inherent to a martingale collar’s construction.

If the ring gets caught on anything, your dog will instinctively pull, tightening the collar around their neck. As long as you fit the collar correctly, it shouldn’t choke them, but it will be uncomfortable.

Keep in mind that your dog will eventually figure out how to remove the muzzle loop from the head collar and use it as a chew toy, so it’s best to take it off while not in use.

So no, you can’t leave martingale collars on all the time. You should reserve them for walks, and you should use a flat collar for everything else, especially when your dog is unsupervised.

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Fitting a Martingale Collar

If you size your dog’s martingale collar too tightly, it’s dangerous! You have to size it correctly to be safe and effective, so this part is crucial. It has to be properly fitted.

Contrary to a chain choke collar, which has no restriction on how tightly it may constrict, martingale collars can only tighten to the size of a dog’s neck due to the way they are made.

Start by playing with the collar before it’s on the dog. Ensure you understand how to adjust it, which strap will loosen it and what will tighten it.

Then, measure your dog with a soft tape measure, around the neck, just behind the ears. That length should match the size of the martingale dog collar in its closed position. The fitting can be different for dogs with narrower heads or small heads.

When using a martingale collar for this type of safety reason, you may measure your dog’s martingale collar in its closed position to precisely match the snug measurement of the dog’s upper neck. By doing this, you can ensure that when the collar tightens, there won’t be choking.

Finally, try the collar on your dog. Be sure that it’s properly adjusted. Ensure you can easily slide a finger between your dog’s neck and the collar; the fit should be snug but not tight. After that, you’re ready to take a walk!

benefits of martingale collar

What Breeds of Dogs Should Wear Martingale Collars?

All breeds dogs wear a martingeal collar. Most sighthounds are usually wearing these collars due to their very thin head and their curved shape which makes their traditional collar much harder to get off.

Best Practices For Using Martingale Collars on a Dog’s Neck

Using a martingale collar isn’t a bad idea in certain situations, but there’s a time and a place for them. Below we list a few best practices for martingale collar use. We also list a few things you should never do.

Only Use Martingale Collars For Walks

We said it above, but it bears repeating. Only use no-slip collars for walks or while your dog is under supervision. The D-ring in front makes them dangerous for regular wear. It can get caught on things, which can create a painful situation for your pup!

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Use Them With Any Breed

Though Greyhounds, Whippits, and Salukis may be the most likely to wear martingale dog collars, they are safe with any dog breed. If you have a fearful pup or just one that’s prone to slipping out of their collar, a martingale collar might be a good solution.

A martingale collar is perfect for pups with thick necks and breeds like the lab mix. It’s designed for pups with narrow heads as well like Greyhounds and Whippets.

Don’t Place Tags On The Collar’s D-ring

If your dog has identification or vaccination tags, never place them on the front ring of a martingale collar. That ring is only for a leash. Tags can catch on things.

Some martingale collars have safety rings that will break away if pulled. You can place tags on the safety rings of the collar.

are martingale collars safe

Check The Collar Every Time

Before each walk, recheck the collar and ensure it fits correctly. Collars can stretch with regular use. If it loosens too much, your dog could slip out, martingale collar or not!

On top of that, collars wear over time. If the collar is frayed or in disrepair, it could break if your dog strains. In the end, if your dog pulls frequently, they will always be wearing a tight collar, which isn’t very pleasant.

Don’t Use On Dogs That Pull

It’s tempting to use martingale collars as training tools for dogs that pull on the leash while walking, but that’s not a good idea. Dogs that are still learning leash manners will likely pull when they spot other dogs.

As long as you fit the collar correctly, a dog shouldn’t be able to choke himself with a martingale collar, but endless pulling will be uncomfortable. Make sure to avoid jerking your pet if your dog pulls.

Plus, there are better ways to teach a dog not to pull on a leash. You could try a front-hook harness or head halter instead. Both are better options for training dogs not to pull on walks.

So, Are Martingale Collars Cruel?

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So, are martingale collars cruel? We don’t think so. In fact, if you ask a dog trainer, he would recommend the Martingale collar for leash training and leash manners for most dogs. This collar is great for positive reinforcement training.

Sometimes people frown on martin collars because they think of them as traditional choke chains. Choke chains are always inhumane.

But that said, a martingale collar is always a great choice for your dogs or any other dog. In fact, ask the next rescue group and you’d find that they use a martingale collar as their backup collar.

This collar offers control throughout an entire walk with your dog.

are martingale collars good

Final Thoughts

Martingale collars, or sometimes known as greyhound collars, are different, though. Because of their two-loop construction, they won’t constrict too tightly around your dog’s neck unlike some regular collars.

However, as pet parents, you have to fit the collar correctly to avoid risks. You also shouldn’t use this as a regular collar for day-to-day wear. It should be for walks when you’re directly supervising your pet.

Martingale collars work well for dogs with slim snouts. They’re also great for dogs who are anxious or distrusting. Using a martingale collar correctly ensures your furry friend is safe on a leash. Follow the best practices above, and you’ll minimize any sort of risk.

Of course, you can always shop our dog store for a collar that won’t affect your dog’s ability to move. Your dog will love them! CLICK HERE!

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