Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Is Your Dog’s Collar on Securely?

By Tamara McRill

Putting on a dog collar should be an easy task, right? Pick one that fits your dog’s unique personality, slip it around his neck (not too tight), fasten, give your woofer an affectionate head rub and you’re good to go. At least that’s what I always thought, but it turns out there’s more that goes into making sure your dog’s collar is on nice and secure.

I found this out the hard and heart-stopping way, with my chocolate Labrador, Wuppy. We were all geared up to take a walk in our new neighborhood, which is super exciting when you’re a dog that loves the adventure of new locations. When Wuppy and I set off, he bounced right out of his collar!

See, Wuppy has a generous waddle – the loose skin around a dog’s neck – which, combined with his bouncy behavior makes keeping him in his dog collar a little tricky. Luckily for me, our older dog, Cody, was also in the yard with Mike. So Wuppy bolted straight to the two objects of his hero worship.

Go By Feel, Not Sight

The first thing I learned when I started researching how to properly make sure my dog’s collar was secure was that I was doing it wrong. No shocker there – he did escape. I was looking at Wuppy’s collar to see if it looked like it was loose enough, when I should have been feeling it.

A good rule of thumb for flat collars, which are the most common, is to make sure you can get two fingers underneath it. You simply slide your fingers in between the collar and your dog’s neck. If there is more space than that, try tightening it up a notch until it is tight enough to comfortably allow your fingers underneath. If you can’t get two fingers under the collar, then loosen it up because you could be accidentally hurting your dog’s throat.

Check the Buckle

This is something we are in the habit of doing with all of our pets, since our dog Cody is older and has some health issues that prevent his collar from being tightened securely. His buckle comes loose a lot, and even at his slower pace the collar could come undone if we don’t make sure the buckle is properly fastened. The most common thing we have to adjust is the prong, which comes up a lot, with his collar being so loose. It’s also what we have to occasionally adjust on our other dogs.

If your dog’s collar has a plastic fastener, such as a side release or breakaway buckle, you’ll want to make sure it comes together like it should, before taking your dog on a walk.

Be Vigilant for Secureness

Of course, ensuring the collar has a great fit isn’t a “one time and you’re done” activity. You have to keep periodically checking that it is on your pet securely, since neither the collar nor your dog will always stay in the same condition as when you first placed it around their furry neck. Besides buckle wear, the collar fabric can also get worn out or stretch just enough for your pooch to slide his head through. Collars can also become fragile over time and get rips.

Puppies and young dogs can grow out of their collars, sometimes quicker than you think; be sure to frequently check that the collar isn’t too tight. Older dogs also can gain and lose weight, which will affect the fit of their collar.

It’s also good to work on mastering sit and stay commands, as well as keeping CANIDAE dog treats in your pocket when you take your pooch for a walk. Sometimes, even with the most vigilant of checking, dogs still manage to wiggle out of their collars. For your dog’s safety, it’s good to have some backup training and an enticingly tasty bribe if this happens.

What kind of collar does your dog wear? Has it ever slipped off before?

Top photo by jespahjoy
Middle photo by lindyi
Bottom photo by Tony Alter

Read more articles by Tamara McRill


  1. Those are all such good suggestions. Luckily, I don't have to take my dog anywhere except the vet a couple times a year. But it would be really scary for the collar to come off.

  2. A lesson I learned once and once was enough...talk about kick starting my heart! Luckily I was able to grab my pup quickly! Great post!


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