What are Martingale Dog Collars?

By: Jill Jones

Martingale dog collars are specially designed to prevent dogs—especially those with narrow heads, such as Greyhounds—from slipping out of them. Unlike a “regular” buckle collar, a Martingale collar tightens against the dog’s neck if she pulls or tries to back her head out of it. A Martingale dog collar provides added control which is helpful not only for the dog’s safety, but also for effective training purposes. Though it performs a similar function, this type of collar differs from a traditional choke or prong collar in that it’s made from a soft fabric such as nylon, rather than a harsh metal chain, providing a gentler and more humane solution to the challenge of dog restraint and control.

Martingale Collars Versus Other Types of Dog Collars

Martingale collars work differently than traditional dog collars. They have two loops: one that goes around the dog’s neck like a regular collar, and another, smaller one positioned at the back of the neck with an integrated D-ring to attach a dog lead. The loop around the dog’s neck fits loosely until you pull on the dog leash which causes the loop to tighten, applying gentle pressure to the dog’s neck. Unlike a choke chain or prong collar, however, the Martingale collar has a limited range in which it tightens, reducing the possibility of pain or injury to the dog’s neck, when used properly.

The Bottom Line: Safe, Effective Control for Your Dog

Very few dogs ‘come out of the box’ knowing how to walk properly on a leash; they have to be trained through a combination of positive reinforcement and gentle correction. The Martingale dog collar is a handy contraption for providing the latter, which explains why it’s favored by dog show handlers. If the collars help their dogs obey their commands throughout the rigors of the dog show ring, imagine what they can do on your everyday walks with your dog.

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