Tight Collars

I'm confused - the people at the obedience class that I went to said that you should be able to put two fingers under the collar - that was all. Yet other folks have told me that I need to have it even looser, so much so that they can slip out of it. My concern with having it loose enough for the dog to be able to slip out of it is exactly that - what happens if it slips off his head if he ever tried to escape and he was running around without any ID?

This is one of my biggest pet peeves (pun intended) with people and their pets. I'd say that 95 percent of all dog owners have their dog's collar on too tight. I loosen every dog's collar that I deal with or meet. The owners generally think I'm being pushy or forward but I don't mind. It saves lives. And everyone else should do the same.

The rule is very simple - if you can't slip your dog's collar off its neck and over its head with relative ease, it's on too tight. And choke chains for casual wear are an absolute no-no.

Say your Border Collie decides to go over the chain link fence in your back yard and gets his collar caught up on a link on his way down the other side. Would you rather come outside to a) a dead dog hanging by its neck alongside the fence or b) an empty collar on the fence and a loose dog wandering the neighborhood with tattoo and/or microchip? Graphic, yes, but I know which I would prefer.

If the dog's going to get out or run away, it's going to do so with or without its collar. If it's the collar that's preventing the dog from escaping, you can be guaranteed that this is an entirely life-risking step. And 95 times out of 100, the dog gets caught on its collar when it is "safe" and in its own house/yard (e.g. behind the toilet bowl). I like my chances of the dog coming home on its own, being found by neighbors, or being picked up and ID'ed by the tattoo or chip than being able to catch a suffocating dog in time to remove the collar. And even if the dog is never returned, I like the idea that it is at least out there alive somewhere than dead where I know it is.

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Page last updated April 1, 1997. All material Copyright 2004 Border Collie Rescue, Inc. and Dr. Nicholas B. Carter
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