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Dog collar safety to ensure dog does not escape

January 27th, 2007, 02:23 AM
I just read Jessie's post about Tucker getting hit by a car, though it is easy to blame the speeding driver the accident would never have occured if Tucker had not gotten loose in the first place, my post is not about blame, it is to help prevent future accidents and suffering thru prevention and education

There is soooo, sooo much focus and info about training and care of a dog out there but very little on choosing and corrrecting using the most important piece of equipment your dog will ever own....... the collar. And the majority of owners often do not put them correctly or they choose a type that is unsuitable for the dog, there are some dogs who necks are wider than their heads and the only reason a collar should ever be used is for identification tags but never for walking the dog, instead they should be wearing a snug fitted body harness.

I know many will say the head collar is safe, I did use a halti once, it was purchased and was fitted to the dogs by someone else who understood how to properly fit the collar since they were new on the market still at that point and my second of third outing my escape artist did manage to pull out of the halti and end up running out into the street so my faith in head collars was lost at that point plus I have heard of neck injuries being caused in some types, maybe for my type of dog it was the wrong choice a lot of new designs have came out, since some may very well be safe, I never tried, so cannot comment on them, since my experience with is very limited

There are several types of collars, they are designed different because not all dogs have the same build, a dog with a smaller head to neck circumference cannot safely wear a traditional buckle styled collar, because they are able to slip out of them. this also goes with breeds whose base of the neck is very wide and tapers to the head, So the style of collar is an important decision when it comes to safety and in some cases there are dogs who have a build that cannot wear a collar no matter what style is chosen because their head circumference is too small and needs to wear a harness for safety. I have one dog that can slip out of all collars including the martingale I chose for her a 5 point adjustable harness to be sure it will fit her body correctly at all points because even body shapes vary alot from one dog to another, even within a breed

For dogs with a thick midneck that is wider in circumference than the widest part of the head or has a lot of loose folded skin at the neck like a sharpei , an owner should be looking at using a collar that cinches such as a martingale or use a harness. A martingale should fitted and adjusted near the upper part of the neck snuggly with 2 finger space only to ensure correct fit, if the upper neck measurement is almost similiar to head circumference better to stay safe and use a harness. Many people think of a martingale as a choke collar or training aid, they instead where designed as an antislip collar for dogs whose build will allow them to back out of regular collars. For dog that can wear flat collars, put on and adjust to mid neck so just 2 fingers can be slipped underneath, test the collar to ensure it cannot be slid over the head.

There is what is referred to as the hound collar which is more commonly used in Europe it is a extra wide collar that tapers at the throat, meant for dog with long necks who can slip out out of traditional collar, they are fitted snuggly at the very top of the neck at its narrowest point just behind the ears.

There are the full choke collars which which are available in chain, rope and leather should only be used for walking and never be left on the dogs, it is also important to learn out to put on and use these properly

So choosing a collar type is not only important but one also has to know how to properly fit the collar. Since becoming a collar maker I have become aware of how many people do not put collars on correctly the majority of owners have the collar way too loose which not only becomes dangerous due to slipping out of, but the loose collar also become a snagging risk which can have deadly results An example of such is if you have a couple dogs playing and the collars it too loose the one dogs lower jaw slips under to collar in a panic to get free it start whirling thus choking the dog wearing the collar to death, if the collar is fitted snuggly with only a 2 finger space another dogs jaws won't be able to slip underneath, or the dogs collar is hanging loose gets snagged and in a panic to get free whirls causing the collar to twisted and tighten cutting off the ability to breathe. For this reason lot of people have gotten away from using dog collars in the house, I still leave collars on my dogs 24/7 other than to check them, because I know if properly fitted they are more of a lifesaver than a hazard, I have came across a few loose dogs I could have caught them if only they had been wearing a collar which can be extremely frustrasting especially when you have a scared and terrified dog, one was on an extremely busy street and was hit and killed if only I had a way to hold him when he came close to me I could have saved him, but I could not hang on him and he would not get close to me again after the failed attempt, so I watched helplessly as he ran farther down the street and then ran across again this time getting hit. I know quite a few people who go out and try to help in recovering escaped dogs and have heard them express frustration and anger at finding out the dog has no collar on, because most dogs that are on the loose are typically scared and normally if you can get close to the dog, the dog only allows one chance to grab it if you fail that dog becomes more wary and will stay out of arm reach which then means alternate ways need to be found to capture to dog or you are forced to wait it out until is starving and then it desire to eat overrides it wariness, and even then trying to bring a noose made from a leash over it's head will cause it to bolt, so a collarless dog is rarely caught successfully without having to go suffering or injury first and a lot of extra man hours. Myself in roughly 40 years of dog ownership have never had a dog get its collar snagged, but had several dogs get loose for one reason or another of my current gang 4 out of the 4 have gotten loose from me(with Maya it has either been inside the house or the yard where I was trying to hold her by the collar and she backed out, Nikki after 8 years decided to slip by me out the door when I was grabbing the mail, Winnie found a way out of the yard, while I was out in the front say goodbye to my son who was visiting, I still have to figure out how, Sunny has pulled the leash out of my hands a few times and slipped past a person who was entering the dog park though they were not always in danger I still consider them escapes since I lost control of them, I have also had dogs that did escape and ended up in the street though all were recovered very quickly because I or someone else had means to grab hold of them, when they got into arms reach, so to me I feel there is much greater value in leaving the collar on and I base that opinion on odds if the collar is properly fitted the odds to a strangulation is miniscule maybe one in a million chance, but I know from experience the escape risk is far far greater, it could be as a result of a dropped leash, or the dog spooked or saw something and wanted to give chase and pulled loose, a door to the house not closing properly, a dog jumps against a screen dog or goes thru a screen window, a guest, delivery person or contractors holds the door open not thinking about the dogs, a meter man or utility company person or child wanting to retreive a toy thrown over the fence leaves a gate open or weather damages the fence or gate, a dog rushes out of the car because it spot a small furry , the dog is in the yard but ends up spooked because of fireworks or car backfiring so jumps the fence inorder to flee. There are so many ways a dog can potentially get loose, being able to catch to dog asap reduces the chance for serious injury or death so the odds of an escaped dogs not being able to be caught right away because there is nothing to grab hold and therefore runs into a street and gets hit by a car, is a much greater risk and maybe 10 times more likely if not a whole lot more so , so I decided to protect against the more likely risk by leaving the collar on and to lessen the risk of possible snagging death by choosing a crate carefully to ensure there is nothing to snag on, by checking the collars to ensure they fit properly and by not using tag split rings that can get snagged in carpeting.

Adjustable collars have slides that are used to adjust the collar for fit which can slip against the webbing over time causing them to become larger, so it is important to regularily check the collar to ensure it still has just the 2 finger gap, some leather collars can stretch so again it is important to check to see if fit has remained correct.

The other thing is every collar should be inspected monthly looking for wear in the webbing especially in areas wear hardware may rub against the fibers, check the stitching at seams sometime they can unravel or sun rotted overtime, check all hardware plastic buckles slides they too can deteriorate from cold and UV if the plastic hardware shows a lighter colored lines usually greyish it means the plastic as become weak it that area and should be replaced asap, this is most apparent in the buckle where it clips together or in the rings of the parts sewn next to the webbing where most of the stress is applied to the collar, it is actually a good idea to slide the webbing down when doing your collar checks, with metal hardware , it is still important to take a good look, some collars are made with inapporpriate metal hardware the worst culprit is the "D" shaped ring the midpoint of the straight line of the "D" should be welded where wire end join together, unfortunately many collars are sold with unwelded D-rings that are meant for the apparel industry rather that meant as dog hardware and these can sometime open up and the gap inbetween can get big enough they can be slip out of the webbing so you could be left with only the ring at the end of the leash and dog and collar is gone. so when you examine the collar try to slip the webbing down or trying to turn the d-ring in order to check the d-ring to see if a gap exists and chuck the collar in the garbage. Avoid the dollar store made in China collars every one I have seen has unappropriate hardware for dog collars the metal is unwelded and the plastic hardware is plastic which is brittle not nylon or acetal so much more susceptable to cracking and breaking. Black acetal hardware is the strongest of the plastic certain parts have a maiximm breaking strength of 230 lb(+ or - roughly 10 lbs) that is when new and only certain pieces like the d-ring that is the same 1/4 inch thickness all the way around, some parts drop to 80 lbs breaking strength ,but that does not mean it would be suitable for 80 lbs dogs, the following explains why

Example with shoes
A good example of how a force on small area can result in a very high pressure is seen in women's shoes with high spiked heels. These types of shoes can cause damage to some floors due to the very high pressure on the floor at the heel.

An average shoe distributes the weight of the person over 20 square inches. Thus, a 100-pound person applies 100 / 20 = 5 pounds per square inch on the floor.

Since a spike-heel is only 0.25 square inches, the 100-pound person would be applying 100 / 0.25 = 400 pounds per square inch on the floor at the heel! In some cases, that is sufficient to damage the floor.

Breaking strength in collar hardware also represents force per square inch, so an 80 lb dog lunging on their collar, the area on the hardware of the collar where the pressure is being applied is a 1 by .25 inch area on a one inch wide collar, one not only have to factor in the weight of the dog but it's acceleration at the time it hits the end of the leash, which will for a large breed be greater force than what the hardware is rated for by the manufacturer of the part, so if you use collars with the plastic buckles it is extremely important to be checking the hardware for stress lines in the plastic especially where the fabric is sewn at the ends of the side release buckle and understand cold and UV will further weaken the plastic over time so you should consider replacing collars every couple of years.

Another study on dog physics and force to help understand why extra thought should go into choosing a collar for large breeds, there is a lot of math calculations in this but this is a calculation of the amount of force a 66 lb dog creates when it takes off and hits the end of a 6 foot leash on your arm and also ends up on the dogs neck.


Here are some doggie dynamics. Thanks to Amanda and others for info on GH acceleration. I have calculated the numbers in various units (English and metric) to give everyone equal opportunity. Assumptions are stated.

1. GH acceleration. Amanda wrote to say that successful racing Greyhounds must hit a speed of 42 mph and must do so in 6 seconds.

42 mph = 61.6 ft/sec = 18.8 m/sec

0 to 42 mph in 6 seconds is therefore an acceleration rate of:

10.3 ft/s^2 = 3.13 m/s^2 (approx. 1/3 rate of gravity)

2. A dog on a leash "sees" something an bolts for it. Assuming a dog starts from rest, how far will it go and how fast will it be going by the time a human reacts to the movement? I assume that it takes 2/5's of a second to become aware of the dog's motion and a further 1/5 of a second to react by tensing you arm. Total human reaction time is therefore 0.6 sec. Using the standard equations of motion for distance(d) and velocity(v) we see that:

d = 1/2 at^2 = 1.85 ft = 0.56 meters (distance dog travels in 0.6 sec.)

v = at = 6.18 ft/sec = 1.88 m/sec = 4.2 mph (speed of dog in 0.6 sec)

3. You have a six foot leash. How long will it take the dog to get to the end of the leash and how fast will it be going when it gets there?

t = sqr(2*d/a) = 1.08 sec. (NOTE: 0.4 sec AFTER you react to movement)

v = at = 11.1 ft/sec = 3.38 m/s = 7.6 mph

4. Your dog weighs 66 lbs. (mass of 30 kg). The dog hits the end of the leash. How much force does this apply?

First we have to calculate the deceleration of the dog (a').

ASSUME it takes 1/10 of a second to stop dog and leash is not elastic.

Dog goes from 11.1 ft/sec to 0 ft/sec in 0.1 sec.

a' = dv/dt = 111 ft/s^2 = 33.8 m/s^2.

Force applied to leash (and your arm)

F = ma' = (30 kg)*(33.8 m/s^2) = 1014 Newtons = 228 lbs.!!!! No wonder you get knocked down!! Remember, all of this took place in 1.18 seconds. So there you have it. These numbers are what is known as an "order of magnitude" calculation commonly referred to as "ballpark" calculations.

It is also important to check your leash and harness over , one of the more common problems with leashes using this style of snap is the button used to hook and unhook the leash operates using a spring which can become rusted or get dirt inside which can prevent it from closing properly so if a little stiff or not closing, try using a lubricant to see if you can make it snap close freely if not chuck the leash in the garbage, another problem is that button on this type of snap can get caught on dog clothing or on threads leaving it in the open position causing the dog to get loose, if you have this type and have a coat that has a leash slit, use a carbiner as a secondary safety device connecting to the dog collars d ring and thru the eye of the snap, The other thing is choosing a correct leash for the size of your breed, people people prefer the lighter ones tend to be less expensive and easier and lighter to carry or put in a pocket , but the snap hooks are also lighter and thinner and the metal can bend and break if used on a larger breeds, also stitching may not be as reinforced as the stitching for larger breed leashes So make sure to read the weight/dog size guidelines for the leash you are choosing

January 27th, 2007, 03:43 AM
Very nice informative post,,Our two dogs always have collars with their tags on 24/7. Put harnesses on when going for walks. I found that with just a collar they will be choking and coughing alot during and after the walk. With the harness there is no problem at all. Even though they are only shih zus, when they see something and take off on a 16 ft run it is quite a jolt for them and me when they hit the end of the leash. If they did this with a collar it would break their neck. Personally I don't like choker collars, the possibilites of a dog getting caught on something or jumping off something and getting caught and causing it to choke is something I wouldn't want to come home to see.

January 27th, 2007, 06:07 AM
You are so right OG in saying that of all the things we invest in, a size/breed appropiate and well-made collar is crucial for the safety of our dogs. I can't tell you the number of times I've been walking through the local parks here and have seen collars left on poles and park benches (to draw attention as a "lost item").

January 27th, 2007, 01:38 PM
I hate these things. Not only does the pin sometimes fall out unexpectedly with age, but the area where the dog puts pressure is the part with the thinnest metal! With age and even with cold, it can easy snap at the thin part (as Jiorji and I saw walking a dog on a FREEZING day at the SPCA).

If your dog is a runner, I strongly suggest you get one of these:
They're at any hardware store in the chain section. They also come with little swivelly things at the bottom. The odds of a dog getting out of that alone is next to impossible.

My dobie was a super runner and we tried every type of hook/snap and nothing contained him till we got one of those.:)

January 27th, 2007, 02:15 PM
Yup. Rosco Snapped one of those Prin right on the end. :eek:

January 27th, 2007, 02:19 PM
The first one, right? Not the second one... Please not the second one! :D :pray: :D

January 27th, 2007, 03:38 PM
I've been browsing these forums for about a week now and I just wanted to say how informative the discussions are around here. I never even thought about the clip from the leash to the collar as an issue. I've got the "standard" clip that Prin hates, and while I've never had any problems with it I'm certainly not going to wait until it breaks!

Rio (my goofy and often hyper husky-mix) is never on a leash unattended, but I'll be getting one of those other clips right away.

January 27th, 2007, 03:51 PM
I don't even own a dog,but I see more and more dogs with harnesses,it's a great idea and don't seem to bother the dog too much:thumbs up
I might even get one for Bailey,my walking-pal,she is not trained and strains against her collar a lot almost choking herself.

January 27th, 2007, 03:52 PM
The first one, right? Not the second one... Please not the second one! :D :pray: :D

Sorry, the second one :o

Kidding :p
Yeah it was the first one.

January 27th, 2007, 09:16 PM
Great post, OG! Thank you! I have a dog whose head is smaller than his neck as well, so slips out of collars way too easily. I never walk him on his collar, but always use a harness. We have several different ones we use, depending on the outing and length of time it will be worn. :) But I had never heard or thought about a dog's head being smaller until I experience that with my own dog. Great post! :thumbs up

January 27th, 2007, 09:53 PM
Yeah i use a martingale as Rosco can slip a regular collar.

January 27th, 2007, 10:51 PM
thank you OG, it shows you put alot of thought, care and research into that post :angel:

I too don't like the common leash snap but it's so hard to find leashes that *don't* come equipped with this hardware :sad: at least not for the simple nylon leashes we like. and you can't change them out either, unless you bring the leash to a cobbler with the selected snap and ask for a replacement with solid stitches. I wish petstores would offer a wider variety of "safe leashes"!

Dakotah is now wearing a harness (with tags) and we LOVE it. i don't think we'll ever go back to a collar for him... maika's still sporting her buckle-collar and she has slipped out of it a few times :sad: it's on as tight as possible but it's not fail-proof... because she plays so much with other dogs, wrestles, rolls in mud and poop... a harness wouldn't work for her.

i guess there is no perfect solution. :frustrated:

January 27th, 2007, 11:15 PM
The leashes we have are similar to the second pic, they are 2 pronged not 3 and are the same as what one of my snowboard ones had, it's easier to clip with mitts on, I know it's a name brand but on e-bay it cost $5 (it's a roots one) and has been the nicest leash I have found, I have a cotton/hemp and leather thick one for Riley and missey has a thinner leather one (they do both have matching collars, agian Roots leather ones) with metal buckles, in the car they both wear vest harness's which I can leave on when out walking but I still use the collar. Riley was a puller but he's great now even on a 4ft leash, and Missy doesn't realise she's being taken for a walk. I looked a lot into the collars and we have quite a few spare leashes we brought before we realised that a good quality leash that you would put your trust in only costs a few dollars more.

January 27th, 2007, 11:26 PM
would you have a link to the leashes on e-bay? very interested in getting a couple... :o thanks!

January 28th, 2007, 02:26 AM
:sorry: :offtopic:
Sellers name is braceletbaron, shipping is a bit on the high side but seller is A1and was quick to get stuff out (I have no relaationship to seller and you may have a different experience to me) here are a few links, i brought a few of leashes and brought a few collars as I didn't know how long they would last, turns out Missy has a 2 inch smaller neck than riley adn the 20 inch one we brough for him (too small) was perfect. But make sure you get a shipping quote first as I'm not sure there's a discount (or much anyway) for buying bulk. I was very lucky as I made a deal and picked up but it's not something he does but I wanted the stuff quickly and was staying a block away from his work place. here are a few but jsut click on his list and the rest will be in there, he hads loads of different stuff so if you want something and it's not listed just ask, he didn't have a black leash when I wanted one, turns out no one bid on them so he stopped listing them. 46QQtcZphotoQQcmdZViewItem 46QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

January 28th, 2007, 03:50 AM
The style of hook Prin showed is a called a panic hook it is meant mostly for horses in the event they panic they can be quickly released so as not to do damage to themselves. the round end on it is better suited for rope leads than flat leashes, You could probably find a short horse lead with this type of hook in a farm supply store if really wanted

The reason the other type would have broke in half is not because of style but because it was a weight too small for the size of the dog, or a defect in the casting of the metal,( the metal is heated so that it is in liquid form and then poured into molds, should an air bubble form on the inside it would not be detectable this is extremely rare for that to happen, most air bubbles would rise to the surface and would be noticed during an inspection and discarded, and not just in this style but can happen in any type of molded part They are made from solid brass a very strong metal which is used also in horse gear but it is important as I said in my original post to choose a leash according to the size of the breed you are planning to use on. They even come in strengths for horses.
Even a panic hook would break if used to carry more weight than what it is rated for or if an aair bubble formed inside during casting.

So there is no reason for every one to run out and replace their leashes just because of the style of snap hook ;)

The type x.l.r.8 showed is called a trigger snap hook this is a leash hook, and I love this type as it has to be almost fully pulled up to remove off the collars d-ring, it too could break if one choose a lead that is too lite for the breed intended

This type is also okay for larger breeds