When we place a greyhound in a new adoptive home, the dog will be wearing a new Martingale collar. This type of collar may be unfamiliar to a first time greyhound adopter. We do a lot of training to make sure that all adopters understand why greyhounds must wear this type of collar. We also educate people about making sure that the collars are properly fitted and we warn people about the possible hazards associated with their use.
A greyhound’s head is smaller than his neck. This means that a greyhound can back out of a regular buckle-type collar. Although regular “choke” collars might work, they are made out of a metal chain which can do harm to the delicate greyhound neck. The Martingale collar is a “humane choke collar” because it is made from webbing and other softer materials that will tighten appropriately around the neck but not harm the throat and skin.
It is very important to know how to use the Martingale collar. If it is not used properly, it can be downright dangerous to your greyhound.
There are many types of Martingale collars and just as many people making them. One can do an internet search on greyhound Martingale collars and be amazed at how many varieties and styles are available to buy. They may be as cheap as a few dollars and as expensive as a few hundred dollars. Many are made by using metal and/or plastic hardware which can be adjusted in many different ways (depending on who you are buying from). But the most important information to remember when buying a Martingale collar is to make sure that it is sturdy, that it is the right size to fit your greyhound’s neck properly and that you know how to use it correctly.
Here are some important tips when you buy your greyhound a new collar:
1. Your new Martingale collar should come with a set of instructions for proper adjustment/use. If not, you should inspect the collar and try to loosen and tighten it by working with the hardware. Never put the collar on the greyhound’s head first!! Make sure you know how to loosen and tighten it first before trying it on your greyhound. If you force the collar on the dog and it is too tight, your greyhound will not be happy! And, you may not be able to get it back off if you do not know how to loosen it.
2. Before placing the collar on the greyhound, loosen it to its maximum diameter first. Then when you put the collar on, you should know how to tighten it to a snug fit (not too tight and not too loose). The collar should rest in the middle of the neck and you should be able to slide a finger under it without much resistance. Again, do not place the collar on the greyhound until you are sure that you know exactly how to loosen and tighten the collar properly.
3. All collars are made with a loop that holds a D-ring that is used for attaching the leash. DO NOT put any tags on this D-ring! If your hound gets the tags caught on anything, he can choke to death because he will panic and pull the collar tight. Some collars come with a safety breakaway D-ring. Use this ring for tags only. If your new collar does not have a safety D-ring, then place the tags on the collar’s hardware. That way, if the tag gets caught, the greyhound stands a chance of pulling the collar off its head.
4. If your new collar comes with a safety D-ring and you are walking your dog, please remember to use the large D-ring on the loop of the collar for the leash. If you mistake the safety D-ring for the larger D-ring, your dog might pull the smaller D-ring out of the collar and get away (remember, the safety D-ring is meant to break away from the collar if pulled).
5. Always make sure that your greyhound’s collar is properly adjusted (see photo below) before going on walks every time. A collar might loosen on its own just from normal wear. Never take the chance that your greyhound can slip out of his collar because it has become too loose.
6. When crating your greyhound, it is wise to remove the martingale collar. That way it won’t be possible for the hardware or collar to get stuck anywhere in the crate.
7. Some adopters do not use a martingale collar when their greyhound is in the home. If you choose not to use the collar in the home, make sure that your greyhound is wearing some form of identification in case he/she escapes. Like martingale collars, there are many types of “tag” collars that can be purchased that will hold I.D. tags. An internet search (or talking with other adopters) can lead you to the type of tag collar that will work best for you and your hound.
8. Always be vigilant about inspecting your hound’s collar. Some of the fancier collars may not be as sturdy as the collars made with strong webbing. A collar that is frayed may break. If you are going to be leash walking your greyhound several times a day, you may want to purchase a strong collar for the walks and save the fancier collar for special occasions.
9. If you are an adopter and you need a new collar for your greyhound(s) and cannot afford to buy one, please call us and we will be glad to give you a collar. We want all of our adopted hounds to be safe.
Here is an illustration on proper collar adjustment. We hope that this article is helpful and will provide the information you need to keep your hound safe.