A Martingale collar brings the best of two worlds together: the gentle humanness of a standard collar and the control you get from a choke collar. It was designed to be a training aid and is endorsed by thousands of trainers. It’s also used for dogs who can usually slip out of their collars. Even if your dog doesn’t easily slip out or is past training, it’s a gentle collar that will have you and your dog eager to go on your walks.
Once you try one out, you and your dog will wonder how you ever survived for so long without it.
What is a Martingale collar?
They are specifically designed for dogs, such as sighthounds, whose necks are more prominent than their heads and are often able to escape the collar. However, many people like to use the Martingale instead of the harsher choke or prong collar. They are used quite frequently for training dogs. Martingale collars are also used for simple walks since they are gentler on your dog and allow him to be comfortable but you to maintain control when you’re in busier settings.
Why are Martingale collars better?
A Martingale collar’s design makes it harder for your dog to slip out of their collar. If you have a dog who’s a pro at wiggling or backing out of their collar, this is the perfect collar for you. Rather than letting your dog back out like regular collars, the Martingale will gently tighten and keep them in the collar. That way, you won’t have to use an excessively tight collar or always worry about them chasing that squirrel across the street.
Martingale collars are gentler than other collars. Properly sized Martingale collars can’t choke your dog. There’s a limit to how tight they can go, unlike the unrestricted choke collars. They also equally share the pressure across the neck rather than pressing the entirety of force on the front of their throat.
Should I use a Martingale collar?
The Martingale collar has the most appeal to owners of dogs with narrow heads; however, any dog can use and benefit from it. If you think your dog will benefit from a collar that:
- will prevent him from slipping out
- gives you firm control, but is gentle on her
- applies equal pressure around their neck rather than putting the entirety of the force at one point.
If you think they’ll benefit from one or more of those, then a Martingale collar is the collar for you!
How to use a Martingale collar
It’s essential that the collar you buy for your dog fits right and so you need to measure their neck. Since a Martingale collar usually slides over their heads, it’s essential to measure both their head and their neck. You want to make sure that the collar will slide over whichever is larger.
To measure their head, you’ll want to start under the jaw and around to the front base of the ears to measure the circumference. Then, measure from where the jaw meets the jaw and around the ears. To measure their neck, measure the base of your dog’s neck.
When you put it on, there should be a one to two finger gap on the loop around your dog’s neck. That will tighten when you clip the leash onto the ring and gently pull on the smaller loop.
- Make sure your Martingale collar fits your dog correctly. This is important for any collar, but especially one that tightens and loosens. To make sure it fits correctly, adjust the Martingale collar to fit around your dog’s neck snugly but not too tight, just like a regular collar. When you attach the leash and pull, make sure that the two hardware pieces that make the loop on the collar don’t touch. If they touch, there is too much room, and your dog might be able to slip out. No one wants to deal with that!
- Make sure that you always keep an eye on your dogs when they are wearing the Martingale collar and are not on a leash. There is that loop on the collar, and it’s easy for them to get it hung up somewhere accidentally. Needless to say, that will not make them like the collar much. For that same reason, please don’t put your dog in their crate or kennel with their Martingale collar on either. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Don’t use a retractable leash. Because of how the Martingale collar is designed, the retractable leash will be putting constant pressure on your dog. This is not good and will be giving them mixed signals about what you want. It’s also not good for that pressure to be always pulling on them.
For that same reason, if your dog is a puller, you might want to get a harness and then train them to heel or walk beside you. No matter what collar it is, it’s not good for your dog to have constant pressure around their neck.
Tips for Training with Martingale Collar
- Be consistent! This rule applies to every aspect of your training. If you are not consistent, your dog will have difficulties learning what they are and what they aren’t supposed to do. Until your dog is fully trained, only let people who know what you are training them to do and you know will be consistent with that walk or work with them.
- Reward them. Different owners give different rewards, but always make sure that they know when they did good. If you are training them to heel, or walk beside you instead of pulling ahead, release the collar when they walk beside you, give them a treat, or happily encourage them with a “good dog!”
- Expect the same respect from them without their collar as with their collar. It would be best if you made sure that when your dog is off the collar, he still does what you ask. You earn that respect by being consistent with your dog in rewarding him when he does good. You also need to make sure that what you are asking him to do is within his skill set. If you ask him to do something he can’t, he’s just going to get frustrated and start giving up.
- If you are having trouble with your training, don’t give up. Consider bringing in a dog training expert to give you advice on better ways to train. Also, consider the personality of your dog. Not every dog has the same personality, and different things work better for different dogs. Do your best to tailor your training to each individual dog. Perhaps try treats or a clicker. Maybe you need to start training in a quieter spot. Maybe your dog has some anxiety. Whatever the reason, do your best to know your dog and work to their advantage.
- Use the tightening and loosening of the collar to your advantage. Because of the Martingale collar’s design, you are able to pull and tighten the collar as well as loosen it. You also have the ability to choose how tight you pull the collar. If your dog is doing something that they know is wrong, pull the collar firm and tell them “no.” When they stop doing the wrong thing, instantly loosen on the collar and give them an instant reward. If they are doing something and you just want to get their attention, pull it gently and not in punishment.
- Use the chain as an audible signal for your dog. When the chain scrapes against the metal rings, it makes a noise. If you just want to get your dog’s attention or give them a warning, a slight pull will cause a sound to do just that. Take advantage of every resource you have to give your dog the best training.
- Use the collar as an aid, not a fix-it-all. Getting a new collar does not mean that a dog with anxiety will suddenly become unafraid or that a puller will suddenly stop pulling. The collar is there to help you, but it will not do the training for you.
Top Martingale Collars
- If It Barks Designer Striped Martingale Dog Collar: higher priced, but the highest-rated. They are handcrafted from top-quality nylon and nickel-plated steel. There’s the option to have them create a custom-sized collar for you at no extra cost.
- Max and Neo Stainless Steel Chain Martingale Collar: middle of the pack pricing, but still a high-quality collar. For every collar bought, they will donate one to a dog rescue. They have five different sizes for a perfect fit.
- Country Brook Petz Martingale Heavy-Duty Nylon Dog Collar: One of the cheapest collars. There are four different sizes and 21 colors to choose from. They use colorfast dye to prevent the dye from running or fading.
- Mighty Paw Martingale Collar: middle of the pack pricing, but still a high-quality collar. It has reflective stitching to make it easy to spot your dog in the dark. Has a D-ring so that you can easily switch back and forth between using a Martingale and a standard collar.
- Blueberry Pet Classic Martingale Collar: One of the cheapest collars. You can customize for just a few more dollars to have your dog’s name and your number embroidered on the collar for easy identification. There are 32 colors and four different sizes.
- Mighty Paw Stainless Steel Martingale Training Collar: Middle of the pack pricing. Fully chain collar for those stronger dogs out there. It’s made out of high-quality steel and is perfect for beginning to train your dog.
If It Barks Designer Striped Martingale Dog Collar
This impressive Martingale collar has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon from 417 reviewers. That says plenty right there.
It’s a thick and sturdy collar, manufactured from durable nylon webbing that was made according to military specifications. It’s durable, but it doesn’t weigh your dog down. The D-rings are made out of nickel-plated steel. They are so sure in their hardware and stitching that if it fails from everyday wear, they’ll replace it for you.
They have four sizing options. Small (11-15 inches), Medium (15-22 inches), Large (19-30 inches), and Custom, where you send in the measurements from your dog, and they will build you a custom collar. Small through Large also has the option for you to get buckles, so you don’t have to slide it over your dogs head. They have ten different colors for you to pick from.
If It Barks has been in business for over 15 years and makes these collars by hand. When you buy something from If It Barks, you know that it’s high quality. Because of their extra attention to detail and superior materials, you do pay more for the collar. However, you get a top-notch collar that you can have faith in. The custom collar does not cost more. Because of that, it’s advisable to always go with the customizable to ensure that your dog always has the best fit.
- 417 other people also thought this was a fantastic collar.
- Wide option of colors and the choice to get collars with buckles.
- They can custom make a collar from the measurements you send in
- If any stitching or hardware fails from everyday wear, they’ll replace it.
- For all this greatness, you are spending a little more money. It costs $30++ for the standard and customized collar.
Max and Neo Stainless Steel Chain Martingale Collar
Different from the If It Barks collar, this Martingale collar is made out of a chain and nylon combination. The nylon is the bigger loop that goes around your dog’s neck and has a buckle, so you don’t have to slip it over your dog’s head. The chain is also used as an auditory signal to your dog to let him know when he’s getting to the end of the leash.
The stitching in the collar is done with reflective thread so that your dog will be easily visible at night. They have seven different collar colors to choose from. It’s made from 2mm nylon for the collar and stainless steel for the chain. The nylon snap has a lockable tab to keep it from accidentally releasing. There are five different sizes you can get: Extra small (10-12 inches), Small (12-14.5 inches), Medium (14-17) inches), Medium Large (16-19 inches), Large (19-24.5 inches).
This collar is a good mix of high-quality workmanship and affordability. It can be yours for only $15++. For every collar and leash bought, Max and Leo will donate one to a dog rescue.
- For every collar bought, one is donated to a dog rescue.
- Reflective stitching to help your dog be visible at night.
- 1,140 customers rated it 4.5 stars.
- Good mix of quality craftsmanship and affordability at $15++.
- No custom sizing
Country Brook Petz Martingale Heavy-Duty Nylon Dog Collar
This comfy Martingale collar sports 21 different colors you and your furry four-legged friend can try out. Country Brook Petz explains that it’s “worn like a hug.” They use 100 percent nylon webbing that is ribbed, soft, and sleek. They’ve also got a shine to them. Their hardware is made from nickel-plated steel to keep it from breaking or fraying like plastic. All of their collars are handcrafted after the sale. They use a colorfast dye on their nylon fabric to keep it from fading or running when it’s wet.
They have four sizes, Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large. Unfortunately, they don’t have detailed measurements to ensure you’re getting the right size for your dog. For just $9-10 more, you can add on the heavy-duty 6-foot leash in the same color as your collar.
This collar has a 4.5 rating from 798 customers and is very affordable, less than $10
- Can buy it and a leash in the same color if you want to pair them up (Less than $20).
- Uses colorfast dye to prevent fading or running.
- Haskel plated steel hardware.
- Very affordable for less than $10
- They don’t have detailed measurements to help you choose the right sized collar.
Mighty Paw Martingale Collar
Mighty Paw’s Martingale collar has 4.5 stars based off of 564 customer reviews. It’s constructed out of premium quality nylon and also has reflective stitching to enable your dog to be easily spotted in the dark. It has a nylon and chain combination. The chain is 100 percent iron, giving it durability, functionality, and aesthetic appeal. Something unique this collar has is a D-ring attached to the nylon. You can either attach your leash to that ring or the chain to switch between a standard collar and a Martingale collar.
There are two colors: black/orange and grey/green. They have three sizes: Small (11-13.5 inches), Medium (13.5-17 inches), and Large (17-22 inches). It’s reasonably priced
- 4.5 stars based off of 564 customers.
- Reflective stitching to make your dog visible at night.
- Can switch between Martingale collar and a standard collar with D-ring.
- If you don’t like the collar, you can return it within 90 days and get every penny back.
- Only three sizes which gives you fewer options to choose from.
Blueberry Pet Classic Martingale Collar
This Martingale collar has 32 different colors you can pick from. You can also add on a regular collar, a leash, and a seatbelt in the same color if you would like. Another nice feature is that you can have them embroider your dog’s name and your phone number on the collar for easy identification if they are lost.
The collar is made from nylon fabric and high-density webbing added for durability. There are four sizes: Extra-Small, Small, Medium, and Large. They do not have measurements to help you accurately decide what size will fit your dog best.
This collar is affordably priced. However, if you want the customized version, it raises the price to a still affordable price.
- 4.5 star based off of 3,557 people’s reviews.
- Can customize the collar to have your dog’s name and your phone number embroidered on.
- Matching set with collar, leash, harness, and seatbelt if you want.
- It is affordably priced for the regular or even for the customized.
- No measurements to decide which size collar will best fit your dog.
Mighty Paw Stainless Steel Martingale Training Collar
This collar is entirely made out of chain. This works best for training those eager but powerful dogs. While it has the power of a choke collar, it is safer than a standard choke collar. It gives you the ability to walk them with confidence, knowing that you have control.
It’s a perfect collar to start your dog when you are training, especially if they are a large dog or a dominant breed. It’s lightweight and won’t bother your dog, but is there if you need to correct their behavior.
It’s made from premium 304 Stainless Steel. That will keep it from rusting or tarnishing over time. Your dog will not be able to chew out of this one. There are five different sizes to give you the ability to size it correctly to your dog. There are 16 inch, 20 inch, 24 inch, a 28 inch, and 32 inch collars.
It has a 4.8-star rating from 54 reviews. The only complaint being from one person who said the sizing chart was off. It’s very affordable.
- 4.8-star rating out of 54 people.
- It is affordably priced
- Premium quality steel used to make the collar.
- Gentle and effective for starting large and powerful dogs.
- One complaint that the collar sizing was off.
To pick the right collar for you, here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:
- What am I using this collar for? Training, preventing my dog from slipping out or going for walks?
- Do I want a nylon/chain combination, only chain, or only nylon?
- Which one has the best size for my dog? Did I measure his/her neck to make sure?
- Which one is in my price range?
There you go! Enjoy your adventures with your Martingale collar.