Using a martingale collar (+ improvisation)

June 6, 2009 at 4:27 am Leave a comment

DISCLAIMER: This blog post was written in 2009. We no longer do Obedience Training using “dominance”-based methods. We no longer use collar corrections. These methods made Boogie MORE TENSE, MORE TRIGGERED and more prone to aggressive behaviors. We switched over to reward-based methods in February 2010 and saw improvements. 


Today Boogie wore his fancy Martingale collar and tonight on our walk, he PULLED like a nutcase. I have no idea why he suddenly decided it was ok to pull ahead or to one side of me when he had been walking so nicely before. It was immensely frustrating. I felt like everything we had achieved with the prong collar in the past few weeks had gone out the window.

Boogie did not give a hoot about corrections with this Martingale collar. He continued to pull towards trees and grass, and made me so worried that he was going to damage his windpipe. The more I corrected, the more he pulled. If I stopped or stood still, he continued to pull. The only way I could effectively make him stop pulling was to call him to me with a treat in my hand. *wipes brow*.

Either this collar isn’t getting the message across or I am not using it correctly.

Jill our trainer suggested a HALF CHAIN MARTINGALE over a LOOP/FABRIC MARTINGALE (the one I have).

She said that the chain martingale has a quicker release and the sound it makes is supposed to help with the correction. Yep, I can imagine so. I can’t “feel” the correction taking place with the fabric martingale and it’s hard to gauge if I am pulling too hard or not hard enough or whatever… To me, in spite of the tightening effect (yes, I tested it) it looks and feels to me just like a regular collar, and to Boogie, my “tugging” probably doesn’t feel like a “correction”. After the prong/pinch collar, is this soft-style collar perhaps not hardcore enough for my stubborn willful dog?

I have ordered the Half-Chain Martingale from Petsmart… But in the meantime, I need to figure out how to use what I have so that it doesn’t feel as if Boogie and I are having tug of war sessions on the sidewalk. (I am so tempted to go back to the prong collar!!! It actually feels so much more humane and effective than this one!)

I searched YouTube and found this – Fitting a Martingale Collar

I don’t think I have the collar fitted high enough up on Boogie’s head… (??)

If you use a Martingale collar and have any tips, please share!

P.S. Boogie’s trainer is still recovering from a serious injury and is still on crutches. I am waiting for her to get better before we move onto our next lesson.

While waiting for the PetSmart chain martingale to arrive, I decided to improvise with this martingale collar. I bought a short chain and looped it through the collar so that it works sort of like a chain martingale. Unfortunately, the fabric “loop” part of the collar isn’t removable so it sort of gets in the way of the chain and is a little bit awkward.

YES! There is a difference with the chain!
Jill was right. The chain makes it MUCH easier to give corrections. It slides and releases quickly, unlike  the fabric, which means that the communication is louder and clearer. And Boogie is responding! I wouldn’t say we have 100% effectiveness but  we have an improvement.
I also ordered Boogie a new houndstooth chain martingale collar from (It’s cool that they let you customize the buckle!)

Entry filed under: Cool Products, Training.

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