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Monday, June 2, 2014

Product Review: Premier Martingale Collars

Premier Martingale Collars are a type of limited-slip collar that tightens to prevent dogs from backing out and escaping. Premier's plain martingale collar comes in five sizes and twelve different colors. Their Fido Finery line comes in the same five sizes and nine different patterns of ribbon overlay.
Photo by Erin Koski

Despite his magnificently fluffy ears, Brisbane's head is actually smaller than his neck. He is an expert at escaping from flat buckle collars, if it doesn't tighten up he can back right out of it. I put his tags on flat buckle collars because those are safer to leave on him, but I never attach a leash to those unless we're in an extremely low-risk area where I can be certain he won't take off and try to eat skateboarders.

Martingale collars are a great way to securely leash a dog without strangling them like a choke chain. These aren't designed to make pulling on the leash uncomfortable. A properly adjusted martingale collar should be tight enough to not slip off when the loop is pulled shut. A lot of people adjust them so they are snug when the loop is loose and choke the dog when leash pressure is applied. This is unhealthy for the dog, and extremely unsafe when left on an unattended dog. If the collar gets caught on anything, the dog could easily be strangled.

Photo by Erin Koski
Most martingale collars don't have a buckle, which also makes them potentially hazardous for everyday wear. Even if I saw Brisbane get his collar caught on something, I wouldn't be able to get him loose without cutting through the collar. Martingales are especially dangerous for dogs that play with other dogs, it's not difficult for a buddy to get their lower jaw caught in that loop, and separating two panicked dogs is incredibly difficult. Premier also makes a plain martingale collar with a quick release buckle, but I still don't find those safe enough to leave on my dog, they're just easier to get on and off because they don't have to slip over his head.

I love dog stuff, so we have quite a few martingale collars. However, the Premier ones aren't my favorite. The loop in these collars is huge, meaning the collar hangs very loose when it isn't pulled tight. Super-loose martingales bug me, especially when tags make the collar droop.

Pros: Come in a wide variety of sizes, widths, and colors for the fashion-conscious. These keep their color for a very long time, and go through the washing machine easily. Unlike some of the ribbon overlay collars we have tried, the Fido Finery holds up beautifully to neck scratching. Premier products are very sturdy and reliable, and they have little brand tags so you know who made them.

Cons: The big martingale loop on the 1" wide collars is very large, allowing the collar to droop when loose and tempting users to adjust the collar too tight. There is only one ring on these collars, and tags attached to that ring will pull the collar tight. The size large collar is really quite heavy.

Bottom Line: I don't use these martingales for Brisbane on a regular basis. Although they adjust down to his size, that huge loop makes them annoying. The purple collar is a medium, and the loop is just as big as on the large teal collar. I did use them for Josie, and also for Ulysses. They are a great backup for a head halter, prong collar, or harness. We consider Uly a flight risk, and I always use a carabiner to attach his harness to a martingale collar when we leave the house. They may not be a great everyday option for Brisbane, but I find these are extremely valuable for rescue and foster dogs.

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