Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Product Review: Thunder Collar

From the makers of the Thundershirt comes the brand new Thundercollar! This collar features a unique quick-release closure that solves some of the common issues with plastic side-squeeze buckles. The nylon webbing has reflective stitching for visibility. This collar is available in five colors and four sizes to fit dogs with necks 8-26" around.
Pinch-free quick-release dog collar
Photo by Erin Koski

I purchased this Thundercollar at SuperZoo because I could not stop playing with the buckle. It's totally different from every other collar fastener I've ever encountered.

Having worked at a, lets face it, seriously overcrowded doggy daycare for years, I have buckled and unbuckled a TON of collars. My first thought when bringing a dog out to the yard was always "How fast can I take this collar off?" The biggest disaster we could possibly face out there was a dog getting their jaw wrapped around another dog's collar while playing. If a collar didn't have a quick release buckle, it came off. If the buckle had a safety lock, it came off. If it had an unusual fastener that I didn't think other staff would instantly be able to operate in an emergency on a panicked dog, it came off. If I was petting the dog and noticed that the buckle was a bit stiff, it came off.
Pinchless quick-release safety buckle
Photo by Erin Koski

If you've ever had to open a standard side-squeeze quick-release buckle under major stress, you're already aware of how difficult it can be. Pressure sort of locks them shut, you need a tiny bit of slack to open them smoothly. I haven't had to unfasten a Thundercollar in an emergency, but the buckle seems to open under stress the same way it does when slack.

Emergency situations aside, pinching a dog with a quick-release buckle makes me feel like a horrible monster. A properly-fitted collar should be pretty snug to avoid it getting caught on things (like other dogs' faces), and it's pretty easy to pinch a short-haired dog's neck when snapping it on. An occasional pinch isn't a big deal for many dogs, but for the
No-pinch buckle for sensitive dogs
Photo by Erin Koski
sensitive ones it can give them yet another reason to feel that the world is not a safe place.

Pros: Buckle opens top-to-bottom rather than side-to-side to prevent pinching. Can be opened under pressure, with one hand, without looking. Quieter than a standard plastic buckle.

Cons: Slightly tricky to open by itself, much easier to open when it's actually on a dog. There's no overlap between the small and medium sizes, so if your dog has a 14" neck the small will be a bit small and the medium will be a bit large.

Bottom Line: This is a quick-release safety collar for noise-sensitive dogs, those with sensitive skin, and dogs who require a nice snug fit.

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