Sunday, February 25, 2018

Bad Idea: The Illusion Collar

The Illusion Collar is a product designed by television show host Cesar Milan for the purpose of making slip collars easier to use, more effective, and more likely to injure your dog. It places the slip collar up at the very top of the dog's neck, where the most sensitive structures are located. This causes the dog the most pain and very efficiently cuts off the airway when pressure is applied. The Illusion Collar, and the newer version the Pack Leader Collar, uses a double collar with a rigid piece in between to force the slip collar to stay at the top of the neck.

What's Wrong With It?

  • It works the same as a regular slip collar. Despite the elaborate double collar system, the Illusion Collar only works if you keep the dog at your side and pull the leash up. As soon as the force is applied from behind the dog instead of above, the collar becomes significantly less effective. If you're already holding your dog at your side with upward collar pressure, you don't need a funky neck brace to keep it there. 
  • It doesn't last. Unless you are walking your dog like the only thing keeping the slip collar in place is you pulling up on it while your dog walks at your side, the Pack Leader won't last very long. The rigid structures on the collar eventually soften, and allow the double collar to slide down.
  • That's not how slip collars are supposed to work anyway. Fee your own neck, just under your chin. See how you've got all those blood vessels, glands, and your windpipe and trachea all right there? Totally unprotected? Your dog has all that same stuff in the same place, and the Illusion Collar puts pressure on all of them. Traditional slip collars are used to give brief corrections when used correctly, and are loose the rest of the time. Used incorrectly, a slip collar normally puts pressure lower on the neck as the dog pulls into it. This thing allows a dog to pull with the most sensitive part of their neck, putting constant pressure in the worst possible place. Or allowing brief corrections in the worst possible place.
Really, there's no winning here. The Illusion Collar and Pack Leader Collar are quick and dirty ways to improve your dog's behavior. I would much rather see a prong collar on a dog than one of these monstrosities.


  1. Totally disagree. I tried every collar ever made, and so did my 6'3" man, and we could not control our beautiful crazy Pointer on a leash. Even shock collars did not work. This collar, used correctly, saved all of us.It lasted for many years, and I will save it for my next dog.

  2. I completely agree with Sherri. I am a veterinary technician and a pet sitter and this is the best collar I have used. I am so sad that it is not available anymore

  3. I fully agree with the two previous reviewers. I really don't think the The Dog Geek understands a dog's neck anatomy. Let a slip collar slip down on your dog's neck and he or she will pull, cough, and possibly damage his or her throat. The Illusion / Pack Leader collar will prevent this from happening.

    1. Please provide evidence that any dog, anywhere, has ever suffered any kind of injury from a collar worn "too low" and I will reconsider my position.