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How Tight Should A Dog Collar Be

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how tight should a dog collar be

There are many different types of dog collars out there and some fit differently than others for specific purposes, but there is still this question of how tight should a dog collar be. In this article I will go over a couple types of collars and how to know if they are correctly fit for your dog.


The Traditional Dog Collar

This is the run of the mill dog collar that has only two purposes of keeping your dogs tags connected, and to connect a leash for a walk. Though these collars are basic they are effective and time has shown their use over and over through the years. With these collars it is important to make sure they are fit right so your dog doesn't slip free during a walk or while they are playing. But how tight should a dog collar be?

A normal dog collar should be snug but not too tight, there is a rule called “the two finger rule”. In this rule you take your pointer and middle fingers and slide them in between your dog's collar and neck, if your fingers slide in easily but feel snug the collar is perfect. If your fingers can't get in the collar is too tight, and if your fingers are free to move about once inserted the collar is too loose.


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Martingale Dog Collar

The martingale dog collar is a collar designed to keep dogs secure on those long walks through the park. The thing that sets them apart is the secondary loop attached to the back of the collar, this makes the collar tighten when any tension is put on the secondary loop making sure your dog is secure yet comfortable. In order to produce this effect you must be able to answer the question how tight should a martingale dog collar be.

When sizing a martingale dog collar you will want to check the size when it is up on your dogs head as this will be the point where you need it snug as to secure your dog. When the collar is in this position there will be tension causing the two rings holding the secondary loop to become closer to each other, this distance is how you will know the right fit. If the two rings touch the collar is too large and if the two rings are further apart than an inch the collar is too small. You want a small gap between these rings to ensure your dog won't slip free but is also not being choked.


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The Dog Harness

Sometimes it just works better for everyone if the dog has a harness rather than a collar. Though harnesses could be slightly more uncomfortable than a traditional dog collar they come with the bonuses of not choking your dog on a walk, and making sure your dog has their tags attached to their body through this hard to get off harness. How tight should a dog harness be? This depends on the type of dog you have.

If you want a general answer you could once again use the two finger rule of inserting your pointer and middle finger in between your dog and their harness to make sure it is snug. But with harnesses there can be some exceptions. If your dog is wild and often breaks free from any constraint you give them you may need to tighten your harness to where it won't hurt the dog but will remain secure. And if your dog is calm or older and prefers comfort, they could probably be ok with a looser harness. The reason a harness is more lenient is the fact that it isn't around the neck allowing a little bit more tightening without hurting and is harder to get off even if its loose.


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No matter what dog collar you prefer to use with your furry friends make sure it is both safe and effective. If your dog looks like it's in pain it may be and you can fix this by loosening the collar, and if the dang collar won't stay on try slightly tighter or maybe even a harness. No one knows your dog like you do so make sure you're doing what you think is best. We hope this answered the question how tight should a dog collar be, share this post if you thought it was helpful, and comment if you have any other tips we left out.


Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.



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