Yesterday M’hijito and I went in search of a small but reasonably easy-to-use harness for Cassie the Corgi. Her collar is loose enough that she can easily slip it, and I realized that if our coyote friend had noticed her instead of being intent on some other prey, she might have wriggled loose during a confrontation and tried to run off. That would have been the end of her.
Well, we went into PetSmart, not one of my favorite emporiums, and there we tried on a nylon harness. The part that slips over the dog’s head and is supposed to encircle the chest and shoulders needed to be adjusted. In our efforts to do that, we ended up making it tighter around her neck. So tight, in fact, that I could barely fit my finger under it. Try as we might, we could not loosen it! I finally had to take my jackknife out of my purse (alarming my son, who thought we’d be arrested) (all right, all right, it does look a little fierce and you could think it’s a Mexican switchblade) (but it’s not!)and cut the dog out of the stupid thing. So that was $9.50 for nothing, and a customer lost permanently to PetSmart.
So, to the Internet. The harnesses that operate simply are training devices. Cassie doesn’t really need a training device. She just needs something that won’t slip off her head.
Greyhounds, I recalled belatedly, have bullet-shaped heads that moot the value of a regular buckle collar. To get around that, you use a martingale: a collar with two loops, one of which slides, so that when the dog exerts pressure on it, the collar tightens. Because the martingale is made of nylon or fabric ribbon, it doesn’t jerk or pinch the dog the way a chain collar does. It does, however, work effectively to keep a sighthound from dragging you down the street in chase of cats, birds, and flying plastic bags. Works on a German shepherd, too… And, BTW, if you have a clue how to train a dog, it’s far more humane than chains and pinch collars.
Duh! Sighthounds come in many sizes. Italian greyhounds are chihuahua-sized, and whippets are the size of Cassie: around 25 pounds. Somebody, somewhere, must be making martingales for smaller dogs.
Yea, verily! Google “martingale collar” and up comes a raft of sites, many of them by people who are hand-crafting the things. You can get them much cheaper at Petco (Petsmart doesn’t seem to carry them), but the ones in the chain brick-and-mortars are just plain, ugly nylon things. Greyhound lovers really get into crafts for their dogs, and some of them make gorgeous collars.This outfit, so far, is my favorite. Problem is, I can’t make up my mind! Check these out, if you will, and tell me which would be your preference.
Here’s the dog, brown and white:
And here are the coveted collars:
Which one would you choose? Click on an image to see it in all its enlarged glory.