No More Death By Collar

Do not risk your dog’s life.

Do not put pressure or force on a dog’s throat.

Ways dog collars pose risks to a dog’s life.

  1. Collars can catch on crates, fence wires, wooden decks and other dogs’ teeth.
  2.  Any dog that wears a collar may be strangled by it.
  3. Dogs suffocate when hanging from the collar. They risk dying from a lack of oxygen.
  4. Certain dog breeds have pre-existing problems, which make them more likely to get chronic bronchitis or a collapsing trachea.
  5. Yanking on a collar jeopardizes dogs’ lives.
  6. Small dogs and toy breeds are most likely to suffer a collapsing trachea, but they are not the only dogs which do.

Four things to avoid when a dog is wearing a collar.

  1. Never yank on the collar.
  2. Never chain or tie out a dog by a collar.
  3. Never leave a dog’s collar on when he is alone.
  4. Do not let a dog pull against his collar.

Other Health Risks From Collars

  • Injury to the muscles in a dog’s neck
  • Fractures to the bones of a dog’s spine
  • Damage to a dog’s vocal chords

Anatomy and physiology of animals Section through head of a dog

Dog training and the use of collars

Visit Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue

They advocate the use of quick release collars vs. buckle collars. They urge you to prevent choking and accidents to dogs with quick release collars and remind you, “Always remove your dog’s collar before you leave.”

Need help choosing collar options for your dog?

Visit Boxer World on Different Types Of Collars. This webpage displays good photos and explanations of different collars and harnesses “The best type of collar is no collar. Many trainers feel that the best training collar is no collar at all. If you start training on a collar, the dog may learn that it has to obey *only* when the collar is on. Collars are, at best, training tools – and at worst, crutches.” Julie Michaels

Dog Training And The Use Of Collars

Kirsten Frisch is a dog trainer in Northern Carolina. She dubs her work with dogs as falling into the category of being hands off or force free.  She is an Alaskan Husky lover and a sled dog trainer.“Collars: No matter how strong or thick-headed your dog is, don’t let him pull you by his collar. He needs a harness. He can really hurt his neck and spine by pulling you and your bike via his collar.” Find Kirsten’s blog The Gentle Canine at

Dog Sports Enthusiasts Beware When Biking Or Sledding With Your Dog

Visit Kirsten Frisch’s Alaskan Husky blog to view a proper pulling harness.

I strongly suggest that you protect your dog’s health by using a harness or head leaders while walking your dog on a leash. And yes, we trained our dog Sydney not to pull on a leash, to heel, and to walk comfortably with us. For his safety and health, we never hook a leash to his collar.

For ID purposes, Microchips are best because if your dog gets lost without his collar and dog tags, you will get a call from the nearest animal shelter. My dog came already Microchipped to the shelter that rescued him. I know if Sydney ever gets lost and is turned into animal control or a shelter, I will get a phone call indicating where I can pick him up.

PETLVR COMMUNITY Alog and Forum Dog Collar Dangers and

What do I use? A collar or harness on my dog?

I use a harness on my dog, Sydney. He gets excited, so a harness is the safest way I found to keep him from impulsively jerking on a collar.

Doggone fun on a trail
This is my safety car seatbelt, my other harness is in the wash.

Sydney is also an escape artist, flexible, and foxy. Here is a fun post on another dog escape artist. He kept getting out of his collars, so his parents got him a harness.

Go see Radar’s Blips.

Help save dogs’ lives by sharing this post.

26 thoughts on “No More Death By Collar

  1. Thanks for this advice. I, Gayle, am now up to walking Misty, albeit not too fast. I have taken along treats and am trying to teach her the word “slowly” so that she will slow down when she wants to speed up and tries to pull me along. I stop and hold her harness tightly when she tries to speed up and then release it to start and reinforce “slowly” so that she will walk along nicely at my pace, then praise and reward her when she does. It seems to be working but so far needs a lot of reinforcement. We’ll keep at it and I’m sure she’ll learn to keep pace with me. Your advice is appreciated.


    1. Excellent.

      Yes, when you hold her and let her settle, letting her feel how firm;y you lead her, Misty is beginning to look to you more and more for guidance, bonding and food treats. Keep up the good work!


      PS. I love it that you wrote to me a second time.


  2. First of all, thanks for liking our post in which we are blogging a children’s chapter book entitled: “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.” We hope you will continue to follow the story. Secondly, we enjoyed visiting your blog and will check back again. This post about harnesses and collars is timely for us. We (both seniors) have a fairly new adopted senior Shihpoo named Misty, 20 pounds, who has not been able to go for walks with us the last six weeks as Gayle has had a hip replacement and Ian has severe neuopathy in his feet. Luckily, Misty has a nice fenced-in back yard to run around in. Gayle hopes to get back to walking with Misty but is anxious because Misty likes to pull in her harness and go faster than Gayle is able to. Some friends are recommending a choke collar but we are reluctant to get one. Misty is 11 years old and has never had training so just wants to run when she gets out for a walk. Any suggestions on how we can control her walking speed?


    1. Thanks for writing to me. Please never use a choke collar, you would injury your dog.

      Before walking a high energy dog, play inside with toys, reinforce all training with bean sized healthy treats (cut up sweet peas, pieces of leftover chicken). Play hide and go seek, I have explained that under my games category. If you have stairs your dog can climb do that too, not too fast.

      Then settle down and read your dog a story. This calming time brings heart rate down.

      Be sure your dog knows you have more yummy treats as you get her ready to walk on a leash. Always reward for looking at you when you say her name or when she sits on the leash inside. Then take her outside for short 5 or 10 minute training. Only let her run fast in a safe and fenced yard, dog park, etc.

      Let me know how this works for the next few weeks, okay?


  3. I am a BIG, BIG, BIG believer in harnesses for dogs instead of collars. Most pest stores allow you to bring you dog into the store. I bring Farley, my 4 year-old wheaten terrier, with me when I buy him a new harness. I try them on in the store to make sure I get the best fit. There are different shapes and sizes. I use one type for running with him. It holds the leash away from his body. I used another type for sailing. It’s connected with metal and not plastic, so tougher if he gets launched while attached to his tether. Great article. Thanks for posting.


  4. The first time I walked my GSD on a harness, I took her down to the creek on a long line. After a long time exploring the woods, we went down to the creek so she could get some water. While perched on a rock and bending down to drink, she slipped and soon had her whole front half underwater. I was so grateful for her harness that day, that I could pull her out without worrying about scaring or hurting her more. I dread to think what damage pulling her out by her neck would have done – she’s not small – 75 pounds, at least. I love harnesses so much!

    A few years later, we welcomed a Catahoula into our home. They get along swimmingly, but used to both wear collars, until they got tangled up and the Catahoula nearly got strangled when the GSDs jaw got caught on her collar. They are now “naked dogs” who only wear harnesses on walks. We do have collars for them, for ID if we go somewhere special, but they might as well not have a d-ring for the leash.


    1. Thanks for sharing your frightening experience with my readers. I am glad you could pull your dog out. We had a similar experience with Sydney, when he misjudged a steep cement pond edge and slide under deep water. He dislikes getting wet, so we know he fell in, not jumped in.

      I am collecting stories to add to this page and theme for 2013. If you would like this story included, reply here, so I may send you my email address.


  5. What you’ve said is so true. I made the mistake of leaving a collar on my 2 GSD’s when they were about a year old and one nearly broke her jaw when it got caught under the other dog’s collar when they were playing. If we hadn’t been right there, I shudder to think what horrible injuries she could have suffered. Since then I’ve told all my friends and people that ask me that they should microchip their dogs for identification in case they get out of yards, but never leave a collar on 24 hrs a day. When we walk them, they do have collars with tags for quick ID in case they accidentally get lose, but use harnesses to control them.


    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Tara. Glad to hear that you did not lose your dog to a collar accident. The more stories we share on this topic, the more dogs we will spare from suffering from choking or a broken neck.


  6. Thank you for this blog, I also love dogs, and have written a whole book about my life with them on my blog. maybe one day you will get time to take a look at it. Some funny times and some sad times but all completely true stories.


  7. Your post, No More Death By Collar | Dog Leader Mysteries, is really well written and insightful. Glad I found your website, warm regards from Jarrett!


  8. When you want your dog to pull, have him wear a pulling harness. If you don’t want your dog to pull, TRAIN HIM to walk on a loose leash attached to a collar. Training collars used properly are not dangerous to dogs. The greatest danger dogs face is lack of training.


    1. Cynthia, thanks for your comment. Yes, dogs need training. Walking on a loose leash makes walking safer and more enjoyable for the dog and his person.

      I disagree with the statement “the greatest danger to dogs is lack of training.” I’ve seen dogs fall from the back of pickup beds and hit pavement. I worry for anxious dogs tied to trees by collars, staked out in public with no shelter or water. Each time I see people yanking their dogs necks, I feel sad.
      This is why I write for dog and animal welfare.


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