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Safety Collar for Nervous Dogs

Posted 4/23/2021

I am teaching Ozzie to run beside my bike. He is young, athletic and very busy. We go on 3-4 walks everyday and we try to make one of those walks at least an hour long. I try to exercise his mind with learning new tricks, challenging him with obstacles at the playground, and using treat balls and treat puzzles; but Ozzie is still full of energy. So, with Spring coming, we are getting out on the bike as much as we can. And I always use a safety collar.

Today we had our first bicycle wreck. We have had a couple of incidents where I had to stop the bike and untangle his leash from the wheels, and a few times he has gotten into a spot where it was safer to stop and reposition, but today was a bit bigger deal and I fell off my bike. I will not go into much detail; suffice to say that I was run off the path by a ten-year-old girl on a scooter. My tire dropped a couple inches off the pavement onto the grass and this turned me into a wooden fence. My bike stopped but I continued, and I ended up tangled in the handlebars. Of course, my first thought was of Ozzie. I was very relieved to see him uninjured and standing at the end of the leash. I was also relieved to see that although he had slipped his harness in the excitement of the accident, he was still firmly attached to his leash by his safety collar.

 

Gear we use for biking: harness, safety collar, and retractable leashGear we use for biking: harness, safety collar, and retractable leash

 

This is not the only time that the safety collar has kept Ozzie safe with me. Although this is the first time that he has slipped his harness, Ozzie has slipped his flat collar in the past and the safety collar has saved me from trying to catch a frightened loose dog. You can read about one such time in this post: Off-Leash Dogs. Those of you familiar with Ozzie’s journey know that he is extremely nervous of any strange happenings and will often panic and go into flight mode. I continue to use his safety collar even as he becomes accustomed to more experiences, since I know that he can default into blind terror at any time.

 

Gear we use for walking: flat collar, safety collar, and retractable leashGear we use for walking: flat collar, safety collar, and retractable leash

 

What I call a safety collar, is nothing more than a chain training collar, sometimes known as a choke chain. When I use it, there is no pressure on the safety collar unless his flat collar or harness is slipped. During our walks, all tension from his leash is directed to Ozzie’s flat collar. During bike rides, he wears a harness instead and any leash pressure is on that.

When using the flat collar, I slip the safety collar on Ozzie’s neck as well. The leash clip attaches to both collars. If Ozzie panics and backs out of his flat, the safety collar stays in place and will then tighten around his neck, preventing escape.

 

Flat collar with safety collar in placeFlat collar with safety collar in place

 

Closeup of flat collar and safety collar, both in leash clipCloseup of flat collar and safety collar, both in leash clip

 

Safety collar in place after flat collar slippedSafety collar in place after flat collar slipped

 

The set up on the harness is different since the leash ring is on Ozzie’s back. In this case, I attach the safety collar to the front ring of the harness with a split ring; the kind you find on key rings. If Ozzie backs out of his harness, the safety collar stays in place and is still attached to the harness, which is still attached to the leash.

 

Harness with safety collar in placeHarness with safety collar in place

 

Closeup of harness attached to safety collarCloseup of harness attached to safety collar

 

Safety collar in place after harness slippedSafety collar in place after harness slipped

 

One of my biggest fears is losing Ozzie. He is not a friendly dog. He is terrified of strangers. The chance of him being picked up by animal control or someone else is slim. He spent the first seven months of his life as a feral dog, and I am concerned that if he ever made it out of the city, without being hit by a car, he would be gone for good. Using a safety collar has given me some peace of mind.

If you have a nervous or frightened dog, or one that is just learning to walk with a leash, please consider using a safety collar. Also, notice that I have identification tags on both systems, including my phone number, since nothing is fail safe. As a dog owner, your number one priority is your dog's safety, and I wish you many, many years of fun, exciting, and safe activities with your pet.

 

Secure winter walkSecure winter walk

 

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