This summer our focus has been helping owners learn more about pet safety both inside and outside the home. If you have just one dog, leaving his collar on all day isn't necessarily an issue. When there is more than one dog in the family or a pup friend comes to visit, we have to be more vigilant about safety for everyone. Typically, we don't consider a collar as dangerous but have seen far too many accidents happen as a result of leaving them on while dogs are playing with each other. The dogs get excited, start running and chasing one another, then one goes to mouth the other's neck and gets stuck on the collar. Everything from pulling K-9 teeth to broken necks are the reality of a simple playtime gone wrong. Same principles are applied in most competitive sports when they create a rule requiring players to remove all jewelry before participating. The main objective is avoiding injury during play. The other risk is a fight breaking out between
the dogs if one mistakes the collar getting in their way as a
disrespectful behavior from the other dog.
Here are some simple guidelines to keeping your pup safe during play:
1) Respect is for inside; Play is for outside.
Allowing play inside the home is not ideal simply because a smaller space equals a higher chance for harm. Your pup's only option is play in close proximity instead of being able to run and chase each other. It also poses a higher chance of things getting damaged in the home as well as undermining the mindset your dog has of you being the leader of the home and him needing to respect your pace as a place of respect and listening.
2) Always be present while your dogs play outside
This is not only because of collars but it's a good idea to watch for signs of play that may escalate into something you don't want, such as a fight. Poor play behaviors to watch for are growling, jumping on top of each other or biting the backs of the legs. If these behaviors start, shut down the play for a little while so none of the pups attempt to become overly dominant with each other and restore the precedence of harmony, peace and respect for you, their leader.
3) Not comfortable with completely removing the collar?
If a collar must be worn during play, we suggest using a "break away" collar similar to those hunters use. These are designed to easily pull off in the event play gets too rough. Obviously every home and pet are different so taking account of the dog's mannerisms and your personal lifestyle when making a decision to use a collar or going without.
Hopefully by making one simple change to playtime of removing the collar before allowing your pups to frolic, everyone can be more relaxed and just enjoy the quality time together without anxiety of possible accidents.