Martingale collars are not just for sighthounds anymore—they’re also a good choice for dogs who’ve learned they can back out of their collars and head for the nearest dog park on their own. Martingales are modified slip collars; the large loop goes around the dog’s neck, while the leash is attached to the D-ring on the smaller loop. (Dogs should NOT wear this collar unsupervised, and it should never be used as a tie-out collar.) Here’s how to make one from scratch. My pretty little Vizsla girl, Jersey, is the model.
What You’ll Need
Webbing (Cotton, polypropylene or nylon; I’m using cotton here.)* Three D-rings (scavenge from an old collar if possible)
A flexible measuring tape
Sewing machine and thread. (You can sew the collar by hand, but that’s just a total pain.)
*Your local fabric store may have webbing, or check strapworks.comfor supplies.
Step 1: Measure your dog’s neck. To ensure that the collar fits properly and your dog can’t back out of it, you need to take two measurements: one directly behind the ears and one lower down on the neck, where you would like the collar to sit. When measuring behind the ears, make sure that the tape is snug.
Step 2: Cut the webbing. Cut two pieces—one for the neck loop and one for the control loop. Jersey’s “behind the ear” measurement was 14 inches, so I added 2 inches to that and cut a 16-inch piece of webbing. For the control loop, I subtracted the “behind the ear” measurement (14 inches) from the “neck” measurement (17 inches) and came up with 3 inches. This is the total spread that you will want on the control loop. I doubled this measurement and added 2 inches to come up with a length of 8 inches for webbing on the control loop.
Step 3: Sew on the first D-ring. Take one of the D-rings, insert the webbing through it and fold over about 3/4 of an inch (A). Sew a straight line up and down over the webbing. Triple-stitch this line for strength, using the reverse button on your sewing machine (B).
Step 4: Sew on the second D-ring. To get the correct size for the neck loop, you must take the length of the D-rings into account. Lay the webbing out on a flat surface and place the measuring tape next to it. Slide the second D-ring over the webbing and fold the webbing over the neck loop until it’s the length that you need (C). Pin the fold into place and sew two lines (as in step three). Make sure both folded ends are on the same side of the neck loop. Now that you have completed the neck loop, trim all loose threads.
Step 5: Thread the control loop. With the folds of the neck loop facing OUTWARD, thread the control loop through both D-rings. Slide the remaining D-ring on the LEFT side of the control loop webbing (D).
Step 6: Sew the control loop. First, put the control loop together so that the ends overlap by about 2 inches. Make sure that the D-ring is still lying to the left. Sew two seams as in step 3. Next, flip the control loop inside out so that the fold that you have just sewn is on the inside of the loop. Bring the D-ring as close as you can to the seam that you just finished and sew two new seams as in step three (E). Trim all loose threads.
There you have it, your finished martingale collar, which you made with your own two hands!