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Need some advice on daily wear
  • FluffsFluffs
    Posts: 32
    Katsu has managed to get her mouth caught in every collar we've tried so far- Tight flat buckles, tight martingales, loose martingales, tight limited slips and loose limited slips. Even a thin tag collar, she's managed to get it lodged in her mouth and need me to help her remove it. She always gets incredibly upset afterwards and shakes for a few minutes before calming back down, and I hate that she's been traumatized multiple times by this.

    I need to be able to keep her identification on her because she goes in and out of the house to the backyard every day and I don't want to risk her getting out without it.

    I'm thinking about getting a white pines figure 8 harness for daily wear to keep her identification on her with the least amount of restriction and irritation. Have any of you tried one before, and do you think this would be a good solution?
  • Just curious, how does Katsu get her mouth caught on the collars?
  • FluffsFluffs
    Posts: 32

    It happens when she's leaning her head over while standing up and attempting to chew on something (like a toy or bully stick). When she's gotten caught, it was because her head was angled just-so and she wound up accidentally biting the collar, then it gets caught towards the back of her mouth and up behind her ears and she isn't able to slip it off from behind her ears or out of her mouth.
    image Here's a quick drawing on my phone (lol) to show what I mean. When she leans down, the collar winds up going in her mouth like this.
    Post edited by Fluffs at 2017-08-01 16:45:32
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    @Fluffs - That should not be happening with a properly fitted collar. Can you post some photos of Katsu wearing a few of the collars you have tried?
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  • FluffsFluffs
    Posts: 32
    @sunyata sure-

    Tight buckle:
    Looser Buckle:
    Loose martingale:
    Tight martingale:
    Loose (ish) limited slip:

    She wears a link akc GPS tracker on her collar that weighs it down a bit so it may look off, but she has managed to get her collar stuck in her mouth even without it on. She has a lot of restraint frustration, so i'm sure sometimes she's having it get in her way while she's chewing, pawing at it, and that is causing it to go in her mouth.
    Post edited by Fluffs at 2017-08-02 14:07:35
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1272
    If she goes in and out unsupervised, I would get her a breakaway collar. I think the possibility of her injuring or strangling herself unsupervised is too high. I have the other white pine harness, not the figure 8 one. Can't remember if it's called the H harness or just Roman style harness. Ozzy was between sizes so the one I got is kind of chunky. It fits but the strapping is so wide and there's a lot of excess material that gets in the way. I had to cut the loose end of the piece that adjusts the strap running from the breastbone toward the back legs, cus it just had like a foot of material dragging on the ground lol. I love their collars, but I really am not a fan of the harness. It's just not very functional, looks clunky, etc. The figure 8 harness might be totally different, but Ozzy wasn't a good size for one of those either. I think the 1 inch straps are too thick for Shibas. It leaves much more of a mark on his fur. But he might be too big for the 5/8" harnesses at this point.

    I agree that a properly fitted collar shouldn't cause this problem. Unless they're defective and are loosening on their own or with the weight of the tracker. But anyway, safety is priority. So if she is able to get her mouth caught on any collar reguardless of its quality or style, I would probably use a breakaway collar just in case. I would never use a "tight" martingale or limited slip collar that could become caught on something and could choke her, since they're made to be worn so that they cinch but don't choke. I also think the extra fabric on those types of collars would make it particularly easy for her to get her mouth on them. I would probably try a few good quality collars. Maybe ruffwear or knine couture non martingale style. I wouldn't use the type that have notches for the sizing (like leather), since you might not be able to get as secure of a fit for her. Unless you can try it on and confirm that the fit is just right (1 or 2 fingers able to slip under the collar), since something like leather might be more durable and be able to support the tracker better. Maybe a boomerang style ID tag would help, like one that slides onto the collar instead of one dangling that she can grab and tug?
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2017-08-02 14:45:47
  • FluffsFluffs
    Posts: 32
    @Lilikoi I have considered a breakaway collar for holding tags before, but it does concern me how easily they do come apart. I know she'd easily be able to open or nudge them off herself so it almost defeats the purpose of her even wearing one, but I will consider using one for times where we're out of the house but not crating her.

    Edit: I've tried k-9 couture and they give her too much fur breakage. She actually fits well in the leather collar that the akc link comes with, but she has also gotten that stuck (with a boomerang tag, so it's not the dangling tags she's grabbing) and it causes extreme fur breakage AND skin irritation for her, so it's really not an option.

    As far as her level of supervision, we did make sure that there is nothing in the backyard she can get caught on and we do maintenance out there weekly so we would be able to see if anything were to be snagged on any of her collars or harnesses. She really only has about 1 minute at a time where I can't see her while she's outside and that's when she goes out of the view of our windows along the side of the house or back of the garage. We frequently check that those areas are well reinforced and clear of anything that could catch on her.
    So in reality, she's typically getting checked every 10-30 seconds when she goes outside until she goes out of the view of the windows; It's just not 100% eyes-on-her like when I'm outdoors with her.
    If anything, I think she's in way more danger of getting caught on something inside because I am way more relaxed about supervision... hence the issue yesterday where she got her collar in her mouth and it took me half a minute to realize because she was in the room next to me while I was working.

    For the harness I went ahead and ordered the figure 8 just to see how it works out since I think it would be the safest option while still ensuring that her identification and tracker will be able to stay on her. She's a small, so I don't think the 9/16" is going to be too big for her.
    The tracking one looked way too cumbersome to deal with for her. The figure 8 just slips over the head like a collar and then the other loop gets clipped under her ribs to fit, almost similar to the easy-walk style of harnesses. If it doesn't work out at least white pines will give me 30 days to return it.
    Post edited by Fluffs at 2017-08-02 15:02:29
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    Does she only get her mouth stuck in it when she's indoors? Do you absolutely need the GPS tracker in the house? Whatever collar you put it on is going to weigh down and have a gap from the stiffness that she can maneuver under.

    Use a very thin and light tag collar for indoors. I know you said you've tried a tag collar, but you might have to keep the tag collar a little higher and tighter than a normal collar would be so she can't reach it. It needs to be higher on her neck than her lower jaw when her mouth is open.

    Example, here's my Shiba in a house collar (it's actually covering a flea collar that's supposed to be on 24/7). He cannot get his jaw under it. If he was a collar chewer I would not use hanging tags either.

    Some ideas for minimal tag collars (some flat, some round) -

    You can even make your own from hollow cord
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    If she is a bit of an escape artist I would also consider a micro chip so she can be identified even without a collar.
  • FluffsFluffs
    Posts: 32
    @zandrame I use the GPS on her since she's in and out and it's a pain to have her let me attach the GPS on her every time she goes out because she hates being restrained (we're working on it...) but I may try a small and tightened breakaway collar for when she isn't active.
    Also the collar is used for daily activity tracking as well, so it is still in use when she's indoors.

    @juni she is microchipped :) she isn't an escape artist either, and her recall is actually getting close to perfect, but I don't want to risk her getting out with me not noticing and having anyone steal her. Not that I think she'd ever follow a stranger or let them handle her... But still a possibility since I live in a high population area and dogs get stolen VERY frequently here and she's a rare breed in the area so definitely a target for that. I know they'd have a hell of a time getting her to let them take a collar or harness off or handle her long enough to take the tracker off while initially trying to snatch her up.
  • FluffsFluffs
    Posts: 32
    Just wanted to give an update on this-

    A day or two after writing this, she managed to get her collar lodged in her mouth again while I was out of the house for an hour. She wound up having to chew through the collar and of destroyed her tracker in the process, and had bite injuries on both sides of her mouth.
    She was calm when I got home (MUCH calmer than I was seeing blood all over the floor) and didn't mind me examining her mouth, and her sores healed over quickly and she's fine now.

    I switched her to a breakaway cat collar that night and without any sort of tracker on it she hasn't been bothered by it enough to try to take it off yet. I'm considering going with a much smaller and more lightweight tracker in the future, one that has been used fine for cats as well so hopefully it won't be enough of an issue for her that she tries to get out of it, but she'll still be able to if she needs to.

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