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April Giveaway- Win a Free Dog Collar and Lead

win a free dog collar and leash from bigdogboutique.com
We’re working on a new blog article about signs that a dog collar needs replaced, but realized we have NO pictures of scruffy old collars- just cheerful new ones! So we need your help! Post a picture of your grossest old collar on BigDogBoutique.com’s Facebook Page and on April 24 we’ll pick one winner for a free Yellow Dog collar and leash set! If more than 10 entries are received we’ll give away 2 $5 gift certificates to runners up!

Winner will be picked based on ickiness of collar and quality of photo. It’s not necessarily a contest of who can post a photo of the most supremely worn out dog collar! By entering this contest and posting your photo on our facebook page,  you’ll be granting us permission to use your image on our site, illustrating common ways dog collars show wear as they are used. Uncluttered backgrounds and bright, indirect lighting create the best photos!

Post a photo of your worn out collar today and check our Facebook page on April 24 to find out if you’ve won!

Choosing a Collar and Leash for a Blind or Deaf Dog

Choosing a Collar and Leash for a Blind or Deaf Dog

 

If your dog is blind or deaf, chances are they have adapted well to their disability and live a very normal life at home- navigating the familiar environment by using their other senses and their memory.

Venturing outside of this safe, familiar environment can be frustrating for many blind or deaf dogs, but your familiar presence can help guide and reassure your pet.

Choosing a dog collar and leash for a blind or deaf dog is more specialized than shopping for a typical dog. A disabled dog will need a collar which can appropriately and gently communicate your guidance to your dog.

It’s much more important that disabled dogs know basic obedience. While a handler can use correction collars on most opinionated dogs, using a correction collar on a disabled dog attempting to navigate their environment can be very frustrating for the dog.

If you have not already, teach your dog to heal. Much like a blind person can use a seeing dog to navigate an unfamiliar environment, your dog will use your presence to guide them. If your dog is blind, make sure to always navigate obstacles with plenty of room for your dog to follow at your side. (Much like a guide dog must learn to navigate the world with a human’s height in mind, you’ll need to plan your movements to include the width of your dog)

Blind dogs will rely on your voice to help navigate, while deaf dogs will use your body language and even hand signs. For both types of disabilities, though, the leash and collar become an important connection and method of communication in themselves.

Your lead and collar can be used as an attention grabber for deaf dogs, to alert them to redirect their attention on you for a non-verbal cue, and for blind dogs, to warn them a direction change or step is coming.

Both blind dogs and deaf dogs should always be worked with in a flat buckle collar. To use a narrow, round, or choke collar can potentially cause unnecessary discomfort when you are using the collar’s pressure to communicate with your dog. Some owners may find chain martingale collars, helpful- as the jingle of the chain being collected can be a cue before the dog even needs to feel pressure of the collar constricting, but for most dogs a flt buckle collar- as wide as comfortable- is the best choice.

Ideal leashes vary for blind and deaf dogs. Deaf dogs may benefit from a longer leash, to allow them to turn and watch your body language, while blind dogs will benefit from a short traffic leash that holds them close by your side. When selecting a leash for walking a blind dog, try to purchase the stiffest leash you are able to find, as the leash itself can be a way to guide and redirect your dog.

Types of Leather Dog Leashes – Which is Right for You?

Types of Leather Dog Leashes – Which is Right for You?

When it comes to leashes, most customers only plan on whether to purchase a nylon or leather leash- but once the option of leather is selected, there are actually many possible variations to select based on your dog and how to plan to use your leash.

Rolled leather – Rolled leather leashes are a high end option with a pricetag that turns many customers off- however rolled leashes can be expected to last twice as long and break in much softer than a flat leather leash. Leashes made of flat strips of leather can only bend in one direction, but a rolled leather leash functions like a rope, bending in any direction or several directions at once. Because of the increased stregthn of the roll and the stitching used to hold it in place, rolled leather leashes will not stretch.  When fully broken in, rolled leather leashes are the most comfortable leather style for dogs and handlers.

Flat Leather – Flat leather leashes are the most popular choice for leather leashes. Available in a rainbow of colors and a plethora of sizes, a flat leather leash is a classic choice for training, walking, and even showing. Depending on whether the leash is stitch or unstitched it may be vunerable to stretching. The thickness of your flat leather leash will dictate whether the lead will be prone to stretch or break.

Braided Leather – there are two types of braided leather dog leashes- leashes created from a long continuous braid of thin leather straps and leashes with ornamental braids at the clip and or handle. Leashes created from thin braided straps may be inferior, as the thinner pieces of leather are typically pieces discarded from lesser quality hides than are used for solid leather leashes. Loosly braided leather leads may also catch skin or hair in the braid, and pinch uncomfortably when walking your dog. Leashes with braided sections for decorate are usually created using one continous strap of leather, twisted and knotted to create the look of a braid. These leashes are durable and work equally to a flat leather dog leash.

Stitched vs Unstitched. – You will find while shipping for a leather lead, that theere are both stitched and unstitched options. An unstitched leather leash will work fine if you anticipate your leash will be used occassionally, cared for well, and used on small or medium dogs. If you have a large dog, a dog that pulls, or if you ever plan to use your leash to tie your dog (outside of a shop, for instance) you’ll want a leather leash that includes stitching down the entire length. Stitching prevents stretching and breaking and legtnhens a leashe’s life.

A note on stitching: some manufacturers use stitching on leather collars and leads to secure thin laminated strips of leather together. To confirm your leash or collar is one piece of full-grain hide, check the edges of the leather for signs of laminated layers or ask the manufacturer or retailer.

 

 

How to Clean & Deodorize Nylon Dog Collars

 

A common question to our customer support email address is “what is the best ways to clean dog collars?”. We’ll address leather and embellished dog collars in another post in this 3 part series, but today we wanted to illustrate just how easy it is to clean and completely deodorize a nylon or polyester dog collar. These instructions will also work for dog collars made of cotton, hemp, or nylon collars lined with synthetic fleece.

Below we’ve illustrated the cleaning steps with this yellow chevron dog collar, which our standard poodle wears daily and which gets particularly soiled due to being worn with a rolled leather martingale collar, and absorbing some of the oils from the leather.

Before                                                                                                After

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Step 1.  (skip this step if the collar has no noticeable odor)

You’ll need:

Hot water (enough to submerge the collar completely)

3 Tablespoons baking soda

+ a bowl for soaking

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First, place the baking soda in a bowl or bucket:

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Then add the hot water, stir to dissolve baking soda:

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Add the dog collar and allow to soak- up to 12 hours for dirt or odor saturated collars:

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Step 2. Washing

Soaking should remove most of the smell from your dog collar and begin to loosen the dirt and oils embedded in the fibers.

Un-embellished nylon dog collars can typically be machine washed without issue, however because of the buckles, hardware, and long slender straps they can cause damage to your washing machine or other clothes in the load if not washed in a laundry bag. Our Heavy Duty Laundry Bags are inexpensive and designed for heavy duty animal equipment, so you won’t ruin your delicate lingerie bags.

Our laundry bags include a zipper and an extra long length that allows for a collar and leash to be washed together, separated by a knot.

Use a lingere bag to wash nylon dog collars in your washing machine

 

Once secured in a laundry bag, you can toss the dog collar in with almost any load. Generally we recommend washing with a load of soft items such as socks or towels with your usual detergent. For a very light colored collar like this yellow and white chevron collar, you may need to let it go through more than one wash cycle.

The end result will be well worth it. Typically one trip through the washing machine makes a dramatic difference in the look and brightness of a light colored collar.
Important: Never use heat to dry your dog collar! Never place a wet dog collar back on your dog’s neck! Allow your clean collar to air dry completely before placing back on your dog’s neck.

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The final result!

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