Friday, July 29, 2011

Party Naked

Lately, the topic of dog nakedness has come up in a few places I've looked.

By "naked", I mean whether your dog wears her collar at all times, or only wears a collar when going out.  So, no collar when crated, no collar around the house, no collar at bedtime.

Really, before I started reading forums and blogs written by hardcore dog people, I had no idea that peoples' dogs went collarless.

Elka wears a collar all the time.  When she came home, and we put her on the floor of our living room, we then fastened on her first collar, an adjustable nylon number with a metal buckle.   She jumped around for a total of about five seconds (it was apparently the literal first time anything was around her neck) and then was done with it.

When she is collar-less (which will be referred to as "naked" for the remainder of this post, for humor's sake), Elka is concerned.  It must be a bit like removing a ring; you still feel like the ring is on your finger, but distinctly know that it is not, and is in fact right in front of you.  If Elka's collar is off, she'll sniff at it in  your hands, and follow you around, and complain just short of whining.  Recently, we had to take her collar off to glue the leather lining back down.  It coincided with the day I took a poll on regarding dog nakedness.

So, I took the opportunity to take a few pictures, and admire the fact that her collar doesn't seem to be removing the hair on the underside of her neck.

Admittedly, Elka looks a bit bashful in the second picture.  

If you crate your dog, it probably isn't advisable to keep a collar on her.  A dog can in fact get a collar hung up on the crate and strangle.  Also, if your dog's collar is loose enough, she can get her own jaw, or a leg caught in it, and get hurt trying to disentangle.  When playing together, dogs can also get hung up on each other's collars.  So, it is a safety issue, but one that really never occurred to me.

For me, though Elka is microchipped, I feel more confident that her tags are on her collar and readily visible.  Unfortunately, not all microchips are registered to the same company, and so not in the same database.  So while shelters are supposed to scan a dog for a microchip when the animals is brought in, there is that gap in the coverage.  Also, it is frequently useful for one's dog to have a "handle", if she needs to be moved out of the way (if you haven't taught the "move" cue, as I have, or if your dog is recalcitrant regarding the "move" cue).   Elka has yet to get her collar caught on anything, that I've known; she's actually reluctant to stick her head into close places, which I'm sure reduces those chances.  

So, safety first, definitely.  Look into the risks and the benefits, and make your own choice regarding whether you want your dog to be collared at all times or not.


  1. This is a terrific post.

    I used to think people who warned against keeping a collar on your dog when alone at home were a bit cuckoo. But many years ago, my dogs Agatha and Christie got into a kerfuffle. Which became a panicky brawl when Agatha got Christie's collar wrapped around her jaw.

    Christie was choking, Agatha was panicking, and my husband got the first thing he found to free them--a kitchen knife.

    Luckily no one was seriously hurt. But it was one of the most frightening things I've ever seen.

    Now, my dogs are always naked in the house unless I think they are at greater risk from getting loose than from being hurt.

  2. Thank you!

    As long as Elka is an "only dog", collar on is the way we're going to keep it. If we make an addition, we'll re-evaluate.

    All of the "what if's?" are certainly scary, and something that I definitely think about. I read about people crating with dogs in-collar, and what happened there. And, of course, the hazards of playing in-collar. So, thanks for the story!