Introduction: Martingale Dog Collar

A martingale collars is a gentler alternative to traditional choke collars for dogs. The collar tightens when a dog pulls on its leash, discouraging the dog from pulling and preventing the its head from slipping out of the collar. A martingale collar is perfect for dogs whose heads are smaller than their necks, like greyhounds, whippets, and other sighthounds. The collars are also popular with pet owners who typically use choke collars or are looking for an alternative method to training their dogs to walk properly on a leash.

This martingale collar is easy to make for someone with basic sewing skills. The dimensions indicated are for a medium to large adjustable collar that fits an adult greyhound.

Equipment needed:
- Sewing machine
- Iron

Supplies needed:
- 1/8 yard home decor or outdoor fabric (Denim also works great.)
- 1/8 yard fusible interfacing
- Matching thread
- 4 pieces of hardware:
- One 2" d-ring
- One 2" slider
- Two 2" oval rings

I prefer a 2" wider collar, but these instructions can easily be altered for a 1" or 1.5" collar instead. The hardware can be a bit challenging to find, but several vendors on Etsy sell complete martingale hardware kits that include all necessary parts. Be careful about purchasing hardware at general craft stores - the original d-ring I used came apart after just a few walks. Look for heavy-duty hardware with welded seams.

Step 1: Cut Fabric + Interfacing

Cut two pieces of fabric. One should be 12" x 5" and the other will be 20" x 5." Cut two pieces of interfacing the same dimensions.

Step 2: Fuse Interfacing to Fabric

Using low heat, iron the fusible side of each piece of interfacing to the wrong side of the matching piece fabric. After this step, you'll be working with just two pieces, each with interfacing fused to the inside.

Step 3: Fold + Press

Fold both pieces of fabric along the longest edge with the right side facing in, interfacing on the outside. Press both pieces along the long crease.

Step 4: Stitch Long Seams

Using a 1/2" seam allowance, stitch the open long edge of both pieces of fabric, creating two long tubes.

Step 5: Trim + Turn

Trim off about half of the seam allowance on each piece of fabric. Turn each piece so the right side of the fabric is facing out, with the interfacing and raw edges on the inside. Press both pieces flat.

Step 6: Topstitch

Stitch along the long edges of both pieces of fabric, approximately 1/4" from the edge.

Step 7: Small Loop Assembly

Set aside the longer piece of fabric for now. Taking the shorter piece, thread on two oval rings and the d-ring. Overlap the fabric edges about 2 inches. Stitch the top edge securely to the loop (I use a square and x pattern, as pictured, but any reinforced stitch works fine.)

Step 8: Small Loop Assembly (part 2)

Pull the d-ring up and through the remaining overlapped edge of fabric. When you sew the second edge securely, the d-ring will rest between the two seams. (Some of the stitches can get a bit bulky by the sewing machine - the most challenging part of this project is managing the bulk of the collar and hardware - it helps to use a heavy-duty sewing needle.)

Step 9: Attach Long Loop

The d-ring will now best resting between the two overlapped seams, while the oval rings are loose. The oval rings will attach to each edge of the longer piece of fabric, forming the main loop of the collar. Take one of the oval loops and feed the edge of the long piece of fabric through the loop. Fold the edge over itself about 1" and sew it securely.

Step 10: Attach Slide Adjuster

Now for the trickiest step in this whole process! Take the final piece of hardware, the slide adjuster, and thread it through the remaining loose end of the long loop. It takes a little care to properly thread it. After the loose end of the long loop threads through the slide adjuster, you will loop it through the remaining oval ring. Finally, loop it through the bottom of the slide adjuster once again, pulling about 1" back against itself. (This can be a bit tricky! See photos for how to thread the slide adjuster. This is the same threading arrangement as any adjustable strap, so it can be helpful to use an adjustable strap on another collar, a purse strap, bra, etc. as a pattern for how to thread it if you're struggling.)

Step 11: Final Attachment

Securely stitch the loose edge against itself where it overlaps beneath the slide adjuster. Once again, this piece can be a bit bulky to negotiate on the sewing machine; if you have a smaller sewing foot, it may be helpful.

Step 12: Final Product!

Admire your success! Trim any loose threads and adjust the collar to a proper size. Your pup will thank you for its snazzy new collar!