June 30, 2009

My fool-proof, dog-proof setup for collars and tags

Pit bull: "Mwuahahahaha!" Angel: "Fear not, tiny camouflage-patterned Quiet Spot tag bag! Whoa, pit bull — am I seeing things, or is that Michael Jackson over there?" [pit bull runs off] Angel [whispers over shoulder]: "Hey, MJ, seen the Nicholas brothers yet? Dance jam tonight? Awesome!"

The heartbreak [and dollar suck] of dog-tag loss was suffered recently by Pet Connection's Phyllis DeGioia and her good boy Dodger. Only the tags were lost — not the dog, thank heavens. Read about it here.

I love the Quiet Spot tag silencers and thought I'd share my tag 'n' collar setup. It's fool-proof, if I do say so myself: if I can manage to keep tags safe with this method, trust me, it's fool-proof.

What I use:

  • Steel key rings, available at any hardware place, sizes 1" or so to whatever. These are cheap, so I always have several rings of different sizes.
  • Quiet Spot tag silencer[s]. They do exactly what they're supposed to do, which is end tag noise, and they are as tough as nails. My dogs have worn them in the ocean, in the mountains, crashing through brush while working livestock, etc. and we've never killed a tag bag yet. My local pet supply place carries them, and you can order them online.
  • Boomerang CollarTags. I keep two of them on each dog's collar. I'm a huge fan of CollarTags: they've been in the sidebar since I started this blog, and on my dogs' collars since before that. They really are the best dog ID tags you can buy, and no, I'm not paid to say that. One CollarTag has: DOG'S NAME/my cell #/my home #/MICROCHIPPED/CITY, STATE. The second CollarTag has: REWARD/LOOSE = LOST/alternate phone number[s]/MICROCHIPPED. Did I mention all my dogs are microchipped?
  • Collar. For my dogs, I like the sturdy nylon collars with steel buckles. I've seen those plastic quick-release thingies fail under pressure. Nothing like watching an untrained dog break his collar at the sight of sheep, yikes.

OK, on to the setup.

The little photo at top left shows how the tags go on the key ring. Yes, that's a St. Francis medallion. I am not terribly religious; however, I am deeply superstitious. Also: city tag, microchip tag, rabies tag, etc.

Once you have the tags on the key ring, put the Quiet Spot bag over the tags and fasten the three little arms OVER the key ring, like so:

Back view, with blurry Smoky nose... and front view, below, with himself. OMG, he is so adorable :~))) The scratch on his nose is from crashing through some rose bushes in the backyard saving everyone from a giant tiger that ekscaped from the zoo.

Once the tags are on the key ring and the Quiet Spot is 1) holding the tags and 2) fastened to the key ring itself, just thread the collar through the key ring as seen in the photo at the top of the post, and you're good to go.

In the unlikely event that the Quiet Spot bag works its way loose, the tags will still be fastened to the key ring, which will still be fastened to the collar.

But wait! Isn't the key ring likely to slide right off the collar whenever the collar's unbuckled?

You bet, especially if you happen to be as absent-minded as I am.

CollarTags to the rescue! Since you'll be using them anyway, let the CollarTags keep the ring in place. First, make sure the key ring isn't large enough to slide over the CollarTag. Then put one CollarTag on the collar, then the key ring + Quiet Spot, then the second CollarTag, like so:

I guarantee that tag bag will stay put.

"Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh!! Beat it! Just beat it!!"

I also love fancy custom collars. Check out these sites:
Paco Collars
Blocky Dogs


Bill Fosher said...

My set up is a little less elaborate. I bulk order collars from gundogsupply.com. They come with a free brass plate. All my dogs have the same info on them: my name and address, my cell phone number.

Under New Hampshire law, I am eligible for a group license (anyone with more than five dogs is; my current count is eight) and my town clerk does not issue individual tags to group licensees.

I probably should have rabies tags on the dogs, but I keep them on file at home. I used to keep them on the collars, but found that they did not survive our lifestyle very well. It was not usually the hook that failed, but the tag itself. They would last a year pretty reliably, but not three.

Katie said...

LOVE Boomerang tags. LOVE. Great tags, great price. Luce has had hers for five and a half years and while it's got a couple toothmarks in it, it's completely functional and easily read.

The puppy lost his whole collar while swimming at the lake the other weekend. Tags and all. The metal buckle on the cheap crappy PetsMart puppy collar came open and it was gone. Amazingly, a week or so later I got a call from the dog tag people saying that somebody had found it and I could pick it up at a local convenience store. I'm glad I hadn't gone through the aggravation of getting him a new set of tags yet!

Luisa said...

I've lost a pair of rabies tags. Brought the tags home from the vet's a couple weeks ago; put them... ?????; remember thinking at the time "if I forget I put them in [?????] I'll run across them eventually"; have looked everywhere, and those suckers are gone [weeps]. Seriously, if a movie were made of my life the title would be Where'd I Put That?

Note to self: take a look at New Hampshire dog laws, which appear to have been written by actual sensible people.

Anonymous said...

I buy wide nylon collars embroidered with my business name and phone number. I get cheap advertising and my number is there as long as the collar is on.

For when its not - they're chipped.

Julie said...

I love Boomerang tags! I used to like Quiet Spot until I found out they're made in Denver. Boo on that nonsense. Denver gets none of my dollars until their stupid, ineffective breed ban is history.

Barb said...

Boomerang tags rock! I love the collar tags - one of my dogs DID manage to lose his collar tag a few years ago (NO idea how he did that, although his sister chewing on his collar may have had something to do with it) and they replaced it, no questions asked.

I also like their hanging tags, you can get info engraved on both sides. I have LOTS of phone numbers on one side and the other side of the tags say something along the lines of (the wording varies with the size or style of tag):

take me to a vet if hurt
my owner will pay
My vet (xxx)xxx-xxxx

- I have no idea if that will actually help get treatment for them faster but it makes me feel better :-)