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  • Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.
    Slobodchikoff is President and CEO of Animal Communications, Ltd., specializing in pet behavior problems and in educating people about the behavior of animals.

« Walking The Dog | Main | Are Dogs Smarter Than Cats? »

July 22, 2009


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My dog actually likes the sound of her tags.If her collar is off, and I pick it up, she comes running and waits for me to put it on her. Once on, she plays with the tags. We even gave her a set of spare keys once, and she played with them for hours.


As a dog care professional and a former shelter clinic worker, I would like to note a couple things. I agree that the noise of tags jangling can drive some dogs nuts, though most get used to it in my opinion. That said, I'm all for reducing annoying noises for our pets.

However, I dislike name tags that are fixed to the collar for two reasons: first, people don't see them. Especially with longer haired dogs, the collar is often not very visible. You have to catch the dog and hold him while rotating the collar on his neck to find the tag - something most people don't know to do. I once found a golden retriever who had her owner's phone number written in permanent marker on the (nylon) collar. I didn't notice the number due to the dog's long hair and it took three extra hours for me to get the dog to the clinic to get her chip read. A dangling collar would have been impossible to miss.

Second, a dangling name tag often signifies to someone that the dog is safe to approach (however false that sometimes is) and can attract would-be rescuers. It also advertises to people that finding this dogs' owners will be as easy as making a cellphone call. If the tag isn't visible, people may avoid picking up the dog because they have no time to take the dog to the vet to get him or her scanned. A dangling tag attracts would-be rescuers whereas a tag riveted to the collar requires extra effort and implies to the rescuer (until they find the tag) that the dog will be a big hassle.

As for the little pouches - a lot of people don't know to unzip/unvelcro them! I know, it's rediculous, but humans are big dumb animals too. Same with the screw-canisters with the note inside. They take two hands to unscrew (so the person isn't holding the dog) and 99% of folks don't know to unscrew it!

All the big pet shops that engrave tags usually have these little silicone sleeves that the tags can go in to prevent jangling while still allowing dangling. You can also use some silicone to encase your tag. The advantage of this is that its' see-through, so doesn't impair the would-be rescuers' ability to help your pet.


hey nice post...thanks for sharing

Tamara Whitner

This is the first time I've seen this issue discussed--I've often wondered about it. I have never put tags on my dogs (they have collars w/ embroidered contact info), really only because I didn't really like the sound. One year for Christmas my kids picked out an adorable collar for my dog with a small jingle bell on it. We put it on, thinking nothing of it. As the day went on, I noticed he was acting very strangely--hiding under tables and staying glued to our legs. I thought, "Oh, no. He's getting sick." To top it off, we were scheduled to leave town the next day, and so I was so worried that I'd be cramming an emergency vet visit into my already packed schedule, plus worrying about how sick he was while we were gone. Then, it occurred to me: the collar. I took the bell off, and sure enough, he was fine. Poor guy! I'll never make that mistake again--thanks for raising the issue. Since then, I've often wondered how other dogs "feel" about their loud tags.

  Randall Johnson

As an additional comment, I thought it might be useful to see a comparison of hearing ranges for humans, dogs, and a few other species:

human 64 - 23,000
dog 67 - 45,000
cat 45 - 64,000
bat 2,000 - 110,000
beluga whale 1,000 - 123,000
dolphin 75 - 150,00
elephant 16 - 12,000


Randall Johnson

Thanks for passing along such a useful suggestion. Although my dogs aren't weighed down by an excessive number of tags, it's good to be reminded that dogs have much better--and consequently more sensitive--hearing than we have. I have one dog who is clearly disturbed by thunderstorms and another who goes nuts over fireworks. In the latter case, I'd bark at fireworks too if I were a dog. It's an irritating noise from my perspective, so I imagine it could be even painful for a dog.

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