There was a time when I was running four collar straps on my bird dogs. Each dog would wear an ID collar, an Ecollar, a beeper collar and a telemetry tracking collar. This would have been between 1992 and 2007. There were a lot of jokes about breeding dogs with longer necks.
Folks were always concerned about how much weight was on the dogs neck and the stress that it placed them under. At times we could get it down to three straps by combining the Beeper and the ecollar. I even experimented with combining the tracking collars with Beepers and ecollars. Sometimes it worked but I generally ended back at 4 collar straps.
I never had a bird dog complain. They might not like that the process of getting “suited up” took some time but once in the field it wasn’t an issue.
Nowadays the issue is Mini Garmin collars vs Regular collars. Is the regular to heavy for my dog? Or perhaps “I don’t really like the way that big collar looks on my dog.” I have my answers for both these questions but I find it pretty funny.
I’ve already written about Em. She’s the one that ripped the hole in my dog box. The picture of me watering her was taken the first season we had her. I believe she was 1 1/2 but I’m not positive. It was late 90’s and predated us using telemetry collar. If you look real close, you can see the logging chains attached to her collar. They weigh about 6 1/2 pounds.
Em was the dog that would go until she found the birds. She really didn’t care how big she had to run. She would go until she found them and then make them stick until you got there. The logging chains was my fathers attempt to get her to stay closer to us and not to run quite so big.
Bird dog folks have used chains, welding cables and rubber balls attached to ropes and collar straps. We once even made a collar attachment that had 20 or so pieces of nylon straps that hung in front of the dog and would cause them to step on the straps to slow them down.
I don’t remember any of these techniques working. If anything, the chains increased her stamina and allowed her to run harder and longer after you took them off. Kind of like the weighted vests athletes wear when they train.
Needless to say, I learned how to track dogs with telemetry from running Em as she dragged me across the country. GPS collars came out in 2007 and it improved our relationship. We left the chains at the house.
All that said, your dogs are not upset about the size of your tracking collars. They can carry the weight as long as you take them bird hunting.