Jingle Bells

Our buddy Simcha posted a great question on the comments Saturday: I always think of windchimes when I see videos of “The Herd”. Do you wear special tags to make this pretty noise? Is there a purpose behind it? I’ve always wondered.

So let’s start with the purpose.  We live in the small town of Maggie Valley, NC, which is nestled on the east side of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (we can actually see the park from our house).  According to the National Park Service, about 1500 Black Bears live within the park boundaries and countless others live in the surrounding area such as the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  In fact, we had a run in with a black bear just last year.

In addition to the bears, we have bobcats, elk, (both of which we have seen) and lots of creatures you do not want to get up close and personal with (for example, skunks).  The Park Service for years denied that Mountain Lions live in the area, but they have started even acknowledging that they might be here as well.  No, we have not seen a Mountain Lion (sorry, Huffle).

Anyway, since we love hiking all of the various trails in this area, we would prefer to see these magnificent animals from a distance, but not up close and personal.  So the idea is to make noise and bear bells are a way to do that.  We don’t personally use bear bells, but the tags work the same way.

So, that’s the why.  Now the how.  Each member of the Herd actually has TWO collars, as pictured here:


The top collar is a break away collar made by Chinook & Co.  We became a huge fan of these collars one night when Rusty and Natasha were wrestling and Rusty’s jaw got caught in Natasha’s collar. The more Rusty tried to pull away, the tighter the collar cinched around Natasha’s neck.  Natasha nearly passed out before I was able to cut the collar away and get the two dogs separated.  I had never been so scared as those few seconds and will never forget the sounds of Rusty’s screams and the look on Natasha’s face.  I instantly took the old collars off and ordered breakaway collars.  

The lower collar is a limited slip collar and is the collar The Herd wears when out for a hike, though they never wear them inside the house.  They simply slip over the head, but can tighten when attached to a leash, but never tighten so far as to choke.

Both collars are demonstrated in this video:

So the jingle?  As you can see in the picture above, the breakaway collar has an ID tag (dog’s name, address, and phone numbers) from Go-Tags and the Rabies Tag (often required in many parks to prove the dog has had the required rabies vaccination).  The limited slip collar also has an ID tag from Go Tags for two reasons: 1) makes it easy to figure out whose collar is whose hanging on the hook by the door and 2) a second ID just in case the break away collar comes off while out for a hike.  Thus, there are three metal tags that clang while we walk.  Multiply that by six dogs, and you have a lot of jingling.

So, Simcha, there is the how and why we jingle while we walk.


  1. Steve and Kat on March 2, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Your limited slip collars look like ours, except we have a reflective strip. We like to jingle-jangle too, but we’re not nearly as good as you!!


  2. The OP Pack on February 24, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    We often wondered about all the jingle jangle sounds – thanks for the “rest of the story”. Be careful out there with all those wild beasts.

    Now bring on some pics of the pups.

    Tail wags, the OP Pack

  3. Echo on February 24, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Lions, and tigers, and bears…. WOO! The most I have to worry about is an occasional skunk, feral cat, or an opossum! You should charge admission to your nature wonderland. A box of biscuits for a guided tour.

  4. Huffle Mawson on February 24, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    It’s a shame about the mountain lion but maybe you will get lucky one day and see one. My purple Huffle collar is a safety collar – a bit like your breakaway collars. Mine is designed to pull apart if I get it caught on a tree branch or something.

    Huffle Mawson

  5. Mochi on February 24, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Sounds like you have a lot of scary animals there! Mom is thinking that the limited slip collar might be good for me. She might order one online if she can find it in pink!


  6. Team Husky on February 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Haroo Thundering Herd!

    What happened to Rusty and Natasha sure sounds scary! We at Team Husky wear limited slip collars whenever we go out anywhere, when we are at home we go nude!

    Wow woo sure have a lot of scary big animals near you!!!

    Woo Woos

  7. the Army of Four on February 24, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    We wear limited slips, too. Something about noSibe being able to do the ‘back up, twist around, get out of your collar’ move. I have NO idea who that’s aimed at.
    Oh, and mom likes for us to jingle so she knows ‘what we’re up to’. I think she means “where we are”, but she insists it’s the other. Go figure.
    Play bows,
    PS: Dave said to tell you he loves the colors in your tiles!

  8. princess eva on February 24, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Good PSA but we’re protesting the lack of any guest appearance by the Herd.

    Princess Eva

  9. simcha on February 24, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Kiley has a breakaway and a limited slip. We didn’t have the same problem as you had (that sounds simply horrible). But when Kiley was an adolescent pup, about a year before I came along, she was a bad pup and needed to go to daycare. Daycare insisted on the breakaway. Mom doesn’t let us wear our limited slip in the house neither because Kiley got caught on the fence once with her limited slip. If humom didn’t have hear ear to the yard, something awful would have happened to Kiley.

    Thank woo for the public service announcement and the story behind the jingles. I think HuMom is going to order me one of those breakaways too as I am the one who gets out and has a hard time being caught.


  10. Kira on February 24, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Wooo, thanks for the heads up, I think Mom is going shopping today for new breakaway collars for me and Scampi!

    -Kira The BeaWootiful
    Pee Ess, we are getting bears here to, one was spotted down the street in the garbage 2 nights ago!

  11. Ozzie on February 24, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Wooooo! All of that wildlife sounds kind of scary. Luckily there are six of you–so you should be OK. Don’t forget the flying squirrels that you mentioned the other day. Those are particularly dangerous!


  12. D.K. Wall on February 24, 2009 at 6:09 am

    Chuckling – consider it our public service announcement. We will return with a snowy Walking Wednesday tomorrow just for you Khyra!

  13. Khyra on February 24, 2009 at 5:56 am

    That has to have been THE most boring video EVFUR on this blog!

    No beaWOOtiful woopup or anythigng!

    Just the boring human paws of the hu-dad!

    PeeEssWoo: I used to wear three khollars but I had her enter a programme fur help…

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