My vet had put a rope made of a roll of gauze inside the loops as a tie, that worked well to keep the thing on but not mark up Otto's neck.
I don't want to poke fun here but you'll look back and laugh. I do. Wasn't at all funny at the time! We've had these discussions as they were growing up, how much alike Otto and Nikon are. I know your pain. I had huge scrapped up purple contusions on both legs from where he smashed me with that cone. He's smash it into the woodwork, run head first into a doorframe trying to bash it off his head, walk through the house bashing it off things, knock my children down with it.
By the end of his 10 days in the cone, it was bent into a narrow oral looking thing, chewed and dented. I have it in the basement as the spoils of war, pull it out once in a while to demonstrate what a beast Otto is.
He learned how to play ball with the cone on. I have a movie of him chasing the hose spray wearing it. It's titled 'Commander Crazy Cone'