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Dog Walking: Safe and Reliable Tools
By: Katie Waters
As we all know, one of the most common ways of exercising your dog is taking them for walks. Have you ever considered the gear you use for your best friend during these walks?
Whether it be a short stroll around the block or a long hike through the woods, you always want to be sure you are using appropriate and reliable gear for your pup. Here are a few tools I think you should consider before taking your pup on your day to day walks!
Having total control of your dog is very important when out in public or on walks. Using the appropriate leash can prevent some pretty serious and scary situations, like running into a road or up to another dog. The leash is your safety line between you and your best friend.
Most of the time when you think of a leash, this is what you picture. These are your standard 6ft leashes that simply clasp onto a collar or harness and have a handle on the end for you to hold. These types of leashes I personally think are the best and most reliable. Durable and simple, it is easy to have a strong hold if your pup happens to excitably lunge to the nearest squirrel they happen to see. Unlike a rope leash or retractable leash, you are able to have a strong hold with a lesser chance of rope burn or your pup getting away from you.
A lot of people like the idea of a retractable leash as they feel it gives their dog freedom on walks. With a handle at the end for you to hold, the leash is able to extend and retract as the dog moves about freely on their walk, able to smell and explore as they wish. While this sounds ideal to most people, the retractable leash is not a good option to use. This type of leash actually leaves you with very little control as you are unable to have a tight grip on the leash and there is no way for you to retract the leash back if your pup decides to run up to another dog or person they see.
A longer leash may be more ideal to use when you’re on those hikes or walks
where you want your pal to have more freedom to roam around. A long lead gives the pups an opportunity to explore, but still gives you more control of the situation. This leash is a fantastic tool to teach your dog recall as well. Less likely to snap or tear if your dog pulls forward, this leash gives you a lot of freedom in a safer way.
Harnesses and Gentle Leaders (otherwise known as Halti) can be a very beneficial tool to use when walking your pup. It can prevent trachea or other medical issues or you might find some relief using the correct kind of harness or gentle leader if your dog pulls a lot on the leash.
Easy walk harnesses
In my experience, the best harness to use that prevents pulling is the ‘easy walk harness’. This harness has a clip in the front as well as the ability to tighten across the chest in case the dog pulls forward too much or if your pup is the sneaky type that tries to escape out of their gear! Control of the dog’s chest by having the clip in the front would be the best approach to preventing pulling while using a harness, because you have more control over their body. Think about it: a standard harness that clips on the back of the dog is very similar to that of a sled harness used on Huskies, which are literally designed to pull!
The ‘Gentle Leader’ is an excellent way to prevent pulling from your pup. Unlike a collar or harness, this piece of gear is placed on the dog’s snout and head giving you total control of whether your pup can pull forward or not. By far my favorite to use when taking the pups for a walk or in public settings, this tool gives total control of any situation thrown at you. Contrary to some belief, the gentle leader is not like a muzzle in any way. Your best friend will still be able to open their mouth, bark and drink water, they just simply will not be able to use their body weight to lunge forward.
There are many excellent tools in the dog world that can be used to help manage your best friend on walks or in public settings. Finding the gear that works best for your pup will not only make your life as a dog parent easier, but it can also create less stress on your pup. I believe it is always important to consider the safety of yourself and others while out and about and hope that you find the benefits of these tools listed above.
Katie Waters has extensive experience with dogs and their behaviors. She has been working with dogs of all breeds, and their families, for over 7 years. Her passion is helping families whose dogs who are fearful and aggressive. She also enjoys working with families whose dogs might not be fearful or aggressive but need help learning to behave properly. She is an animal lover who currently lives in Northeast CT with her husband, 4 dogs, 2 cats, and 6 chickens.