Right leash

Walking a dog should be enjoyable for both of you. In my opinion the dog should be able to explore safely without the owner having to be pulled down the street.

Training your dog to walk on a leash is easier if you have the right collar and leash. Extensive training is not involved unless of course you want to train you dog for show or are very rigid on how you want your pup to walk with you.

For me, it’s a combination. I want Kodi to have fun on his walks, be able to explore safely and be able to get a good walk in myself.

Kodi has several leashes. Which one I snap to his collar depends on what type of walk we are taking. Yes, there are different types of walks.

First there is the standard leash, a 4-8 foot length of nylon or leather webbing. I prefer the nylon as they are easier to keep clean. The length depends on the type of dog and how close you want to keep him to you. Folks in city environments or crowded dog friendly events often like the shorter leash so their dog stays right by their side.

One of my favorite leashes is the Weiss Walkie developed by Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Emily Weiss.

The Weiss walking humanely allows an owner to keep their dog in control on walks without extensive training.

The rounded webbed leash is attached to the dog’s collar and then wrapped under the midsection and then the handle is threaded through a ring on the leash. This applies gentle pressure to the rib cage area (which naturally has some give) keeping the dog by your side without tugging on his neck.

The versatile aspect of this leash is you can clip in on as a regular leash when you want to give a little extra length for him to do business and when he’s done, adjust it as it’s meant to be used for the rest of your walk.

Retractable leashes are great for certain situations but often misused by owners. Too often owners simply allow the leash to extend to its fullest giving them no control over their dog and, in crowded situations, annoying those around them.

I use our retractable leash when we travel. At every stop we leash Kodi up and walk him around the doggie area at the rest stops to do his business. The leash is retracted and locked as we get out of the car and walk to the exercise area. These are the areas we encounter people who, while they smiled and may even stop to pet him, were not generally  interested in being jumped on or herded.

At the exercise area I would first look around to make sure he wasn’t going to come in contact with any other dog’s business (it is not healthy for your dog).

Also known as a flexi-leash, the retractable leash allows variable leash length. Like a tape measure, the leash pulls out from a heavy handle with a stopping mechanism that you control. Although such leashes are easy to store and use, “Consumer Reports” and The Dogington Post noted several potential problems. If you do not tightly set the stopping mechanism or leave it loose to give your dog freedom, you are at risk of cuts and abrasions if the dog suddenly lunges forward causing the leash to rapidly unravel from the base. Even with the mechanism set, your dog could pull the entire handle out of your hands, injuring himself, you or a bystander in the process. Likewise, the dog is at risk for strangulation when he suddenly runs out of leash or if he becomes entangled in the leash. Choose a retractable leash only when walking a dog that responds well to voice commands and in situations where you can maintain control.

Maintaining control is not just your control over the dog, it is also over other humans and their dogs.It seems I always come across people who want our dogs to meet. It always starts out with “it’s okay he’s friendly.”

Friendly is fine but when two strange dogs are on leashes no one really knows what’s in store. Kodi is protective of me, wants to be top dog and has little tolerance for having his butt sniffed. He’s fine with adults and children but when it comes to other dogs he has a limited threshold of tolerance and I respect that. He doesn’t have anything to prove and he doesn’t have to “make friends” with a dog we are never going to see again.

If someone comes up to you and their dog is not on a leash do not let the dogs interact. Your dog is at a disadvantage and immediately seen by the other dog as submissive. Politely (no reason to be rude) ask the owner to leash their dog or, if they won’t (and there are people who have to prove how well-behaved their dog is), gently shorten your lead and walk to your car or a building. Hopefully the owner will get the hint and call his dog back.

If he thinks you are being rude fine. Your dog’s well-being is your concern.


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