Being taken for a walk is one of the activities most treasured by a pet. Just say the words, “go for a walk?”, and they get all excited. But, as we know, not every dog walks well on a leash. Some tug and dart in front of you while others see the dreaded squirrel taunting them to come play and pull you to wherever the varmint goes. It is quite common for your dog to walk you instead of you walking the dog. Let’s not forget about cats either. Some cats will walk on a leash when wearing a harness, but many cats become a limp noodle when they are placed in one and will refuse to walk.
Controlling a pet, especially a larger dog can be challenging. Not to say small dogs aren’t just a challenging, but most people out weigh a small Chihuahua so restraining a smaller dog is easier. Using the proper leash and collar is a must to protect your pet from choking, accidental suffocation, and neck injuries.
Here are a few suggestions.
- No metal choke collars- There have been numerous cases reported where a large dog (i.e. Golden Retriever) and a small dog (i.e. Jack Russell Terrier) were playing and the head of the Jack Russel Terrier slipped inside of the choke collar of the Golden. The terrier could not free itself and the retriever became scared and tried to shake the smaller dog off, choking the dog in the process. Choke collars can easier get caught on chain link fences and other stationary objects. The more the dog pulls the tighter the collar becomes.
- The Martingale Collar- A Martingale is a type of dog collar that provides more control over the animal without the choking effect of a slip collar. There are significantly less critics of the Martingale collar in comparison to the pinch and choke collars. The softer material and lesser force of the Martingale collar against a dogs’ neck is the reason for such a lesser amount of criticism. Unfortunately, any collar with a D-ring to attach a leash has the potential of getting hooked onto some stationary object and the dog could choke, but the Martingale collar stays closer to the neck and is adjustable like a latch collar. Metal choke collars come in standard sizes and tend to hang lower from the dogs neck increasing the chances of a choking hazard. The Martingale is an effective alternative to the metal choke collar.
- Standard latch collars- A basic collar with a plastic latch or buckle, this collar is adjustable but does not decrease in size when pulled like a Martingale. These collars are great for the dog who is already trained how to properly walk on a leash but is not effective during the training process.
- Leashes- One of the best leashes available is a Weiss Walkie. This leash is used by professional dog walkers to humanely control shelter dogs. This leash connects to the collar then wraps under the body of the dog and loops through a ring on the leash positioned at the dogs’ shoulders. This effective design will comfortably loop around your dog’s body, giving you enough leverage to keep them under control without causing any harm or discomfort. The Weiss Walkie acts like a harness but is much easier to put on. Some harnesses are complicated with many straps and moving parts. This leash is simple and effective.
- Retractable Leashes- Some people love these leashes while others do not. Used more often for smaller breed dogs and even cats, this leash retracts at a touch of a button. There are many reasons not to use a retractable leash. Some can be as long as 26 feet giving the dog far too much freedom from their walker. Most are cord like and can snap if the dog connected to it is stronger than it. The handles of retractable leashes are bulky and can be easily pulled out of human hands, resulting in a runaway dog. Keep your dog close to you when you walk them. A walk should be something you do with your dog, not for your dog.
There is no perfect solution for dog walking gear, but the Martingale collar and a Weiss Walkie are solid products. Both are available online, at local pet stores, and at the Halifax Humane Society where the proceeds go to support our community’s homeless animals. Remember, Adopt, Don’t Shop.