There are so many different walking tools that you can buy for your dog but what is the right one?
It is important to continually train your dog when out for a walk, making sure you have a solid “heel” and “recall” command, keeping your dog away from any danger or mischief.
Personally, I feel dog collars should be used as an information holder, attaching your contact information in case your dog goes missing. Walking your dog using a collar can cause restrictions to their airways and limits your control in situations. If under too much strain they can snap, leaving you and your dog in a potentially tricky scenario.
Part of a successful walk is having the correct restraints so here are a list of pros and cons for the more popular items which are available.
This type of harness is becoming more popular with dogs and their owners; they have changeable patches to go on the side which appeal to a lot of dog owners. More commonly seen on brachycephalic dogs such as French bull dogs, Bull dogs and Pugs. They do well with these breeds as it does not apply restricting pressure on their airways and suits their wide chests. The problems you may face with this type of harness is their placement around the front legs. It restricts their full range of movement and may cause mobility issues over a long period of time. Also, if you have an excitable, nervous dog they can easily slip this harness and run away.
Harnesses like this one are basic and easy to attach to your dog. They are suitable for older dogs who are happy to walk alongside their owner and distribute evenly around the dog’s chest. For excitable, bouncy and dog reactive dogs they can cause an issue. They restrict the level of control an owner will have over the dog and they too can slip out of it completely if not fitted correctly.
Harnesses which have the lead attachment towards the dog’s back end rather than the head can limit your control. They come in all shapes, sizes, material, and colour which can appeal to the owner’s eye but practically not the best suited.
The handles on the top of this type of harness can assist in an escalating situation and the extra straps can provide more security than other types of harness.
There are companies which supply adjustable harness’s so owners can get a perfect fit to suit their dogs body structure.
Retract that retractable lead!
Retractable leads can cause a lot of injuries to you and your dog. They are easily snapped if you have a bouncy, pulling dog. They can get caught under your dog’s legs and around their necks which causes severe rope burn injuries and for some breeds even cause open wounds.
Circumstances may cause them to get stuck around people’s legs causing rope, open wounds and even cause falls/accidents.
They provide no control of your dog, giving them too much space and time to gain speed which can pull owners over. Allowing them this space around you slows down your reaction time to a situation whether it’s a dog attack, eating something that can be dangerous to them or causing an accident with a member of the public.
They can be useful when teaching your dog to swim as it allows you to keep your dog on a safe line in case, they get in to any distress.
If you are choosing to purchase a retractable lead, I recommend buying one which has a wider line, rather than the thin rope type.
I need more help!
If you are struggling with your lead walks and outdoor training, there are several different additional tools that can be used to keep control of your dog.
They can be extremely helpful with training your dog not to pull on the lead and can be used alongside a harness.
Specially designed leads are available with multiple clips to link both items together.
You must allow yourself and your dog time to adjust to new items and training should always start in the home before bringing them outside.
A positive training protocol will reduce the chances of your dog becoming frightened of the restraints and allow you both you have an enjoyable walk.
When training your dog outside you can take their favourite toy and/or a high value training food to help keep their attention.
Keeping their attention can be difficult so by providing their toy it creates a distraction to their surroundings, maintaining attention to yourself.
My dog loves to carry a teddy or toy during his walk. When we are passing another dog, to keep him focused on me, we play with the toy and he can pass with ease. The toy becomes his reward, and he will happily walk on without any complications.
If you are having any issues or have any questions your local practice will be happy to help.