Walk'n the dog

Good morning; what a great cool morning, love it. We all had toast for breakfast this morning; Luke and Jessie were on the bed with me and Tilley was still on her bed. I am perfecting my toast toss so that Tilley doesn't have to move from her bed to get it. At almost 13 it's getting tougher to get up so when I made a bad toss this morning I watched and laughed at her commando crawling across her bed and out onto the carpet. Obviously a much easier means of maneuvering.

Well onto leash etiquette. I'm a stickler for the proper use of a leash and when and where certain types of leashes are appropriate. I have tons of leashes but the ones I use almost all the time are my 8' 5/8s" cotton web leashes. They are long enough to give the dogs some distance and thin enough to wrap in my hand easily. I do not like the big thick 1" nylon leashes nor do I like nylon leashes in general as they can slide through your hand injuring you. I like the bungee cord type leashes; mostly when used with body harnesses though. And I like a nice short 6"-8" leash for walking through crowds.

Then there is the extension leash; most either hate or love them. I have one for Jessie and it is used ONLY when we are at the park and not around other people. If other people come around she is reigned into 5' length and locked in. Extension leashes can be dangerous and cause all sorts of problems; like cutting your leg. I've had my leg cut twice by the thin ones, clients let their dog out to the end to see me and then tried to haul them back while they were wrapped around my leg, smart. Dogs getting wrapped up in someone else's extension leash can be very dangerous indeed; fights start that way. When dogs feel trapped they swing into the fight of flight mode and being that they cannot move away they resort to aggression to get them out of the situation.

No matter what leash your dog is on when you meet someone else with a dog; do not allow them to become tangled. If they are becoming excited either move away and keep on your walk or drop your leash. But even if you drop your leash watch for tangled feet. If you have a dog that tends to be aggressive on leash, stay calm when you meet others with dogs and keep walking. Get a bit of distance by stepping off the path and calmly moving away but do not change your stride, do not have your dog stop and sit. When you do have to reel your leash in do it in a calm and smooth manner. Do not panic; the more calm you remain the calmer your dog will be.

Do not allow your dog to wander up to others without asking. Extension leashes are horrible for this although people do it on shorter leashes as well. When I walk Jessie I send clear messages that we do not want to meet with others. I get distance, step off the path and continue my walk. Sometimes the other people are so anxious to have their dog meet my dog that they don't register our message so then I must tell them that she is not social. But had they been paying attention they would already know that.

When walking with your dog on a leash have a look down at what is going on when you are walking. Does the clasp hit your dog in the face? Does the leash keep swinging and catching their ear? I see these type things all the time as the dog struggles to get away from the annoyance. Does your leash hang down to far and keep tangling your dogs feet? Is it too short so that your dog cannot do their much needed sniffing? These are all things to watch for.

No matter what leash you use; watch how you use it and hopefully it is not connected to a chain.