The extension crutch

This is the Yap Wrap that Jessie wore in her senior years.  No longer a pulling dog she enjoyed the comfort of this harness.  

Last week I wrote about dog parks being a crutch.  The easy "go to" place where we take our dogs maybe too much.  Today on the way home from the park I saw a woman walking down the street with her dog; he was all the way out at the end of her extension leash in full drag mode.  Of course he wasn't dragging her because when a dog is that far away from you the pull is much less........ahhhhh, the crutch.  This dog was pulling so hard that it was bent over forward and down; I would imagine it was horrible to walk this guy on a regular leash.  "The pulling doesn't bother me if he's on an extension," is what I hear often.  No need to train if you can just throw an extension leash on, right?  Wrong.

Extension leashes are not only dangerous but they also mask problems.  Dogs who are strong pulling dogs are encouraged to pull when using these; because the owner suffers no pressure.  Those who walk strong pulling dogs on them often use them for just this reason.  Walking their dog on a regular leash sucks; it is not enjoyable at all, so on goes the extension.  I really hate extension leashes in general; most people who use them do not have near enough control or common sense to be using them. The only time I ever want to see one is in an open field, with no others around; if and only if the person holding the extension can reel in fast as well.  Does the person know when to start reeling?  Not usually, so I pretty much hate them.

But as far as the extension leash being a crutch; take it off and give a regular leash a try.   Dog pulling?  Hate it?  Then work on walking nicely on leash.  Oh yes it can be a great deal of work; especially if your dog has been sled dogging for many years.  Teach a dog to walk on a loose leash is an effort but well worth it.  There are many harnesses made now that reduce a dog's ability to pull.  The Easy Walk Harness is one of those and my "go to" harness.

When dog's pull and are never offered another option then they just keep pulling.  Training is work, yes but it is work that will make spending time together more enjoyable.  Of course there will always be times when a dog wants to pull.  Fresh out of the gate Elsa has some major ya ya's; but we wait until she gets a grip before we move on.  Walking a dog that is pulling you down the street is not fun for anyone.  Just this morning an older gentleman passed us and asked "dogs taking you for a walk?"  I said "no, actually I am taking them for a walk,"  he smiled and continued on.