FINALLY it's light outside after 5pm!!!! FINALLY we can be outside with our dogs after work!!! It is about dang time, and you know what you need if you're going to be outside with your furry - a good leash! I daresay no one sees more of them on a daily basis than people at a pet resort. Between our two locations we see over 150 dogs (and leashes) per day, so we definitely have a few opinions about them! We've picked out a few of our faves (and one to run away from) to help you make the most of springtime with your pup!
1. the SLIP LEAD (this is the one you see our staff wearing like an Indiana Jones satchel every day) // I got my start in all things Dog through rescue, and every rescuer everywhere had one of these things stashed in her car. I learned that this was because many newly rescued dogs are considered "flight risks" (meaning they may decide they want to get as far away from you as possible for no apparent reason and will stop at nothing to do so), and the beauty of the slip lead is that the more a dog pulls away from you, the more it tightens, preventing the accidental slipping out of a collar and escaping. I love that built in safety feature, but what I love more is their ease of use - they're called slip leads because they literally just slip over the dog's head and you're on your way. My dogs are psycho and clipping a leash hook onto a collar ring is an impossible task, so this works really well! We use them in daycare for this reason too - if we need to get control of a dog quickly, this is a safe, gentle way to do so. One thing to note - the leash should be positioned high on the dog's neck toward the ears to avoid coughing choking if he pulls. Our favorites are made by Mendota. They're made with tough leather and rope so they're super durable. I'm still using my original from before HH even opened!
2. the HARNESS LEAD (this is the newfangled thing everyone is talking about) // Can I just say that it takes a LOT to climb to the top of the Favorites list among the HH humans, and this one has done it. The Chicken Crack lady bought one at a fancy dog boutique in Kansas City and came back raving about it, so we had to order a few to check it out. What's so fantastic about this leash is that it offers the safety of a Slip Lead without the risk of putting pressure on the dog's neck and throat. This is particularly desirable for brachycephalic dogs (smushed face) like pugs, boxers, boston terriers, bulldogs, and the like. Additionally this is your harness and leash in ONE piece so there's not a bunch of buckles and junk to finagle keep up with. If your dog is a puller, this tightens as they pull but it tightens across a broader area including the chest and shoulders. We are getting insanely good feedback on them!
3. the REGULAR LEASH (this is an oldie but goodie) // One could do a LOT worse than a regular ol' farm store snap leash. They're easy on the budget but still durable and you can find them everywhere and you can get them in all sorts of lengths. The only word of caution here is to make double sure your dog's collar is tight enough where they can't slip out of it. If you're walking down the street together and your dog becomes spooked, you'd be shocked at what they can slip out of. If you can fit three fingers under the collar (and no more) you're good.
4. the RETRACTABLE LEASH (this is the one we don't love) // The allure of this leash is totally understandable. It promises controlled freedom, allowing your dog to wander up to 30 feet away while still being tethered to the plastic box handle thing. In the right setting and with the right handler, I think I could be okay with them. That said, in an environment where parent control is necessary (like the lobby of your doggie daycare or arriving at the dog park), they really can become almost dangerous. The thin little fabric rope gets tangled around mom's legs, other dogs' legs, gates, purses, you name it, sometimes even causing rope burns and always causing havoc. My main concern with them, though, is what happens if the leash gets yanked out of your hand. Then you have a dog running off with a loud, plastic thing banging down the street behind them, potentially scaring them even more than whatever might have spooked them to begin with. If you love your retractable, great! Take it to the park or other place where it's appropriate for dogs to wander - just leave it at home when taking him into a controlled space like the vet's office, daycare, or events.
OF NOTE...If you're doing double duty with more than one dog, check out something called a Coupler. It's a simple splitter that allows you to walk both your dogs with just one basic leash and prevents tangling. My SisterBeagles use one and it's a lifesaver and can be used with harnesses, regular collars, and martingale collars!
I hope you and your furries enjoy this sunshine together and have a happy, walk-filled Spring! -- Lacey