A 6 ft. nylon leash may not seem like much, but it can be a life saver.
This is why Feet & Paws is happy to announce the launching
This is why Feet & Paws is happy to announce the launching
Help save lives by encouraging the use and sharing the importance of walking dogs on leash (and holding on to it) with dog owners.
Educate dog owners on how to properly hold a leash, fit a collar, and attain good walking manners from their dog, like loose leash walking and heel.
Provide a polite avenue for dog on leash supporters to share the importance of using a leash with off leash dog walking neighbors, friends, and family*.
*I know from personal experience that this educational avenue has helped me start constructive conversations instead of heated discussions that leave both parties frustrated.
It was a small subdivision in a small suburb in Illinois. There were no sidewalks but a lot of dirty gutters, forests, and “treats” left by the gaggle of geese. There was also the occasional car zooming through the curvy streets.
This is why when I moved to Los Angeles in 2005, I thought it was strange that a large number of people thought it unnecessary to leash their dogs. Now immersed in a sprawling metropolis where the local parks are surrounded by busy streets on all sides, I was confused when owners would allow their pets to roam free. I asked myself, “Why?”
This question became even more personal when I adopted my dog, Berlin. As we were getting used to each other, me unaware of her tolerance of/interest in other dogs, and her unsure of who I was in her life, we were constantly berated by other people’s dogs.
When my disgust began verbalizing itself with statements like,“Your dog needs to be on leash”, I often heard, “Well he listens to me. He’s a good dog.” Well than why is he following us into the street?
If it is a matter of giving your dog freedom, I feel that training is simply being ignored. Most likely, the dog off leash does not know how to loose leash walk or heel, making an on leash walk a miserable experience. After all, isn’t it just easier to avoid the pulling and naively think, “Nothing bad will happen to my dog”?
Maybe the owner does not want to limit the dog’s areas of exploration. But what if, across the street, there is the prize that excites your dog? It could be another dog, a cat, or the most tempting of all, a squirrel. As your dog runs carelessly across the street, your neighbor is driving down the street.
This is not to say that getting hit by a car is the only hazard of walking your dog off leash, thought lets be honest, it should be enough of a risk to cause you to use a leash every time you take your dog out. That said, there are endless additional downsides: Eating toxic things, approaching unfriendly dogs, walking through broken glass, etc. To me there is not one advantage to walking your dog on leash that outweighs any of these disadvantages.
I looked out to the street to see a big, black SUV in front of my neighbor’s small white dog, Bella. Without much thought, I grabbed my Dog First Aid book and ran downstairs.
We saw Bella and her mom walking almost every day for a year. Bella was never on leash and I don’t think her mom even carried one. I politely mentioned the importance of using a leash once. The conversation was friendly but her mom and I weren’t going to see eye to eye in that moment.
Bella’s mom had already moved her to the sidewalk. Bella was not responsive but I tried to perform CPR. It was unclear where she was hit so for the most part I tried to breath for her, not wanting to further inflict any pain on her internal injuries.
After placing Bella on a wooden cutting board, we drove to the closest vet. The doctor was not in yet and the closest emergency vet at least 20 minutes away. I left Bella with her mom and her friends to say their goodbyes.
Simply put, Bella was a beautiful happy girl who’s life could have been spared with the use of a simple piece of nylon. RIP Bella. You will live on through my warnings to anyone that will listen.
The first step to learn how to comfortably walk your dog on leash is learning how to correctly hold onto your dog’s leash while using a properly fitted collar.
Hidden driveways, broken glass or even rusty nails could be ahead. Give yourself the chance to see these dangers and get your dog out of harms way. A standard 6 ft. nylon or leather leash is best. A retractable leash is better than not using a leash at all…but not by much.
Dogs thrive on structure. Using a leash helps provide this while also strengthening your bond. Love, respect & patience travels back and forth, end to end
Who’s walking who? Invest in your dog and take the time to teach them loose-leash walking. They can still explore at the length of the leash but without pulling you. Worried about the collar around their neck? Try a harness.
The person your dog is eagerly walking to might be terribly afraid of dogs! They could even walk, run or jump into harms way to get away from your well-intentioned canine.. who is free to chase them until you catch up!
Not all injuries and ailments require a cast. A dog might be out getting fresh air with its owner while recovering from an infection or spreading her aging limbs, and not up for playtime with your pup.
Fear leads to irrational behavior. A fearful dog can hurt your advancing dog in self-defense. Think of a bee who protects itself by stinging you.
There is no doubt your dog loves you..but (s)he really wants to chase that squirrel (or cat) across the street, around the corner, out of sight and into harms way (impounded at shelter,dog-napped, reason #1, etc).
Your dog could be well into a grassy snack before you are there to see a mulch/fertilizer treatment sign. Most have poisonous insecticides that could cause a fatal infection.
You’re dog might be friendly but that doesn’t mean all other dogs are and that those dogs wouldn’t’ start a fight with your dog out of feeling protective, possessive, territorial or predatorial.
So, just because your sweet, unleashed dog wants to say, “Hi”, to everyone, be their advocate and a good dog owner by always keeping your dog on leash.
After all, it only takes one bad encounter for you and your dog to get hurt, perhaps even fatally.
They are NOT looking for your dog. Your dog is NOT looking for them (see #4). Keep your dog close, leashed and lit (at night) and not one of the estimated 1 Million dogs hit each year*.
*Data on this subject is not regularly collected. Information is taken from a study done by 25 New England schools and extrapolated (http://www.thepetstech.com).
Receive handy dog and fitness training tips, read fun and inspirational stories, learn of my next classes and hikes and more right to your inbox.