SO, WHAT EXACTLY ARE HEAD COLLARS?

A head collar needs to be introduced with caution and patience
This head collar is also sometimes called a gentle leader

One of the options available to the pet parent of a dog that is reactive on leash is to use a head collar, also known as a gentle leader. But, be advised. This tool needs to be introduced with caution and patience so that Fido does not become fearful. 

Although I have not yet met a dog that likes being fitted with one and will show some degree of resistance, that resistance is soon short-lived because of the overwhelming desire to go walkies!

The loop fits over the snout and two straps snap together on the back of the neck. It needs to fit snugly but never too tight. A dog still needs to be able to open its mouth sufficiently to allow for panting. The ring for connecting the leash is located on the short strap that hangs down the center of the dog’s chest. 

Watch Out For Rolling Antics 

A lot of dogs act out on the walk and will roll around on the ground trying to get it off. As an extra precaution, I will also use a regular collar and leash just in case that happens. 

One of my dog clients is a GoldenDoodle, very sweet, very playful and very comical. He loves to roll on grass and he can run like the wind. So, here is an instance where I prefer to pre-empt an unfortunate situation and use both restraints simultaneously.

Gentle Correction With The Gentle Leader 

A dog’s nose is a very sensitive area so any correction must be done cautiously. Pulling hard on the leash and jerking must be avoided at all costs to prevent injury.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

ARE RETRACTIBLE LEASHES SAFE?

Two types of retractible leashes

This is definitely one of my major pet peeves.
Why?
Because they are misused, they can break, they may cause injury
and, 99% of the time, handlers are clueless of the risks involved when they are used to go walkies.

Misuse
Any leash that has a reach of around 30 feet is not meant to be used for regular dog walking and certainly not where there is traffic, however light. Nevertheless, a retractable leash can be a good tool for obedience training in a wide open space.

Breakage
The spring mechanism can malfunction; either not extend or not retract. If the thin cord or the flat nylon strip snaps, you have a dog on the loose and the leash can boomerang back to hit the person holding the plastic handle.

Injury
If any part of the leash gets wrapped around the human’s leg, it can cause burns or cuts. Also, the dog, as well as other dogs, may be at risk of injury if they become entangled.

Another harmful scenario is when the human suddenly stops the leash from extending, or when it is allowed to spool out totally and the moving canine is suddenly stopped in its tracks. Neck wounds and throat injuries as well as damage to the spine are frequently the result.

The 99 percent
In my experience, 99% of retractable leash dog walkers are clueless risk takers. Here are some examples to ponder.

  • A dog that has not be trained to walk correctly will pull because it knows it will always be given more leeway.
  • The plastic case is bulky, you bend over to pick up his business, you fumble, you drop the leash… it’s dragged along the ground and makes a noise which scares the dog as it runs faster to get away from the noise, traumatized.
  • You are distracted, you forget to click the spool tight, your dog sees a squirrel, your dog takes off…
  • You are still distracted, you are still talking on your phone, but this time your dog is walking 12 feet behind you, you have no idea what he’s up to.
  • Your dog is 6 feet ahead of you, turns the corner and comes face-to-face with an unfriendly canine, an altercation begins, you are unable to control your dog…

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!