Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tips for dog walkers

My friend Judy laughed when I asked her to pose for photos that show how to hold a leash. “How simple is that? Who needs a photo?” Well, maybe nobody, but just in case…

Back when I was learning to train dogs professionally, I quickly realized that many dogs are stronger than me, that they see things to chase before I do, and that they can easily rip a leash right out of my hand in an instant. So I figured out how to better hang on and lessen the risk of a nasty accident.

First, stick your hand through the loop at the end of the leash. I want to add here that leather leashes are much softer and don’t burn your hands when a dog pulls.


Grasp the leash itself with your hand while it is still through the loop. Poor Tyson wants to know why he's on a leash if we don't get to go anywhere...

Now you have a good grip on the situation. The only risk is being pulled off your feet if the dog suddenly takes off. I recommend you pay careful attention if your canine client is likely to pull this stunt. You probably need more help than a good hold on the leash will provide.

No pull harnesses
My recent trip to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers annual conference here in San Diego introduced me to a multitude of so-called “no-pull” harnesses for dogs. I can see where these products would be handy for a pet sitter. After all, we are not being paid to train the client’s dogs.

Some of my clients provide a no-pull harness for their wannabe sled dogs. I’ve learned that every harness is different, and it takes a puzzle master to put most of them on correctly. Most still allow the dog to pull, he just doesn’t crush his trachea during the process.

If you’re going to be walking a dog every day, it is worth taking the time to teach the dog to walk properly on a leash, even if the owner hasn’t mastered this skill. It’s not easy to teach, and some dogs pull all their lives.

Next time…
It ain’t easy, but we’ll talk about how to teach a dog this vital skill.

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© 2011 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

12 comments:

Gail said...

Hi Terry

Just found your blog - as a dog fanatic myself, also a walker and trainer I'm interested in what others have to say. Totally agree with the leash holding comments!! I've seen people with waist belt attachments - hate to think what it would do to your back if the dog took off!!

small business loans said...

This post is awesome..i've been reading tons of crap posts from other blogs, but shows you have a more educated reader base.

Paragon Transport Blog said...

Great blog, it took forever to get our yorkie terrior mix to walk right on a leash.

Smith said...

Thanks for sharing useful tips..If your dog is currently suffering from arthritis, then it might be a good idea to keep your best friend is an orthopedic dog bed. These dog beds are highly specialized and often use memory foam

Jen McCleve said...

Those are some really great tips for dog walking. I think that I would love to be a pet sitter sometime. It must be such a fulfilling job.

Matthew Scott said...

I own a pet sitting company and have a hard time with dogs pulling on leashes :( I refuse to use the choke collars.

Mid-Day Play Pet Sitting said...

As a pet sitting business I found that this was an insightful and well thought out article, thanks.

John said...

If only the owners who walk their own dogs knew how to hold a leash there would be a lot less issues.

-John at Pet Sitters' Pal

sandyvern said...

As a pet sitter with lots of experience in the horse world this article makes me a little nervous since with horses one of the first things I ever learned about horses was to never wrap a lead rope around your hand because if the horse decides to leave...he is going to take your hand with him! And yes, there are big differences between dogs and horses...but there are a lot of big dogs out there that have a lot of strength behind them if they are deciding to take off with you. I have seen people literally get dragged off their feet and couldn't get their hand out of the loop. Be careful!!!

Terry Albert said...

I agree- in fact I posted a blog about how to handle a lead rope with a horse.

You're right- if you're attached to a big strong dog, they are very capable of pulling you off your feet.!

Nancy Jorden said...

This has been a great blog. I have been trying to find a good kennel for my dog. I love your advice too. Thanks so much for sharing.

Bob Strong said...

Thank you for the tips of handling your dog while on a walk. My pooch loves to run at the sight of anything. He has tried to chase leaves that were falling. I'm going to try out this new grip to see if it will keep him from escaping me. http://www.cottagekennels.com.au