Let's go for a walk

Walking the dog. What comes to your mind when you read that? A peaceful walk in the park with your companion happily strolling next to you? Being pulled mercilessly along the sidewalk trying to avoid losing your balance and being dragged on the pavement? A yo-yo trick that wows the crowd (that I could never master)?
Hopefully it's the foremost scenario mentioned. Like any good thing, it takes a little work to achieve. But, trust me, it's worth the effort up front for a doggie lifetime of great walks. In other words, it could arguably be the best investment you make with your pup.
Ultimately, a trainer/obedience classes, videos on YouTube, clicker training, and practice will get you and your dog walking peacefully and in sync. But a few products may help speed up the process.

There are many types of leashes available for your walk and even more types of collars. The ultimate goal is not to need either of those, but I know Biggie and I have a ways to go before walking off-leash is a reality.

Anyhow, based on what I've read and been instructed I would recommend a 4, 5, or 6 foot leash with a comfortable hand grip. This leash seems to be the favorite on amazon (and good for the environment). We also have a retractable leash for times Biggie needs room to run (but read the cautions below) and recently got the buddy system leash (which we love)

for jogging with Biggie.

4-6 foot Leash. Pros and cons. The pros far outweigh the cons with these leashes. Really the only con is that your dog is limited to a 6 foot radius if and when you are willing to let him/her explore. But other than that they are ideal for the every day walk and potty time scenarios. You want a comfortable hand grip for you. You can get a 29 cent leash to an expensive designed leash and they all serve the same practical function. The best I found on amazon is this Planet Dog natural hemp leash.

Retractable leash pros and cons. I really like the retractable leash but it has some major flaws to keep in consideration. It is great to allow Biggie extra room to roam if we are hiking, doing longer distance obedience training, even for potty time to give Biggie more options on where to go. Here's a great picture of Biggie braving rapids while I stay on the river bank.
The black you see on the leash is this handy leash accessory bag
The major con is that it can be dangerous. Yes. Dangerous. The medium and smaller dog leashes are rope (the large has a tape leash). Imagine 20 plus feet of thin rope with an active dog on one end and, on the other, a spring loaded coil. A warning notice that came with the leash warns of anything from rope burn to rope cuts to broken fingers to lost fingers and you get the picture. Unfortunately my wife was subject to a nasty cut/rope burn on her hand so be careful. Another big con to the retractable leash is that it is is easy to let the dog have control over the walk. Since there is more room for him/her to explore they don't learn that they need to walk closely and behind you (acknowledging you as pack leader). So behavior issues can stem from and/or be exacerbated if you don't teach your dog the correct way to walk on a leash.

The Buddy System leash is great for running, jogging, or any other activity requiring hands free leash control. One thing to keep in mind is that you have less control over the leash if it isn't in your hands so make sure to teach your dog how to walk on leash before using this. Other than that, we have yet to find any cons to this. Both my wife & I jog and felt an imbalance/awkwardness when having to hold a leash in one hand. It restricted our natural arm movement and running form. So, this leash came to the rescue and does exactly what it is supposed to.

I go into collars in this post.


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