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Healthy Dogs

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Dog Walking 101

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ASPCA logoHey you, new pooch parent-yeah, you with the cute puppy who can’t stop pulling! Want some tricks to keep Trixie on task? Or perhaps you’re already an old pro but want to make your outdoor excursions more fun for both you and your dog.  Follow our insider tips and your pooch will be eager to get going as soon as you pick up the leash!

It’s the Leash You Can Do

What’s the best type of leash? “Use whatever you feel most comfortable holding,” recommends the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center’s Kristen Collins, CPDT.

  • Flexi-leads are best reserved for walks in the park, when it’s safe for a dog to explore a bit further away from her pet parent. They are NOT a good idea if you’re walking in an area with high foot or bicycle traffic or off-leash dogs, as the long line may get wrapped around your dog, a person’s leg or another dog.
  • Many people think chain leashes look nice, but they are much heavier than nylon or leather, and they can be very hard on the hands. Even so, they sometimes work well for dogs who like to tug or bite the leash. “Metal doesn’t feel nearly as nice in a dog’s mouth,” explains Collins.
  • Leather leashes are a good option because they are easiest on the hands.
  • Nylon leashes can cut into hands or give a pet parent “leash burn” if a dog pulls a lot or unexpectedly lunges forward. But they come in many stylish colors and designs, and they hold up well after repeated exposure to rain and snow.

Pull Over, Rover!

Constant pulling on the leash makes walks stressful for both of you. “It’s a common problem that can happen for a number of reasons,” says Collins.

  • If your dog darts after local wildlife, it may help to walk him when critters are less likely to be out and about; avoid dawn and dusk. You can also check out our article Dogs Who Are Reactive on Leash.
  • If the problem is simply pulling on leash due to natural canine enthusiasm for all the exciting signs and sounds you encounter on walks, you’ll find  help in our article Teaching Your Dog Not to Pull on Leash.
  • Try using a head halter to walk a dog who’s excitable on leash. “They provide power steering for dog parents!” says Collins. “The Gentle Leader® by Premier® Pet Products is my personal favorite.”
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