Leashes. Sounds like a simple piece of equipment, right? There is a lot to be said about leashes. They come in many lengths, styles, colors, patterns, and materials. Some are made from natural material, others from man-made materials. You can get plain, studded or ones with rhinestones for your glamour dog. The main thing is that you want it to feel comfortable in your hand, not break, keep your dog close and, most importantly, keep your dog safe.
A dog trainer I know once mentioned that the retractable lead teaches your dogs to pull because, by pulling on the lead, it can explore further away from you. Many professional dog walkers like us do not use retractable leashes. Through experience we have learned the hazards. I had one break when walking an Italian Greyhound (an Iggy). This happened on a heavily traveled road in Squirrel Hill. Have you seen how fast an Iggy can run? This is not good when combined with lots of cars. That was when I learned never again. The leash was not faulty. She just got spooked by something, and she took off, and it broke. I was walking her brother as well, so I was not able to chase after her fast enough. I contacted the owner immediately. It was a sickening feeling throughout an endless hour of horrible scenarios going through my mind until someone caught the dog and called the home. The owner got the message and called me so I could retrieve their dog. I never want to experience that dread again.
I also have endured horrible leash burns on the back of my leg from a nylon rope leash attached to a Great Dane and a Borzoi (Russian wolf hound) – two big strong dogs. We were walking along on the sidewalk on a beautiful Summer day enjoying being outside when an aggressive dog came flying out of a house through a screen door (with no screen in it) at the dogs. Chaos ensued with dogs flying all around me trying to attack each other. I know to yell loudly when this happens. It can startle the dogs out of attack mode. With three of them in the fracas, it didn't help. Luckily the owner heard the commotion and ran out to get his dog. Neither dog I care for got injured, and the other dog only got one small nip on his lip. I was the one that got hurt, and it was from the rope leash being pulled and scraped across the back of my leg. Check out this article by Consumer Reports.
Yes, injuries can be caused by any leash, but through discussions with several dog trainers and other pet sitters, these are less likely to occur with a good standard soft leather leash or a cotton mesh leash. A nylon leash can cause serious burns and other damage to your hand if it gets pulled through your hand or fingers by a fast moving dog.
I like using a tandem leash when walking two dogs. I feel that it gives me more control without the dogs getting tangled around each other or me. This means less chance of me tripping over leashes and the dogs getting loose.
For tips on walking with your dog, watch for our previous post Dog Walking Safety Tips.