The most “liked” column I have written for Dogster was about why it is critical to observe leash laws. Nearly 20,000 of you clicked that button. The article struck a nerve because owners who flout these laws exist from coast to coast. Some of them angrily responded to my article, insisting they had every right to have an off-leash dog who runs amuck and molests (“he just wants to say hi!”) other dogs and humans. Many more of you wrote to tell me about the severe physical and psychological damage your dog has suffered because of a run-in with an off-leash dog.
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Cat leashes are used with the purpose of preventing the cat getting lost. Unlike dogs, cats rarely attack persons on the street, so cat leashes are mainly a safety measure to protect the pet itself. Very often the collars are replaced with harnesses, because they avoid the dangers of collars which include escaping and running away or choking. Cats are more likely to not be willing to be walked in a harness than dogs are, and are considered to need up to months to be able to adjust to wearing a harness.
When the head halter is used properly, it can be a safe and effective tool. Proper fitting should be associated with a reward such as his favorite treats and should only be done over a period of time as your pup remains relaxed. If you take the time to ensure the fitting is done right, your pup will better tolerate wearing the head halter, because it’s associated with a reward.
Since that article ran in June, three dogs who have graduated from my Growly Dog class have been attacked by off-leash dogs. My clients work hard to calm their dog’s anxiety when they see other dogs (which often stems from being attacked the very first time by a rude, off-leash dog!). We help these over-anxious dogs learn to trust their handler, and we rebuild their faith that they can walk safely in their own neighborhood. We make significant progress in keeping these dogs calm and focused on their owners instead of hyper-vigilantly scanning for dangers . . . such as an off-leash dog. In some of these cases, the unleashed dog owner was held responsible and now must pay fines in addition to medical bills; one of my clients ended up having an $8,000 hand surgery after breaking up a dog fight. I have enough stories like that to fill up a very long, pathetic book.

By simply teaching your dog good leash walking manners you will keep your puppy and yourself safe while you are out walking! Most people try to leash train their dogs on their own, and usually end up making the problem worse leaving both pup and owner frustrated and confused. Sometimes, the problem is that dog owners are relying on aversive training tools like Choke Chains and Prong Collars. Although these barbaric tools may work in short term, owners find out they have absolutely NO control without those collars!


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