One of these leads has either snapped or been chewed through. The other has definitely snapped as there’s no lead there any more!
Most of my regular clients know that I don’t like extending leads and won’t use them. If that’s all a dog owner has, we bring our own, it’s not a problem. I’ve recently read a couple of blogs where a dog trainer has done some research and compared them to guns (only in America!), and a blogger who works his terriers in the States also agrees they are dangerous.
My assistant once said “I know you don’t like them”, but that’s not the case. I believe them to be dangerous – as do the manufactuers who have a very, very long safety notice on the product. Possibly the smallest injury could be cuts to your fingers, if you grab the lead – you can’t reel the dog in without the dog’s co-operation as they have to relax the pressure. If they don’t, then you have to hold the lead to allow the mechanism to work. If the dog pulls at that time – cuts all over your fingers, which, like, paper cuts, may not be life-threatening or bleed, but are very, very painful! Finger amputation is apparently a real worry.
If you have a small dog and he pulls it out of your hands – if it retracts while he’s running and hits him in the back of the head it can cause a lot of damage, even death. If this is avoided, dogs have been known to be so scared by the noise of it dragging along behind them they’ve run away in panic, getting lost – if you’ve been walking your dog on the side of the road – he could run out into traffic (a danger when he’s on the lead as well). Dog have also been known to jump obstacles, that chunky handle getting stuck, the dog can’t reach the ground on the other side and slowly strangles.
I have also heard many stories of other dogs, or young children, running into the lead because it’s so fine they don’t spotting it and being injured.
If you use a flexi lead because your dog doesn’t have a recall, please contact a good trainer in your area who can work with you to improve that for you, join our Ready Steady Recall workshop, or sign up for our newsletter to get hints and tips delivered directly to your inbox.
- Rob said…
- I know it’s each to his own but I don’t like those leads, they just seem like an excuse not to train your dog properly.28 March 2011 22:07
- Linda Ward said…
- I hate the damn things. I’ve seen Greyhounds on them… 28 March 2011 22:16
- Kay9 Services said…
- I don’t like them for the following reasons:- I have a customer that lost an eye when it broke and longed back hitting her in the eye- one of my off lead dogs was almost garotted by one. Lady had her dog on one, the dogs were sniffing at each other. She pulled one way her dog the other and it was wrapped round my dogs neck! I had to pry it our of her hands to let it go so my dog could breath!- it teaches dogs to pull on the lead! They quickly also get used to tension on the collar and never learn to walk on a loose lead.28 March 2011 22:23
- Linda Ward said…
- This was posted on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/BoredomBustersPetCareServices):”one of the reasons Tali is so cautious of other dogs approaching her is due to an incident when she was a puppy & a dog was allowed (by his owner not me!) to rush over on his flexi lead & ‘make friends’ he wasn’t aggressive just totally out of control, the result was Tali & I became completely entangled in the flexi lead, Tali was absolutely terrified & I had to virtually pin the other dog down to untangle us all while the other owner did nothing!”28 March 2011 22:25
- Chris White said…
- As a professional dog walker I am not a fan of the retractable leads. Too many mechanics involved made of cheap plastic. If it breaks when the dog is already 20 feet away from you, then what? I like to walk a dog close, within 5 feet, safety and control are key.16 April 2011 16:26
Avoid walkers who take out multiple dogs at the same time. IMO they care more about the cash than the dog’s welfare.
I saw this comment on a message board, where someone was asking the legalities of a dog walker taking out their dog aggressive dog. For the legal side, Trevor Cooper is your main man, and that is not what I am here to discuss. For dogs who are aggressive to others, that is also not my main concern. I’d like to talk about walking more than one dog at a time.
I often get told ‘that’s a handful you’ve got there‘ when I’m walking a small group of dogs – my idea of a small group may be your idea of a large pack of dogs. I am insured to walk up to six dogs at a time, but rarely walk this many on my own. I prefer a ratio of one handler per four dogs, which some still feel is a large group.
Let me explain. I have seen owners who cannot control their ONE dog. It’s off the lead, running around ‘being friendly’ but really barging up to people and dogs alike, regardless of the welcome it might get. The owner calls it back, and it ignores the calls. Finally the owner comes over to get it, or they walk on, leaving the dog to rejoin them when the dog feels the owner is far enough away to want to close the gap (I call this the critical distance). I have also seen dogs straining and pulling on the lead as they want to come over to my group, while the owner has to drag them along to get them moving. Who really has the ‘handful’?
I posted the comment (protecting the writer’s identity) onto Twitter, here are some of the response I got, mainly from other dog walkers and dog trainers, so if you’re a dog owner I’d love to hear your views too!
I wouldn’t want multi-dogs for my dog. 1 person, 10 dogs. How does 1 person handle unexpected safely w/ 40 dog paws in mix? And the ones who unload a truckfull @ the off-leash park? Yeah. I think those are more profit, less welfare.Caninestein
Quite agree especially when they have a large pack off lead! Once saw 1 person with 11 dogs most off lead. WagtimeUK
Lots of people round here up 7-10 dogs stick em in a van drive to the park and open the doors and let them run. we do 1-2-1 unless the owner wants them walked with another dog never more than 4. hard to control and dogs don’t get enough attention. PlatinumPetcare
This really is a ridiculous amount of dogs for one person to be walking, and does seem like profit before welfare. How can you watch the dogs when you’re picking up the dog poo? How can you carry that many bags, all the leads and still be in control of the dogs? What happens if one dog puts their foot down a rabbit hole and sprains an ankle?
Totally disagree – I take a group out in which all dogs are vetted and introduced carefully. It allows owners to pick the time best for them (normally lunchtime) which means dogs are not left for too long either side. PoochesGalore
I still prefer 1 on 1 (w/ bonus of training while walking), but might consider skillful walker with, maybe 4 max. Caninestein
I think it depends on the walker and what dogs they have. When I walk big dogs that pull I only walk 1 or 2, but if I have dogs that are well behaved & don’t pull & have good recall then I walk 3 or 4. Depends on what owners want as well. Born2RunPetCare
Our walker takes our 2 out with max 2 others – have no prob. with that – would worry about many more… ttouchtrainer
When they say “multiple” what kind of numbers are they talking about? I only take 4-5.insured for 6 but feel safe with max 5. misstew
This last one is the point I feel – how many dogs is safe to walk, what is considered ‘multiple’? I felt defensive when I saw the comment on the message board, as the dogs I walk are all trained in recall, they all know what No means, and if I say ‘Wait’ they stop walking. Equally, if I stop walking to collect a dog poo, so do all the dogs! Some dogs are less speedy at obeying than others, but if they are having a mad five minutes, there’s always the lead. Making sure there are only 4 dogs or less per person means it’s a reasonable number to walk on leads together. But it appears there are still dog walkers out there who feel that 10 is a good number to walk – I once saw two walkers taking 13 dogs out… On a Wednesday I have 8 dogs on my lunchtime walk – my assistant takes 4, and I take 4! Occasionally we will walk them all together, but Will takes 2 or 3 on lead, and be ready to jump in with another, while I’m supervising and playing with the other dogs.
Also it should be remembered that most dog walkers are experienced in walking multiple dogs, so they don’t wander along with phone in hand, MP3 player stuck in ears, or chatting with friends as I’ve seen so many owners with their ONE dog doing – the dog gets no interaction from the owner so has to make its own amusement.
My one exception to my 1-4 rule is when I have one or more of my dogs with me. They not only have an instant, emergency recall, but a ‘walking recall’ which means when called back they stay with me until released. This means I can safely ‘ignore’ them, because once called back I know they’ll stay and I can concentrate on any slower dogs.
The general consensus seems to be that very small groups, of 4 or less, is a number the walker can safely deal with, and still be in control. So when you see a walker with more dogs than this, think to yourself, what is their motivation? It is true this is not only a vocation for some of us, but it also has to pay the rent. That’s not to say money comes first, but we have to make a living, while ensuring the safety and welfare of each of the dogs in our care. Four seems to be a reasonable number to allow both of these things to happen, while keeping fees affordable for all the lovely dog owners out there. The alternative, thousands of dogs left alone for 8 or 9 hours a day, is just too sad.
Crazy isn’t it? Good dog walkers are worth their weight in gold!! WagtimeUK
Related blog posts:
- Multiple Dog Handling
- The Shocking Truth About Exercise
- Choosing Compatible Groups
- Instant Triple Recall
- How do you get your dog to do that?
- How to find a GREAT dog walker
This post has been copied over from my previous blog. Here are the comments that were posted there:
Very good, Linda. When I was a dog walker I was strict and walked up to 4 dogs whom as all very well behaved. Also made a point of interacting with everyone one of them constantly interacting you see so many dig walkers who walk so many and just ignore them, I know if one who just parks her car then all 7/8 jump out the boot and sits on the bench having a cig whilst they all just sit around her bored …and this is for max 20minutes swell!! Makes me sooo cross!
Anyway rant over! Good blog I’ll share it
Louisa (auntielou)…you may know me as auntieloutweets on twitter!
It really is dependent on the dogs and the person and you are right that many people can’t really manage one! Certainly hard to dictate under five or six dogs but when it gets up to double figures I guess most of us would agree that is too much for any one person to have out in public!
I think there are some dog walkers who give others a bad name – one near me I saw in the park with a group of about 6 all running riot including one dog tied by a lead to another dog’s harness! I kid you not. Some people should not be in charge of any dogs!
But I also know several excellent walkers who I would be very happy to walk my guys. They tend to walk around 4 dogs or maybe one or two more if they are walking their own as well. The dogs are kept from bothering other people and have a ball.
Think it is really up to dog owners to find out and make sure they are happy with how their dogs are being looked after!
it amazing that people want to be dog walkers and it makes you think does this walker like dogs or is it just for money I think there is a fine line there, we all need money and seems to me that most of the walkers don’t care about dogs I think its so bad that people use owners for money and walking there dogs because it is obvious that they cant walk them ,so have to pay I am in the dog walking business, but also a carer for humans and I treat people with respect so that’s why I give my whole attention to one client one dog owner or if they have more than one dog I will walk them and go out of my way to help people that cant walk there dogs, its a shame that people use the inflicted for money
Linda Ward said…
Thanks for all the comments. I’m not sure what Walkies-now is trying to say, do you mean anyone who walks more than one dog at once is just abusing people for money?
How do you tell the great from the mediocre? How can you make sure the person you find will work day in, day out, no matter what the weather and really care for your dog the way you do?
Finding a dog walker is easy. Check any online free ad site or pet directory and there will be plenty there, or ask your friends and family. A visit to your vet or local pet shop as well should mean you now have a list of dog walkers who cover your area
My top ten of things to look out for should make your life easier and your dog’s life more fulfilling.
- Love – do they love dogs? Will they kneel in the mud to check a sore paw? Will they not mind too much if their leg is mistaken for a lamppost? Great dog walkers do the job because they enjoy spending time with dogs and can’t help falling in love with each of them.
- ‘Can do’ attitude – dog walkers are there to make your life easier, to help you take care of your best friend, so you need someone who will work hard to make it happen for you. Need to change something? Dog not well and you want an update, a bandage rewrapped or medication given? You want to hear ‘yes’ and know it’s taken care of. If they really can’t help this time, you need to know that too.
- Safety & security– your walker should know how many dogs they can safely handle, both walking and in a vehicle. Is your key kept safe and your house locked up securely each time? For multiple pickups the van should be secured each and every time it is left.
- Paperwork – there is no national regulation for dog walkers but a great dog walker will be insured, as well as registered as a proper business or self-employment. If they take dogs in overnight and charge a fee they need a boarding licence. If they tell you they don’t, check with the licensing department of your local council, and if their insurance company covers them without a licence.
- Knowledge – A great dog walker will have great local knowledge. They’ll know all the great places to walk your dog and what bylaws or dog control orders may be in force (and obey them) , and will hold a Canine First Aid certificate. If your breed of dog is new to them, they’ll want to read up on it to do the best for your dog.
- Experience – everybody has to start somewhere, but have they ever owned a dog? A great dog walker will start small and build up as they gain experience. If their own dog never listens to them how will they manage your dog? A great dog walker will live with great dogs.
- Understanding – you are only human and might sometimes forget to book or cancel on time. Sometimes you need someone to talk to about your dog, or have what you might fear is a silly question. A great dog walker won’t mind if you text at 10pm because you’re worried about your dog and don’t know who else to turn to.
- Focus – are they concentrating on and committed to the dogs in their care, or doing something else such as chatting on the phone? Is this something they do for a living, or are they waiting for something better to come along? A great dog walker will see their work as a vocation.
- Value for money – are they offering a deal that seems too good to be true? They may be cutting corners or trying to undercut other walkers. A dog walker who is too cheap may walk lots of dogs at once, cut walks short, or give up unexpectedly when something better comes their way. Equally if they are charging a great deal more than other local dogs walkers, do they really offer a superior service, or are they more interested in the money?
- Reliability – Do they turn up when they say they will, and walk for as long as you expect? Do they give plenty of notice of time off? Does their vehicle break down on a regular basis? A great dog walker will maintain their vehicle well, and not use it as an excuse for a day off.
Every dog walker will have their own style, and only you can decide what is most important to you and your dog. These are the things I’ve found most useful to my customers over the years, so go now and find your great dog walker!
Dogs should never be left in a car on a hot day – even in the shade or with windows open. If you are taking the dog on a car journey try to avoid travelling during the hottest part of the day. Ensure the dog is not in direct sunlight, and take plenty of water. On long trips, stop frequently, they should be drinking little and often, not gulping large quantities. If you have to leave the car for a comfort break, you should consider whether to take your dog if you don’t have a companion to leave with them. Dogs cool down by panting, which fills the air with moisture. In a hot car they can’t evaporate enough water quickly enough to cool down, plus the air can only hold so much moisture. Even with a boot or window open if there’s no breeze it could still get too hot for your dog. Never allow your dog to hang their head out of the window when driving.
Dogs shouldn’t be walked during the hottest part of the day, morning and evening are preferable. I find shady areas to walk your dogs, avoiding hot pavements which may burn their paws, and I always carry water. Dogs benefit most from little and often, so we do lots of pit stops and we do not walk as far as on cooler days.
During the day at home, most double glazing can be locked in the ‘ajar’ position to allow for fresh air and to catch any breeze if you are unable to leave windows open, or try moving the dogs to another area if necessary. Conservatories get VERY HOT, even ‘open plan’ with a conventional room the heat travels and can be stiffling. Blinds are essential, but won’t stop all the heat. A fan may be needed. A plastic bottle of tap water can be frozen, wrapped in a tea towel and left for your dog to lie against if they wish to, you can also do this for rabbits.
Open windows on the top floor can be hazardous to cats – they often land on their feet, but this can be followed by their jaws and teeth, which may then need medical attention.
Pets must be able to move out of a hot environment into a cooler one, so leave doors open in the house if necessary – bathrooms and kitchens can be a popular choice for pets, as the floor is often much cooler for them to lie on.
Try taking the dogs to ponds and pools to allow them to swim or paddle on very hot days. If they aren’t sure of the water, let them paddle in the shallows and gain some confidence. Seeing other dogs having fun can help, as can dropping a few treats around the edge, or maybe a floating toy if your dog loves toys. Once your dog gains in confidence you can put the toys in a little further so your dog has to move forwards. Some dogs look very surprised when they realise they can swim! So don’t push your dog too far, too fast.
Short-nosed, black and long-haired breeds can suffer more from the heat. If they overheat, soaking them in cool (not cold) water and rubbing it right down to the skin is more beneficial than covering them with a wet towel. Don’t forget underneath as well, the groin and ‘armpit’ area, as this is where most cooling will occur.
White dogs, cats and rabbits (or with white patches in sensitive areas), can get sunburn on ears, nose and around the eyes. Pet sunscreen is very rare, and hard to get hold of (products may be different for different species), so speak to your vet to see if they recommend a sunscreen – check with your insurance company that they will be covered if they have a reaction or lick it off. If your pet sunbathes on its back the stomach is at risk of burning, so keep them in the shade. Avoiding the sun is preferable.
Watch out for ticks while walking in long grass or meadows especially if there are horses or livestock nearby. These can be removed with a special ‘tick tweezer’. Avoid smothering or burning the tick as this can cause it to release saliva or stomach contents, raising the risk of infection Remove them as soon as possible as disease transmission risk increases the longer they are attached. Grass seeds can be a real hazard as if they find a small wound, graze, or even thin skin they can work their way inside your dog, so check paws, eyes and ears if they seem irritated, a vet visit may be needed to remove them.
Bee stings – remove the sting by scraping it with a hard object, avoid using tweezers as this can lead to more poison entering your pet. Bathe with bicarbonate of soda and water, also an ice pack can relieve pain. Wasp stings – bathe the area with vinegar. There will be some swelling, if this is excessive, or inside or around your dog’s mouth a vet check may be needed as pets can be allergic to stings in the same way humans can, and swelling can block the airway.
Adders are shy and will try to keep out of our way, but if disturbed, can bite. Although in humans this is rarely fatal, in dogs getting them to a vet immediately is essential. If your dog yelps or cries out and you can’t see what happened, check his head, face and front legs and paws for a pair of puncture marks – they may be red and begining to swell. These are the most usual places for bites, if you can see nothing, check the rest of your dog. If you find these marks phone your vet first, so they can prepare for a suspected bite while you travel.
Tips from other pet owners:
@boredombusters I’ve been known to put a soaking wet towel down for Honey to lie on our roll on to cool her off.
— Helen Bannan (@4by2training) July 24, 2012