The Retractable Leash

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Last week I was sitting at my favorite food truck pod with my sweet Pup Link. People came and went with their dogs, sometimes coming over to say hello to my Pup. Each dog calmly came over to get and give a brief sniff and then they trotted away with their human. After about five dogs stopping to say hello, in walks a beefy pitbull. He was large and had a big smile on his face, scanning the area for dogs. He saw Link and immediately began walking toward us. Behind him was a small woman, gripping his retractable leash with both hands and being dragged across the gravel as if she was wearing roller skates. She grasped the handle of the leash and held her thumb tight against the leash lock, her other hand was wrapped up in the thin cord, turning white from the lack of blood flowing to it. She kept shouting, “Stop! Heel! Stop!” but the dog continued to drag her toward me. I stood up and asked, “Does he want to say hi?” The woman’s face filled with relief and she allowed her hands a break and let her dog have some extra leash to say hello. The dog calmed and they began to walk away, but then another dog popped into view and the woman was being dragged off again, this time she dropped the large plastic handle and it hit the ground, shattering into pieces and retracting itself all the way back to the dog, who began fleeing in terror into the parking lot, the broken plastic handle clattering behind him.

This is honestly not the first time I have seen this happen. Retractable leashes were  invented in order to provide control over the dog while allowing it more room to roam, but instead they tend to provide little control and absolutely no guidance. Your dog is able to walk about 20ft ahead of you, sniffing and eating whatever they find, wrapping around trees or poles, and hopping into the street in front of an oncoming bicyclist if they so desire. The inventor of the retractable leash has said, “It is usually desirable that the dog should have a certain freedom in running about, but it is difficult to prevent the animal from running on the wrong side of lamp posts or pedestrians, thus causing much annoyance to the owner, who is constantly required to adjust the length of the leash in her hand, and frequently the leash is dropped and the dog permitted to run away. The objects of the present invention are to obviate and overcome all these difficulties and annoyances due to the usual form of leash, and prevent the leash from becoming tangled as the dog runs about.” This directly translates to: “I hate dealing with my dog and just want to zone out while I walk him.” Her description is odd, considering the retractable leash allows more room to run about and go on the wrong side of posts and people, and you are CONSTANTLY adjusting the length of the leash. It is also very easy to drop, and even easier to break! 

The truth is, people only use these leashes because it is comfortable for them to hold. If you remove the large plastic handle you would be left with a thin cord that would slice into your hands, similar to walking a dog on a fishing line, and nobody wants that.

I always recommend a 6ft nylon leash. You can shorten it as much as you’d like, and no dog needs to be more than 6ft from you while on a leashed walk. You can drop it without the fear of it breaking or retracting after your dog. You can adjust your grip and hold the leash in a variety of ways depending on how you and your dog walk together. And the best part is, you are in control. Even if your dog is a puller, a flat leash provides the most control and support. I prefer the simple slip lead that tightens when the dog pulls, which usually prevents the dog from doing so. But every dog is an individual and needs what’s best for them AND you. Try out a few options to see what’s best for both of you, but leave that retractable leash on the shelf!

 

*When researching retractable leashes I discovered that there are A LOT of injuries to both humans and animals when using one of these leashes. I know when the handle is dropped it could retract and injure the dog, but I had no idea how many issues this leash actually had with injuries. They’re even illegal in some areas because of the amount of injuries! Here is a link to the Animal Hospital of North Asheville, if you’d like to read about the potential injuries causes by retractable leashes. Whatever you do, don’t Google Image search it!

I borrowed the image fromDogTime.com, which also has an informative article about retractable leashes 🙂

Fur Coat Being Bogged Down by Snowballs?

Winter finally arrived in Central Oregon and there are a lot of Pups that are new to the snow and are unsure of how to react to it!

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Yes, snow is fun. Most of us turn into little puppies when winter hits. But what happens when our fluffy side kick pops out of the frozen ground and is covered in tiny snowballs? You can pick them out with your fingers, but after a couple minutes of this activity your fingers go numb and your efforts are fruitless. If you ignore them until later they can twist further into the fur and cause painful dreadlocks.

How can you eliminate these snowballs? And more importantly how can you prevent them from ever appearing in your dog’s fluff? Here on a few tips I know of…

Snowballs can be avoided by:

  • Trimming your Pup’s fluff– trimming down their toe hair so they are more tame or even bare knuckled is an easy way to avoid snow clumps. This of course causes your Pup’s toes to be more exposed to the cold, so be careful on certain breeds and on those that rarely spend time in the cold. Some dog coats are not meant to be shaved so make sure you speak to a professional first!
  • Boots are another great way to keep paws safe from frost. I have yet to meet a dog that enjoys wearing shoes, but if you can get your Pup to use them it’s an awesome way to keep their paws and paw pads protected! I have found the best way to get my Pup excited about stuff is to wrap it like a gift! I wrapped up his boots and got very excited about them, using my best Minnie Mouse voice. I let him open them and sniff them and then gave him treats while I put on his new boots. He walked around like a baby deer stuck in tar, but then I took him outside and we played a game of soccer and he was forced to adjust to them! It’s still difficult to convince him to wear them on hikes, but treats and reassurance help him to forget about them! Ruffwear makes a lot of different kinds, so you can find the best fit for your Pup!
  • The best kept secret to avoid snow balls is… Musher’s Secret! It’s a protective wax you apply to your Pup’s pads and fur and it helps prevent snow and ice from attaching to them! You can find it at your local pet store, or on the World Wide Web!

You can remove snowballs by:

  • Brushing them out! I find slicker brushes are the best to use on snowballs. Make sure to get to the skin, as some snowballs can twist themselves up into the fur.
  • Rinsing in warm water! Make sure the water isn’t too warm, but warm enough to melt the snow. You should still brush the fur after rinsing, just in case some stubborn snow is hiding.

If you have any tips on how to remove snow and protect those precious potatoes, or know of any good dog boots let me know!

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The Off-Leash Epidemic

Oh Bend, the most amazing Dog Town this side of the Mississippi. How I love your glorious dog parks, your extensive hiking trails, and all your refreshing swimming holes. And apparently, so does everyone else and their mother… and their dog!

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If you live in Bend (or anywhere else where dogs and humans coexist) you’ll run into the issue of dogs freely roaming the outdoors, not a care in the world and not a leash in site. You’ll be walking along a peaceful trail, listening to the birds and the distant river, looking up at the tall pines, keeping your best friend close-by and safe with a six foot nylon leash. Suddenly you look at the trail ahead and you see an adorable little Aussie, just standing about ten feet in front of you, still as a statue, and you begin your internal dialogue, “Is this dog with a human? Should I turn the other way? Or head off trail? Is it going to approach?” Meanwhile, that best friend you keep next to you on lead is beginning to whine and tug and stress. Suddenly another human appears, and casually yells to you, “Oh it’s ok he’s friendly!” And you uncomfortably chuckle, “Ok great, mine is not!”

This is a daily occurrence. Bend is a pretty dog friendly town, and people seem to take that and run with it… off leash. There are numerous off leash dog parks and trails in town, but the majority of hiking, walking, & biking paths are leashed areas. This means your dog MUST be on leash… not if they’re cool they can hang… they MUST BE ON LEASH. This is not because the city loves power and wants to control your rights, this is for the safety of you, your dog, and everyone around you. I know, other people, what a weird concept, but a lot of people do not like dogs. A lot of dogs do not like dogs. Allowing your dog to run off leash is much easier for you and much more enjoyable for your pup, but some dogs become incredibly anxious when approached by an off-leash dog, and your dog could get hurt if it sniffs the wrong dog. Or even worse a human could get hurt.

When you are in off-leash areas, please make sure your pup is well behaved. Dogs are technically only to be off leash when they have excellent recall and are under your control. There have been instances where well trained dogs have wandered from their owners, bothering a non-dog loving human, and let me tell you, people who do not have dogs love telling you that your dog is terrible, and they love reporting you for going against the rules.

Here’s a true story from the Sydney Morning Herald: Neil McMahon had brought his dog to an off-leash dog beach. He allowed the dog to wander and enjoy itself. The dog approached a baby laying on a blanket in the sand and decided to give that baby a lick on the face. (don’t ask me what a baby was doing laying in the sand of a dog beach) The child’s mother accused the dog of attacking the baby and called the police. Neil was fined $238 because the dog was not under his control.

“‘Effective control’ is defined as follows. It means your dog will return to you upon command (fair enough, though I don’t know a dog owner who has a 100 per cent success rate on that front). It means that you “retain a clear and unobstructed view of the dog” in the off-leash area at all times (fair enough, and usually not a problem unless the whirling dervish of romping dogs gets too big or they head off into the shrubbery in pursuit of a tennis ball). But here’s the kicker that got me in trouble: ‘effective control’ means your dog ‘does not bother, attack, worry or interfere with other people or animals’.” -Neil

So if you aren’t worried about other dogs or people, at least worry about your bank account. Or being an adult and being scolded by a police officer or park ranger, cuz that would be embarrassing.

Be courteous and cautious. Be mindful of your dog and others. Be a standup, law abiding citizen. If you need help finding an off-leash area or need to become better acquainted with your areas leash laws, Google is great at looking things up! If you live in Bend the Dog PAC is an excellent resource for dog parks, summer and winter trails, and upcoming dog events! Dogster Magazine and Zuke’s have some great tips on Adventuring with your pup off leash!

*this has been on my mind lately because of how many people have been complaining of off-leash dogs in an area they thought safe to bring their dog-reactive-dog for a walk*

 

Hound for the Holidays

If you are lucky enough to spend the holidays with your dog, here are a few treats to keep them happy while you stuff yourself full of non-dog-friendly foods and drinks! More can be found at Rover.com

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  1. Dog Nog
  • 7oz plain greek yogurt
  • 2oz baby food (organic sweet potato & chicken)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg (free range)
  • Peanut Butter Buddy Biscuits (use as a topper)

Combine yogurt, baby food, water, and egg in a blender until frothy. Top with a dog treat such as a Peanut Butter Buddy Biscuit

2. Frozen Pup Cakes

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana
  • splash of unsweetened almond milk (or water)

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add almond milk (or water) to get the desired consistency. Pour mixture into muffin tins and freeze until fully solid. Pop them out of the muffin tray and serve em up!

3. Sweet Potato Treats

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (make 2 cups sweet potato puree)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel and cube 2 medium sweet potatoes and bring to a boil in a pot of water. Simmer on low for 15-20 minutes (until soft). Drain and puree. In a separate bowl mix flour, oats, and cinnamon. In a separate larger bowl whisk egg, puree, and peanut butter. Mix wet ingredients with dry. Pour onto a flour surface and roll dough out to 1/4-3/8″ thick. Cut out cookie shapes using your choice of cookie cutter shapes. Dough will be slightly sticky. Flour helps! Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Let them cool and harden, then serve!

It’s always nice to treat your pet, but make sure they don’t over indulge this holiday season! Keep human dinner scraps clear from your furry friends reach! If you choose to share your bounty with your pets, make sure you set aside unsalted & unseasoned portions for them!

 

Howl-o-ween!

Halloween is my favorite time of year! Leaves are all orange, red, and yellow. Candy corn is abundant and I’m one of the very few people that enjoy it. And people are constantly posting adorable photos of their pets dressed up in cute costumes!

Halloween is a fun night (or several fun nights) for everyone! Including your furry friends! But some pets can get a bit overwhelmed with the Tricks and Treats!

Here are some helpful tips to keep your pets safe and happy this Halloween:

  • Keep your pets inside! There are a lot of weird people in this world, and Halloween is the perfect time for them to wander the streets. Keep your pets inside to ensure their safety. Even in the small, quiet suburb I grew up in we had teenagers in the neighborhood that “sacrificed” kittens. Terrible, but true.
  • Now that they’re inside, create a quiet space for them! Having kids ringing the doorbell every few minutes can get on anyone’s nerves, and it can give your pets a lot of anxiety. Even the sweetest of dogs can end up growling at a child. It’s best to create a nice snuggly spot in the bedroom with some calming music on in the background. Giving them their favorite treat is a nice addition!
  • Speaking of treats, keep your pets away from all Halloween candy! It’s probably common knowledge that dogs shouldn’t have chocolate, but they also shouldn’t have Sweet Tarts, Nerds, or Sour Patch Kids! This goes for all pets! Watch your kids and make sure they don’t share their bounty with their furry siblings!
  • Don’t leave your pets alone with Halloween decorations! Pumpkins, scythes, and plastic bones make excellent chew toys and choking hazards. Make sure your pet does not have access to anything that can harm them while you are away!
  • Most pets are happiest naked and free! If you are dressing your pet up, try to make them as comfortable as possible. Avoid masks and keep their costumes on for as little amount of time as possible. Never leave your pet in a costume unattended! Even if they are a seasoned pro and wear clothes everyday, it is best to hang up their outfits while they are alone.

You can find these tips and more at the Humane Society!

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Road Trippin’ with your Pooch

The summer is winding down, but that doesn’t mean it’s over! With all this smoke ruining the summer days, Adventure Pup has been traveling to clearer skies, which got us thinking about the necessities for road trippin’ with your pooch!

Here is what we have learned to makes trips easier for you and your furfriends:

  1. Make sure your pup is up to date on all vaccinations! Contacting your vet is always a great idea before a road trip. They can let you know what vaccines your pup will need for the wide open road and all the outdoor adventures to follow. Also make sure they are up to date on all flea, tick, and heartworm medication.
  2. Pack a bag for you pup! It’s always easier if your pup has his own luggage with food, water, bowls, toys to keep them busy and happy, treats, poop bags, a comb (for brushing, but also in the chance your pup picks up a tick- yuk!), a dog blanket and towel (dogs enjoy having something that has a familiar smell), dog-friendly bug spray, and any medications your dog may need.
  3. Make sure you have a first aid kit! Most of the items in a human kit will work for dogs, but it is always best to have a separate kit for your dog. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation has a great list of supplies you may need for your dog.
  4. Make sure your dogs tags are up to date and that they are always wearing a clear form of identification. It always helps to have them microchipped! Even if your dog has never left your side, it’s better to be safe than a dogless human.
  5. The safest way to travel with your pup is to crate them, but not everyone has the luxury vehicle for that. Seat belting them in with a harness is always a safe alternative.
  6. If you are traveling to a specific destination, please plan ahead for your pup as well. Make sure your accommodations allow dogs, or that you have properly secured a reputable dog boarding facility for your arrival. A lot of good boarding facilities require information and a trial before they allow you to board your dog, so having something booked ahead of time will ensure you don’t run into issues.
  7. Try to stick to your dog’s routine. They depend on it and it will help them deal with the changing scenery if they are at least able to use the restroom at their usual time of day.
  8. To keep your pup happy and occupied you can give them a stuffed Kong and take breaks where they can get out, stretch their legs, sniff and pee, and play with a good toy for five minutes. You can even take the opportunity to work on new tricks with your pup at rest stops!

 

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Summertime Fun!

Whew is it hot out there! I bet your pet would appreciate these summertime tips on how to stay cool!

  • Always make sure your pup has access to plenty of WATER! It’s great to take your pup with you to the local breweries, but don’t forget they would enjoy a cold beverage too! All dog friendly places offer dog bowls, so if you do not see one available, just ask a friendly employee! Or you can bring your own Gulpy Dog Water Bottle! Bring Fido has a great list of dog friendly places!
  • Keep a wet bandana around their neck! This is especially helpful for those pups that don’t like to swim. It helps keep their body temps down 🙂
  • In leu of the wet bandana, you can delicately dump some cool water on your pup’s neck, back, and belly. Be sure not to get water in their ears!
  • Remember what it felt like to be a kid and run around barefoot on the blacktop, pretending it was hot lava? Well dog’s feet can feel heat too! Avoid having your pup walk or stand on blacktop for long periods of time, their paw pads can become cracked and irritated by the heat. Coconut oil is a great way to moisturize those baked pads! If your dog doesn’t mind, you could always get some Ruffwear booties!
  • The shade is your friend! Please do not tie your pup up in the sunshine. Dogs can easily overheat and need access to shade and WATER!
  • Early morning and evening walks are the best time of day for a dog walk. The air is cooler and the sun is lower in the sky.
  • Frozen treats are fun to make, and even more fun to eat! Check out some easy recipes found on Rover’s site!
  • DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PUP IN THE CAR! Yes it sounds obvious, but I’m sure you see dogs locked in their cars as much as I do. And it is now legal for citizens to break into your vehicle to free your pets, so avoid having your windows broken or your dog overheating and leave Fido at home while you run your errands. Dogs don’t like chores anyways.

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