Walk The Dog (And Cat, And Rabbit, And Ferret)
Walk, walk, walk, lucky dog, lucky dog, I’m a lucky dog, straight into traffic ACK! Walk, walk, walk, luckylucky, let’s smell that flower ACK! Walk, walk, walk, there’sasquirrelrunforit ACK!
That was my typical daily monologue in my early years, when my human Sage first started to train me. We would walk together every day, me on my leash next to her. That ACK! was me choking every time she yanked my chain, which was what a breeder had suggested she do. It was terrible for me, my throat hurt, my skin pinched. Impawssible.
Thankfully, on one of my morning yanks Sage and I ran into our dog training friend. He took one look at my “choke chain” and told Sage to chuck it. Why? As he explained, I had passed the training stage, and no longer needed to be corrected with power-steering. And in fact, the collar she was using might actually encourage me to pull harder! Instead, he suggested, Sage needed to outfit me with a comfortable, adjustable harness. When on leash, she would be able to maintain control and haul me back in, without choking me to death. We went shopping!
Pet harnesses are necessary for all kinds of reasons. There are the obvious safety reasons: keeping the bigguns away from the li’l uns, keeping the cats from hauling tail up a tree (and not coming down), protecting us from traffic. There are medical reasons, like when one of us has a sensitive trachea or coughing issues, and in these cases harnesses help support us. Harnesses also keep us from slipping out of our collars, but won’t leave us hanging (if you know what I mean. ACK!).
Here are some tips when choosing a harness:
- Shop with measurements. You’ll know the harness will fit! A harness should be snug, but not too tight.
- Make sure the harness is adjustable. It will fit properly, and will expand if pet does. While you’re at it, check to make sure the thickness of the harness straps are proportional for the size of pet.
- Pick a type: training (yes, it can be done without the choke), H-harness, car belt (buckle up baby!).
Things to avoid:
- Harnesses that are not adjustable.
- Bulky, thick leather – too uncomfortable! Try a harness made from soft cotton or bamboo.
There are some great sites selling harnesses. Some of my faves:
So who wants to go for a W-A-L-K? Oh yeah, I see those wagging tails and twitching whiskers! Now before you fetch your leash for your human, make sure it’s the right kind.