If it weren’t for the collar and nametag on my friend’s beagle, Norbert, we’d have lost him long ago. He’s an escape artist. However, because he’s so darn cute, people tend to catch him quickly and then immediately call to let my friend know they’ve found him. He hasn’t escaped in months, but that collar never leaves his neck (except for bathtime).
1. As soon as you get a puppy or bring home a new dog, make sure it has a soft collar and a name tag. The collar of course is necessary for using a leash as well, but also provides a secure place to afix that ever important name tag with your contact information and your pet’s name.
2. For puppies, a typical lead length is 4-6 feet. Getting your puppy used to a leash early on will help to ensure that you two can enjoy walks together instead of fighting every step of the way.
3. Speaking of fighting…if you have a dog who usually walks YOU instead of the other way around, try a head collar or harness. Head collars look similar to muzzles but don’t keep your dog’s mouth closed. They DO allow you to more easily turn your dog’s head to distract him or her from squirrels, other dogs, etc. If you can control the motion of your pet’s head, you can control which direction they go. For more information on using a head halter, check out this article from the ASPCA.
4. If your dog tends to pull and lunge when other dogs approach, you’re experiencing leash reactivity. This often occurs either because your dog is afraid of other pets or because he is so excited to see other dogs and gets frustrated because he can’t get to them more quickly to say, “Hi!”
5. Ways to manage or fix this leash reactivity include: walking at different times of day when there are fewer pets, picking up small pets to avoid lunging, and distracting your dog when others are around. To actually FIX the problem, click here to see a great training idea from the ASPCA.