Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dog-walking essentials: The three things you need for a safe stroll

Leashes and umbrellas and more make for easy dog walks
We all know that a tired dog is a happy dog. And, we probably also know that dog walks can be a tricky business. It's not as easy as opening up the door and heading out into the sunshine. Dogs need dog gear, and a lot of it is absolutely vital when you're heading out on a dog walk.

So what do you need in order to really master this dog-walk thing? I have you covered. These are the items I consider absolutely essential.

1. Great leashes.

I adore a good leash. Leashes allow you to control your dog in a meaningful way, keeping him or her from running into traffic, tangling with other dogs or just becoming a public nuisance.

Liam has four leashes. Two are 6 feet long (my preferred on-a-walk length) and two are 4 feet long (my preferred at-a-dog-friendly-bar length). I don't use flexible leashes, as I simply don't think they provide you with enough control.

Lupine as they are stylish and comfortable for Liam, and they come with a lifetime guarantee.

2. Comfortable harnesses.

I use a step-in harness for Liam. These harnesses allow you to control your dog without placing any undue stress or pressure on the dog's throat. This is particularly important for short-nosed breeds that have a lot of difficulty breathing to begin with. A step-in harness also allows me to quickly pick Liam up if another dog comes charging or I sense danger.

3. Safety lighting.

Since Liam goes on his first walk of the day well before the sun comes up, I have two lights that I can use. I wrap the lights around the leashes, rather than hanging them on myself or Liam. These lights are designed to be seen from 6 to 15 feet away, which means they're much too bright to hang near your face.

As I rule, I keep two of almost everything I need by the back door. It makes rushing out for emergency potty breaks much easier, and spares me from looking for leashes and lights when I am just out of bed for those early morning walks.

Get out there and start walking!