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Dog Products (Leashes, Accessories, Zip Lines, etc)

870 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Lillith
There sees to be no set aside place to talk about dog products so I'm inserting it here; apologies in advance if it's misplaced. Subjects such as leashes, crates, toys, bike attachments, etc. For example I'm often approached by people who say "My dog is a puller, should I get a harness so I can better control him / her ? I find a harness makes it harder because now when the dog pulls, it's far less uncomfortable for them to do so.

For any lurkers wandering why, I prefer "loop type" rope type collars, the type intended for placement just below the ears for dog walking as, I have much more control. If set correctly, it does not act as a choke collar but the dog's neck muscles can not deliver the same level of pull on the leash as 4 legs and a chest. I like to hold the handle in my left hand, have it run behind my back and hold the leash so it's short enough that she wont walk too far in front of me and cross my path. It's also a visual clue as she paces me with front legs slightly ahead of me and rear legs just behind. Still use a harnesses on my dogs for 4 reasons:

1) Keeping them restrained in the back of the SUV
2) The little short leashes attached to them, and are a convenient way to grab them when it's time to leave the dog park and they are too busy having fun.
3) The short leashes (basically an loop handlewith a clip) are a safer way of separating dogs if your dog is attacked.
4) When the dogs wake me up at 6 am wanting to go out when there's a freezing rain and I'm in my bathrobe and slippers, I can attach them to the "doggie zip line" with the caribiner hanging on a hook outside my door and I don't have to get all wet before going back to bed.*.

* By way of explanation,we have a large (3.5 acres) heavily wooded, fenced,double flag lot property ... but I can't continuously monitor almost 2,000 feet of fence with storms dropping trees or branches on them and dogs digging under them.... not to mention delivery drivers opening the gate and not securing it when they leave. We also have deer visiting the property (counted as many as 36) and if dogs are loose, they will chase them which can cause lactic acid toxicity and they can no longer stand ...luckily I don't have to worry about them attacking the deer and the fawns will sometimes get nose to nose with the dogs when they on the line. But they will play "I chase you then you chase me" all day long as they do with each other.

So we built a 100' vinyl covered 1/4" stainless steel cable zip line 10- 12' off the ground using the same double pulley, end springs and safety systems as you'd find in a Adventure Park. At 6 am, weather permitting, I will put one will go on the zip line while I walk the other on a leash (yes, still in my bathrobe). On those, nasty days, they go out 1 at a time by themselves for 10 minutes or so. The rest of their daily outings, regardless of weather and after I have had coffee and gotten dressed, with a head covering if raining, are to the exercise pen (3,000 SF) or the zip line (which allows a roaming area of 7,200 SF). When together, I stay with them having one one a leash ...when one at a time in weather I watch from the window.

In any case, we had used one of those kits for a while that basically are intended to do the same thing. It had 3/16" not stainless, PVC coated and it lasted less than a year. First the leash broke and when I replaced that, 2 weeks later the zip line failed. And the single pulley often jammed and it was a bear to get freee. I looked and would have loved to have found a forum where someone had already "been there / done that". So I went out trying to find a better product and, finding none, I had to cobble a system together myself using individual parts, most designed for human backyard family fun. So in the hopes of being able to benefit from other's experiences, I wanted to get some input on another topic.

As I mentioned above, while the loop collar provides great and effortless control for walking a single dog, (even for beginners), it's a bit cumbersome when walking two dogs, especially on hiking trails. Having no experiences with couplers, waist leashes, bike attachments and such wanted to inquire whether anyone found them useful, especially in tandem. Any experiences good or bad would be most welcome.
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I use a "modified coupler". I don't like the standard couplers because you can't separate the dogs without unhitching one.

Instead I use two "lead extensions". I attach both to the end of a standard leash and one to each dog's collar. If I need to separate the dogs, I de-attach one extension from the standard leash and clip the D ring end to the snap still attached to the collar - it makes a short "traffic lead". The other dog remains on the other extension and standard leash. This worked great with my Moose-dog and Bat-dog because I could separate them and let Moose-dog room to say hello to people while keeping Bat-dog close at my side.

Personally, if I am walking them on trails, etc, I don't worry about keeping them at my side. I give them the length of the leash to explore the sights and sounds. I use a quick release martingale collar. I like them because I can leave them on the dog all the time so they have ID tags on and I can grab hold if needed. I don't need to fuss with having to change to a different collar when we go out - the martingale stays loose enough to slip off the dog's head if they get caught on something while playing in the yard, but when a leash is attached they will tighten enough to prevent coming off if the dog gets spooked or such and tries to pull away. I don't like leaving harnesses on 24/7 because they can bother the dog and mat the fur, etc, and I found they are a hassle to put on and off.

My current search is to find an escape proof harness for my cat, Looney2. He backs out of every style I've tried. Looney1 never backs out of any of them.
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As I said above, I do use couplers. I really like them. Holding one leash is so much easier than holding two. As I mentioned, I prefer using two "extensions" rather than an actual coupler so I can easily separate the dogs if needed. One benefit to them is if one of your dogs is not so great at recall, the other dog will bring him along as she recalls. It has actually helped with training. They do have some made of elastic material.

I tried a waist belt once. I found it awkward. I preferred clipping the leash to a regular belt more comfortable. As you have carabiners, you might try that first.

Mountain biking. There are bike leash attachments available to keep your dog away from the wheels or running in front of you. You might try using a coupler in conjunction with that for the two dogs. I'd start out slow and get them working as a team - just tell them they're huskies and it's in their blood. ;)

Here are some tips for biking with A dog - you might have to modify/extrapolate for biking with two dogs.
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