Adventures and Outings are Fun-But Do Them Safely
By Nancy Frensley, CPDT-KA, CAP2, CGC/Trick and FitDog evaluator, AKC Scent Work Judge
Senior Behavior and Training manager
Whether it’s a trip to the beach, the dog park, hiking in Yellowstone or just a potty walk in the rain, every outing can be a joy. It’s easy to take for granted that these will have positive outcomes and you will return home with a rested dog; both of you safe and healthy. We are always conscious of our dogs’ safety, but what about our own?
A recent article in the Washington Post talked about dog walking injuries that send humans from the end of the leash to the emergency room. Over 2 decades, more than 422,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for injuries suffered while leash walking dogs. The number of injuries quadrupled between 2001 (7,200) and 2020 (32,000). The most prevalent are finger fractures, traumatic brain injuries and shoulder sprains.
You can prevent these injuries with just a few techniques. How you hold your leash and how long it is can make dog walking safer as will standing up straight and keeping your arms close to your side. As an added bonus, this creates better communication with your dog.
Injuries are most likely to occur at times when your attention lapses or when your dog surges toward something interesting. For instance, when you stoop to scoop, you are off balance. If your dog suddenly surges away toward something intriguing, you are pulled sideways. Asking your dog to sit and stay while you pick up is a step in the right direction. Even small dogs can be hazardous. It’s easy to trip over a little one who is weaving around your legs.
One of our most effective and best loved classes is called “Let’s Just Walk”. We take you and your dog through 4 weeks of walking techniques both in and out of doors.
If you have challenges with walking or anything else, access our free Behavior Advice Line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (510) 845-7735, extension 215. We love helping make your life with your dog a pleasure.