Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Gear Geek-Out Part Two

Here is Vida, leading the way on our walk. I have to laugh at the idea that someone is looking at this and thinking that this demonstrates her dominance over me! That is not true. What it does demonstrate is that she is much more interested than I am in what is ahead.

I'm using a 10 foot lead made by Mendota that allows her more room to wander, as Turid Rugaas, the amazing Norwegian dog trainer recommends in her DVD on loose leash walking

I've usually used very light-weight 6 foot leads, and have tried to use retractables and lightlines before, but now that I have this Mendota lead I have figured out what makes this one work so well.

First of all, it's round. This means there is no twisting, no edges, it's all smooth. 

This is the thinner of the two options for their snap leash. You can see that I easily hold it with two fingers (ok, I usually just use one), it's lighter-weight than you might think looking at it.

I had it custom-made for 10 feet (they offer many colors), but don't let that put you off, as they offer the service gladly, and without charging an arm and a leg (their leads are very reasonably priced).

It's very easy to manage. Here you can see how nicely it loops up. It's easy to tie and untie if you need to hitch your dog somewhere. It doesn't tangle. 

If you're in the San Diego order through Dexter's Deli, as they carry this brand of lead (I work there, and have been pretty insistent about carrying Mendota, maybe we'll start carrying the 10 footers).

I'm one of those people who hates to carry more of a leash than I need, so if you're like that too I insist you try one of these! And if you're someone who uses a retractable, dump that thing and get a more reasonable leash that will give you control when you need and allow your dog to walk on a loose leash.

The harness Vida is wearing is called ComfortFlex. Again, if you're in San Diego please buy from Dexter's as they are probably the only store in the area that really tries to carry the best gear, not just the popular gear (hopefully it gets popular!). 

This is a simple (simple!) harness that is comfortable for the dog. It looks bulky at first, but once you try it you'll love it. First of all, it's padded. It is completely non-irritating, to the skin and to the throat.

As much as I wish it were natural fiber, this material is clean and durable. The white stripes are reflective. The leash attaches to a ring that slides on a section of nylon that is designed  as a sort of handle if you need to closely control the dog. I like the way the ring flops to either side with your leash, putting less torque on the harness.

It's super easy to put on and take off, you can do it one-handed. Just slip it 
over the dog's head, Connect the velcro around the behind the front legs, and snap the buckle (designed for extra security).

Vida wears a small/medium (you may notice that the tag says "SM", that doesn't mean small), they have several sized to choose from, and some different colors (I have two!).

I've known people to have their dogs pull LESS on this harness even though it's not sold for that purpose. I've also seen dogs feel more relaxed and less stressed wearing it. They're not cheap, but they're amazing!

I am a stickler for leash-walking equipment. My dog has to wear it, I have to handle it. There's nothing worse than having your equipment cause you or your dog problems on your walk. 

I'm against using equipment that is painful for you or your dog, and both these items fit the bill.

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