Who’s Walking Who?

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When it comes to taking your dog(s) for a walk the question “who’s walking who” often comes to mind. At the animal hospital we see many owners who are often walked/dragged into or out of the front door by their furry companions-both big and small! Our friends Kiba, Mya and Spencer who are the furry family members of one of our veterinarians, Dr. Vega used to struggle with this very problem as all three dogs would pull him around on walks. Being dragged around by your pet can make a nice leisurely walk not very enjoyable as he and many other frustrated dog owners have experienced. In honor of this often frustrating “who’s walking who” scenario Kiba would like to tell everyone a little bit about what Her dad did to make their walks more enjoyable! We will turn the floor over to her…

I used to live in the Caribbean where I could go on long walks and run on the beaches. But when we moved to Columbus and then here to Stow, I did not have a big back yard or the beach to run and play so Dad started to take me, my sister, and brother on long walks around the neighborhood. These walks were very stressful and our parents dreaded taking all three of us together. We all wanted to walk at a different pace and we would pull dad down the road. It was just so exciting getting out of the house and we had a hard time following dad’s instructions with all of the distractions. It was not an option for him to just take one of us on a walk at a time because we would get jealous and dad would feel bad leaving someone behind. Dad decided to get us gentle leaders. The gentle leader goes around our nose similar to a horse’s head halter (it is not a muzzle!).  The same theory applies to horses, where our head goes our body will follow which prevents us from pulling and dragging our parents all over the place. When these are fitted properly we can still open our mouth to eat, drink, pant, fetch and bark. At first they were hard to get used to and we didn’t like them very much! We were used to having something around our neck but having something on our face was strange to us. So dad watched the training video so that we would slowly get use to the gentle leader. Using positive reinforcement and clicker training we became comfortable wearing the gentle leader and learned to walk with them on. It took a lot of time and patience on dad’s part but eventually we understood what we were supposed to do and were able to walk comfortably and safely. Instead of constantly pulling as hard I could I had to focus and listen to my dad’s instructions this made our walks much nicer for all of us.

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My sister and I were doing well with the Gentle Leader but Spencer was more challenging. Spencer was continuing to resist having something on his face. That’s when our parents decided to get him an easy walker. The easy walker works in a similar way to the Gentle Leader but instead of having something on the face it is a harness that attaches in the front so that Spencer could be lead in any direction. A tip from dad, if you attach the leash to the easy walker and the traditional collar then you have even more additional control.

I do not mean to pull and exhaust dad’s arms but we all know how exciting walks are, I also know that being off lead on walks is not an option as the traffic is dangerous which is why dad decided to try other products to make our family walks more enjoyable!

Kiba & Gerardo Vega, DVM

Stow Kent Animal Hospital

Thanks Kiba and Dr. Vega for sharing your story with all of us. The concept of the products listed above is to give the handler more control while walking especially when there are a lot of distractions. So if you are used to being pulled all over town by your furry friends maybe you should consider trying one of these products. It is important just like anything new to get pets used to the new products slowly so they will be comfortable wearing them before we going out in public for walks. This can often take a long time and it is important to be patient with your pet and encourage them with treats and positive reinforcement the entire time.  If you need help learning how to place the Gentle Leader or Easy Walker then feel free to ask someone at either of our locations, Stow Kent Animal Hospital or Portage Animal Clinic, we would be happy to help!

Our Employees Love Gentle Leaders & Easy Walkers!

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For more information please visit: http://www.premier.com/View.aspx?page=dogs/products/collars

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