Should You Gift Dog Training this Holiday Season?

Trying to think about the best gift to give the dog owner in your life? May we suggest a gift certificate to Frontier K9 Training?

Of course, any gift that is an experience and educational is a unique choice, but will it be well-received? Here are three questions to ask yourself. We would be happy to discuss options for gift certificates and training sessions to fit any dog owner!

  1. Has your recipient discussed the interest in learning obedience or working with a trainer? This is probably the most important question to as yourself. You do have to be careful giving a gift like obedience lessons because you don’t want to insult the recipient. Perhaps start a conversation about dog training to test out their feelings and intent.
  2. What are your recipient’s training goals? Are you sure that the goals you have in mind are on their mind as well? That can happen if the recipient can’t think of anywhere they would like to go with training. Also, recipients sometimes worry that the gift means there’s undesirable behavior they’ve been ignoring or haven’t noticed. It’s alright to chat with the potential recipient about their dogs openly, and to discern whether or not they see eye to eye with you about their dog’s behavior.
  3. Does the recipient have time to spend on training? We know that time can be a valuable commodity, and while the recipient might have some goals in mind, do they have the time to work on them right now? Check that your recipient has the schedule flexibility for training sessions, and that now is the best time for them to fit them in. This is why Frontier K9 is so unique, because we offer flexible scheduling options for all of our clients.  

We encourage giving the gift of a happier partnership between human and canine, but we also encourage that you discuss the idea of dog training before making the purchase. Dog training works best when both the pup and handler are engaged and interested.

Our gift certificates can be printed out for giving in person or sent to you via PDF so you can email the certificate to the receiver for contactless gift giving. Contact us to discuss your gift certificate option today!

Let Me Reintroduce Myself

Hello everyone! Thank you for checking out my page and my business! We have some of the best supporters and clients, but we also have some new supporters and clients so I thought I’d kind of reintroduce myself for our new followers and clients.

My name is Erin Dean and I might be a little obsessed with dogs lol. I was born into a dog family. My father and mother raised and showed Golden Retrievers and my father was a professional dog handler and trainer. My step-grandfather and my grandma owned 2 dog training schools in Broad Ripple and Indianapolis. They ran their own boarding kennel/training center as well at their farm. They also bred and showed Golden Retrievers as well as English Cockers, Silky Terriers and German Shepherds. My aunt still raises Goldens and has been an AKC judge for many years. So, it kind of became natural for my sister and I to get into the family business so to speak. She with agility and me with working dogs and training. I’m a 5th generation handler, and I’m so thankful for all the knowledge all of the above as others have given me.

My heart dog and forever partner, Cinch.

I am a retired police K9 officer and was lucky enough to work with 2 of the best partners I could have asked for. Tori was my first partner and was a Bloodhound. We did trailing or what some call, man trailing. We started out as a Search and Recovery team and then moved on to my chief at the time putting us on the road as a unit. I learned a lot from, Tori even though at the time some of it didn’t seem like I was learning a lot except that Bloodhounds are very stubborn lol. I owe a lot that pushy girl on making me the handler and trainer I am today. My second partner was a Belgian Malinois named Cinch and we were a dual purpose team. Cinch was trained in narcotic search, area search, aggression, building search and tracking. When I say that boy was my world it is definitely not an exaggeration. I learned so much as a handler and person from that boy that I’ll never be able to count them all. Cinch is actually the logo for Frontier K9 Training, and I continue to train dogs and help others have long lasting relationships with their dogs in his honor and memory.

I love helping people create that lifelong bond with their dogs. Your bond with your dog or dogs is unlike any other bond you will ever have. Sometimes we all need help understanding why our dogs do or don’t do what they are supposed to. Why they have the behavior they do and helping find solutions to that behavior. The moment I see training on a certain action or the light bulb click on when the owner/handler realizes how to teach a certain command or the whole thing clicks together…..it makes my heart happy. Helping people is something I love doing whether it was as a K9 officer, my job at the ER I work at or helping train dogs and people.

Family means the world to me, and Frontier K9 has given me a way to have my sister involved. My husband, sister, parents and my young niece, all help out when needed. Whether it’s making the website and Facebook page (thank you Megan), holding other dogs to help with trainings or just being supportive and a cheerleader, we are all involved and I couldn’t do it without all of them. I hope that you feel like you might know me a little better than before. Thank you all again for referrals, having training sessions, sharing our page or even just liking posts. All of that means a lot to me and lets me know that I am doing a good job.

“Look into the eyes of a dog and you’ll see their souls and their love.”

Keeping Your Dog Calm During Fireworks Season

Many dog owners have a love-hate relationship with summer and fireworks season. I know I’m one of them. Even way out in the country, we still hear a good amount of fireworks going off. So how do you keep your dog calm while fireworks are going off?

dog scared of fireworks

First of all, and most importantly, please, please, PLEASE keep your dog at home and inside. I can’t tell you how worried I get when I see owners bringing their dogs to fireworks displays. Just imagine what would happen if that dog were to get scared enough to slip out of his collar…

Prior to festivities, take your pup for a walk. This walk will be good to help get any extra nervous energy out of both of you, plus allows him some fresh air and to potty in hopes he won’t need to until after fireworks have completed.

While your dog is home, try to tuck him away somewhere that he’ll be comfortable and feel safe. This is a good time to reinforce crate training–teach him that his crate is a happy place to be.

  • Have his crate located somewhere within the house and not near windows.
  • Have a comfy bed inside with maybe a special treat like a Kong filled with frozen peanut butter.
  • Cover the crate with a blanket, have the radio playing relaxing music or music you usually play at home (as long as it’s not death metal, that is), and even have a fan blowing to keep him cool and for background noise.
  • Be sure to cover windows to block the flash from the fireworks.

When it comes to medications or other options, it’s important to have started using items such as a Thundershirt, CBD oil or anti-anxiety meds in the weeks, and maybe even months, prior to the 4th of July.

Megan, our agility instructor, has two dogs that are very, very afraid of storms, and even more so when it comes to fireworks. While she has tried a Thundershirt on her oldest Swedish Vallhund, LaMesa, it didn’t work very well. This year, she’s trying ProPlan’s newest product: Calming Care.

ProPlan Calming Care

The Calming Care product is a supplement added to your dog’s food. It is a probiotic strain of BL999, which works from the inside out to help a dog maintain a calm behavior. As with this, and any supplement, essential oil or CBD oil, you should consult your veterinarian on what would do best with your dog.

Any supplement, such as the Calming Care, takes a minimum of six weeks to have any affect on your dog. And, as with the Thundershirt and any other supplement, it may not work for every dog.

It’s a trial and error, but one that’s definitely worth attempting to help keep your dog happy and calm. Worried it’s too late for you? Don’t be. Schedule an appointment to speak with your vet, or reach out to Frontier K9, and see what can be done to prepare you and your dog for all the fireworks celebrations this summer.

Human Behavior Training: Picking up the Poop

I believe that training dogs not only encompasses training of the canine, but also the teaching and training of the dog’s human. So, this post is more about human training than dog training…

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I always carry either two poop bags or a container full of them wherever we walk.

While we’ve been in such unique times of staying home to stay healthy, there’s been an increase in everyone partaking in outdoor activities. This includes increased dog walks. Which is great! I’m sure all our furry friends are basking in the extra time with their human and extra mileage.

So, now is the perfect time to remind you about picking up after yourself (err…rather…after your dog) when you’re walking your dog.

It’s imperative to pick up your dog’s waste during your walks. Why?

– Common courtesy for your fellow walkers. Who enjoys stepping in a pile of dog poop and then having to clean off your shoes? It’s disgusting.

– Stop the spread of disease. Other dogs, and random animals, will stop and sniff your dog’s leftover feces, which can spread unknown disease from your dog to another.

Did you know that dog poop has high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as disease causing bacteria and parasites; some more so than other types of waste. All of these bacteria and parasites are harmful to humans and spread disease to other dogs.

Your dog’s waste can be full of E. coli, salmonella and is a common carrier of the following: Worms (several types), Parvovirus, Coronavirus, Giardiasis, Salmonellosis, Cryptosporidiosis, and Campybacteriosis.

It’s also important to note you should regularly clean your yard where your dogs defecate regularly. These bacteria and parasites can actually linger in the soil for years.

So, whether you are the kind to use cutesie dog poop bags with a matching holder attached to your leash, recycled plastic trash bags tied to the leash or if you just grab some from a dispenser along walking trails, make sure you’re prepared to pick up after your dog. Be a good, thoughtful citizen and realize you could be putting other people and other dogs at risk of getting sick if you don’t.

So you want a puppy or older dog…….

After a lot of consideration and talking to your family, you have decided you want a puppy. Or maybe you decided you want an older dog. But have you considered everything?

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Before you get all the toys, bed and food, make sure that you have considered the role you will now become…dog owner. If you have never owned a dog yourself, there are a few things you need to remember and consider. The first thing is you must know that being a dog owner cannot be taken lightly. New puppies and even new older dogs will wake you in the middle of the night. Sometimes out of loneliness and sometimes to go potty. They require training and schooling. It is your responsibility as a dog owner to make sure your dog is obedience trained. You also have to think about the expense of veterinarian appointments. Depending on what breed you get and their size, these can be costly. These are a few things you must think about when you have decided to get a new member of the family.

Once you have thought about the different things from above, now it’s time to think about what breed or what kind of dog you want. Some people want purebred dogs and some want mixed breeds. You can’t go wrong with either. The only real difference between purebred and mixed is the purebred will come with a pedigree that you can trace the family history and medical history. Choosing the right dog is important regardless of purebred or mixed. You need to think about these factors…..What size of a dog do you want when they are fully grown? What are the exercise requirements for it? Are they known for there assertiveness and friendliness? The most important one you need to consider whether you have kids or not is how are they with children? Certain breeds have certain reputations that they have had for centuries, like German Shepherds are always the best guard dogs or terriers all have bad attitudes. I can tell you with both b and with other dogs they do not always follow those reputations. I’ve seen German Shepherd’s with no drive to work and I’ve seen terries be sweet. So while it is important to study the breed you have chosen to get, don’t always believe the reputations they come with. One of the great things with mixed breeds is that it will be fairly easy to guess temperament, size and appearance. But the one thing you should do is research what you want!

You’ve chosen the breed you want or you have chosen one that you want to adopt. The next is preparing to bring them home. Just like bringing home a new child, you have to prepare your house for your new best friend. This is when you want to buy toys, treats, grooming supplies and other necessities. Whether you live alone or are a family, you need to sit down and come up with a feeding and exercise schedule. Another thing you will need to do is prepare you house. Make sure to move all breakables and anything the dog/puppy can chew on somewhere else. Move any plants that could be poisonous to a dog and make sure all electrical cords are out of sight and reach. If you don’t have a fence you need to think where will they go potty at. If you don’t have a fence than you need to think about a tie out so the dog can stretch its legs. If you are adopting from a rescue or humane society, one of the requirements to adopt and even bring them home is having a fence. Inside your home you need to set up a place that is just theirs. A crate, which I highly suggest for any dog coming into a new environment let alone a puppy, blanket or bed can be their space. You want to make it so they know this is where they can go if they are scared or uncertain and it will keep them safe when you leave the house.

The day has arrived that you’re bringing your new best friend home! It is a exciting time for you and can be for the dog. But you need to remember that it can also be a scary time. For a puppy this will probably be the first time it is away from its brothers or sisters. I’d suggest taking a towel/blanket or a new toy with you to pick up the puppy. While you are talking with the breeder and signing contracts, ask them if you can put that item in with the puppies. This will give your pup a little comfort at its new home because it smells like its family. A dog coming from a rescue or humane society can either be really excited or a little fearful. All of these things are normal. The biggest thing you need to do for both puppies and older dogs is give them time!!! Especially for an older dog, it will take time for them to relax and understand that they aren’t going anywhere again that this is their home. I’m talking like 3 months or more for a rescue or older dog to finally completely relax. Make sure that you show them where their water bowl and food bowl is and then just let them explore. Keep an eye on them from a distance but let them check out their new digs.

It’s so exciting to bring home a new puppy or dog and you want to introduce them to all your family and friends. That is to be expected. But you need to introduce them slowly to people and you need to do it the right way. Do not let people, especially children, crowd the dog/puppy or get in its face. Depending on the breed of puppy you brought home they could be mouthy by nature and accidentally grab a hold of a lip or nose with teeth. With an older dog it can make them feel threatened and even though they are sweet tempered, any dog that feels threatened can get aggressive. The same goes for introducing them to other dogs and animals. If you force it or allow someone else’s dog to get in your dogs face, it could become aggressive. Make sure to study up on how to do introductions the correct way before trying them.

Once the puppy or older dog has relaxed a bit it’s now time to start potty training. This is mainly for puppies but older dogs will need to know where they are going to go potty and and you need to help them learn how to tell you they need to. There are several books and things from the American Kennel Club to help you understand how to teach your puppy potty training. But most of your older dogs will have this knowledge when you adopt them. This is also the time to start house training them as well. This is when you must set the rules of the house…right at the beginning. One example of a rule is….if you allow your puppy to lay in your favorite chair, they are going to think this is acceptable. But you need to also think..Do I want a 90lb dog sitting in this chair with me? It can get a little crowded that way.

Just like you and I have to have regular doctor visits, so do they. Make sure that when you bring your new puppy or dog home that you make an appointment with the vet you have chosen just to have a good thorough exam done. For puppies this is very important to make sure that they are on the path to get all their puppy vaccines and they are healthy. Make sure that you are feeding a healthy diet to your dog. Talk to your veterinarian about what kind is best for your dog. Another thing to talk to your vet about is about heartworm and flea and tick medicines. You will need to make sure that it also gets proper exercise. This doesn’t just mean playing ball in the backyard. This means going for walks, hikes or whatever to get their energy out. Make sure that you know what kind of bathing and grooming requirements your dog needs. It is your responsibility to make sure that your dog is groomed and bathed and their coats are brushed out. Another must do is know any and all health risks your breed might have.

There are things that you need to do to help make sure your dog is safe, with or without you. Make sure you get them microchipped. This can be done when they are puppies or adults. Most rescues and humane society’s will have this done for you the day you pick them up. BUT!! It is your responsibility to make sure the chip is registered AND you keep the information attached to it updated. If you move make sure you call and give the company your new address. If you get a new phone number make sure they have it. A microchip is no good if your dog is lost and you have not updated the information and no one can reach you to return your best friend to you. Some cities you have to a dog tag license. Make sure that your dog has their tag on them at all times. You also should get an ID tag made for them to wear with all your information on it. Again, get a new tag if any of your information changes. Make sure that your dog has shelter in the backyard. Even if they are only out for a short time, they need something to protect them from rain, snow, heat and cold. We all love to take our dogs with us on road trips. But we have to think about their safety there as well. Keep them in crates or use the seat belt harnesses. There is nothing worse than your dog jumping out the car window at a red light, or God forbid you’re in a car accident, your dog needs to be safe. Along with keeping them safe on the road, you need to make sure that you are prepared for any kind of disaster or emergency order to leave your house. Make sure that you have a dog emergency kit that includes a bowl for water and one for food. Fresh water and food and you have a canine first aid kit. Put emergency contact information in the pack as well in case you get separated. Another thing that I suggest you do and lawyers will recommend is having someone that will take your dog or dogs if something happens to you. Talk to the person you have decided would be best for them and make sure that they agree to it. There are so many dogs put in shelters and rescues after their owner gets sick or passes away because family members don’t want the responsibility.

This is just the beginning of your new life with your puppy or adopted dog. Hopefully it will be a long one and one full of adventure for you both. Always remember……..you are responsible for these animals health and well being. Give them all the love and care in the world, and you’ll get it from them tenfold.

It’s Spring!!

Birds singing all day. That’s one way I know that we are definitely in the spring season, even if Mother Nature isn’t 100% sure yet. The spring brings new life, warmer weather and sunshine. But what does it bring with it for your dogs? Ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, parasites, skin problems/allergies and depending on where you live, even more dangers. Let’s talk about the ones I mentioned and ways to keep your dog enjoying spring not being miserable through it.

Don’t let your dog be miserable this spring!

We’ll start out with ticks. There is nothing worse than when I get to my house after being in the horse barns or trailing/tracking with my dogs and finding a tick on me and or on them. Ticks are honestly one of the weirdest creatures, even for insects. Ticks can latch onto any part of your dog. Some ticks can produce a sticky substance like glue to help them stay attached to your dog. This is not a problem just for dogs that live outdoors. Ticks can attach to your dog on walks, hikes, or any outdoor activity. Ticks do carry diseases and they are spread when the tick attaches its head into the skin and is feeding off your dogs’ blood. The most familiar disease is Lyme disease but they can also cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever. A more extreme result of ticks is they cause anemia. Not all dogs will get any of these diseases in the blink of an eye. But the longer a tick is on your dog, the greater chance of one of these developing. Anemia can also be caused by fleas. The best way to prevent a tick biting your dog is products that are made to help keep ticks off of dogs. Consult with your veterinarian for the best product for your dog. Not all tick medicines are good for all dogs. I personally use Vectra 3D because it repels fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, plus it’s safe to use on one of my dogs that has seizures from time to time. Please consult with your vet before buying any product.

Mosquitoes. I think we all can agree those are the most annoying part of spring and summer. But they also cause one of the deadliest diseases for a dog……heartworm. This disease kills more dogs a year than cancer. The results of heartworm disease are…severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage and death. So what does a mosquito have to do with it? The mosquito is the Uber for Dirofilaria immitis, a fancy name for a parasitic worm that it is carried from animal to animal. This parasite then infects the heart and if not treated the lungs of your dog. If your dog is tested and comes up positive, they can be treated. It is not a cheap procedure and it can be hard on a dog depending on age, health, etc. The process includes x-rays, blood work to determine how severe the case is. After establishing that, your dog will get a series of injections. The prep work can cost up to $1,000, but the treatment itself can be done for around $500 in some places. The signs of heartworm disease initially doesn’t have any symptoms. But as more and more of the worms infect the heart and lungs they will develop a cough. As the disease progresses, a dog won’t be able to exercise as much as it used to. Their lungs can develop abnormal lung sounds, there can be so much loss of blood to the brain that your dog passes out. Eventually the dog will die if left untreated. There’s always been a misnomer about giving monthly heartworm medicine. Some people will tell you that you only have to give monthly medicine from spring until the first good freeze. Well this is not entirely true. Mosquitoes can live in your house all year long. They can still infect your dog if it is -10 degrees outside, so make sure you give it to them monthly. This is another medicine you need to consult with your veterinarian on which one is right for your dog. Some medicines can have adverse effects for dogs the are epileptic.

Fleas are the other pains in the you know what for dog owners. Fleas can be picked up from anywhere….the park, dog boarding/daycare, the next door neighbor, etc. Fleas can not only cause an infestation on your dog but they can cause one in your home as well. The more fleas you have, the harder it is to get rid of them. The best way to help prevent fleas is by doing a monthly treatment, yes just like heartworms, on your dog. Fleas can cause your dogs to have diseases as well. The most common one is anemia. Now I’m talking that your dog has a substantial amount of fleas on him and has had for quite sometime. Since fleas feed on the dogs blood, they essentially drain the body of it. Dogs can die from fleas. The other thing it can cause is skin issues and just plain old irritation to your dog. If you see skin lesions or your dog scratching literally non stop, call your veterinarian and make an appointment to have your dog looked at. Also make sure you talk to your vet or their staff about what flea preventative is good for your dog. Please do not buy flea preventive from stores like Wal-Mart, Target or your grocery store without consulting with your vet first. Some medicines have caused major health problems including chemical burns.

Allergies…..those of us who suffer from them know how annoying and draining they can be. Some signs that your dog is suffering from allergies are nonstop licking of their paws and the hair on top and in between their pads are a red color, ear infections, hot spots, swelling of the eyes and so on. Fortunately dog allergies, some, can be controlled by our OTC allergy medicines. Talk to your vet about a dose of Zyrtec or Benadryl to help battle them. If allergies are left too long not being treated or diagnosed, the constant scratching and itching can cause open sores and infections.

Spring is a wonderful time of year after a long winter. Please make sure it’s just as enjoyable for your dog as it is you. Now get out there with them and enjoy spring!!

Dog Training While in Quarantine

We are in a very unique situation. Because of the Coronavirus, millions of Americans are staying at home in isolation and quarantine. We’re not supposed to be out and about–nonessential activities are canceled. This also means that classes at Frontier K9 have been canceled.

But that shouldn’t mean that your dog’s progress in his training should be put on hold. In fact, now you should have more time to focus on building your relationship with your canine best friend, so it’s the perfect time to improve on that.

I’d like to share some ideas to help you with continuing your training while at home:

– Practice some K9 fitness by following our instructions on using the balance disc
Work on your dog’s sits and downs in two positions: heel (right at your side, almost touching) and directly in front. Note: Make sure they are sitting “pretty” which means nice and square and not rocked on one hip.
Practice your dog’s stays: See if you can increase the distance that you can step away from your dog while he’s in a stay (either sit or down). Remember to take steps slowly backwards. Then, increase the difficulty by walking a circle around your dog or going around the corner of the room so he doesn’t see you. Remember to praise him for his stays and don’t linger on this skill for very long.
Get some fresh air and take your dog for a walk (as long as you practice social distancing). Keep your dog close to you, and work on him walking in a relaxed manner.
– Teach him basic tricks: Asking for his paw for a handshake, or a nose touch to your hand. Remember to praise and treat as soon as he does what you ask!

And always remember to reach out to Erin for more ideas or if you have a question. We can do FaceTime conference calls just to catch up and see how you and your dog is progressing while we’re on this break.

Socializing – Why is it so important?

Have you ever watched or noticed how dogs act when they are out for a walk with their owners? Or how they behave when taken to a doggy daycare or at the farmers market? Are they walking along with their heads up, tails wagging at people? Do they have their head hung down, tail tucked between their legs and looked scared to death? Today I hope to tell you how you can help your pup be the first one and not the second.

Today’s society has made it easier for us to enjoy time with our dogs. Breweries, wineries, restaurants and farmer’s markets all make it much easier for our best friend to enjoy some of the things we do. But there are certain things you need to make sure that happen for your pet before you them into a situation that could be overwhelming for them. It is our responsibility as dog owners to make sure our dogs are properly trained and socialized before taking them out into society. Unfortunately, approximately 1 in 4 to 5 dogs have behavior issues due to poor socialization. This is why we must start them out as puppies, or as soon as your adopted dog has relaxed and settled in. The first 3 months of a puppy’s life is the most important time for socialization.

When you bring your puppy home, the breeder should have already started the most important steps of socialization. They should have been handled from birth and learned to accept touching of all their parts including their tails, legs, ears and feet. If you notice your puppy still has some issues with that, start doing it right away. You can do it while watching tv or while reading a book. There is one time that it is important to make an effort everyday to touch them and mess with them. A lot of dogs have food aggression, it’s also one of the main behavioral issues rescued/adopted dogs have. When you mess with your puppy while they are eating this will help food aggression later on down the road.

A puppy needs to be exposed to as many places, people, animals and situations as possible. Now, this should not be started until your puppy has had its puppy vaccinations. Speak to your veterinarian as to when they feel it is appropriate for you to take your puppy out and about, especially pet stores. There are diseases that a puppy needs vaccinations from to protect to them, mainly Parvo. When you do take them out and about, you are going to need to reassure him or her. The world is a scary place for pups and older dogs, that haven’t been exposed to crowds and lots of loud noises. Make sure that your time out and about with the puppy includes car rides as well. That can be one of the most feared things your puppy will be exposed to.

Let your puppy with a number of different games and toys. Different types of surfaces is another thing to make sure you expose him to. Some dogs don’t want to walk on certain types of surfaces because they are unsure or it feels weird to them. I had a client bring their 1 year old Great Dane to me not only for obedience training but also because he wouldn’t walk on grass. For whatever reason, he just avoided grass while on walks as much as possible. But with training, patience, time and reassurance he now has no issues walking on the grass. Be sure to also let your puppy explore and investigate their environment. Let them learn their new home and feel safe and comfortable.

There is nothing better than being able to take your dog with whenever and wherever you go. Hopefully these tools will help make your puppy or older dog, feel more confident in themselves and you. Cheers to a more fun spring and summer (and the rest of their lives) with your dog!!!

Retractable vs Standard Leashes

This is a question I hear so often. Not just from clients but from friends and family. So I thought I’d share my answer and reasons behind it here for all of you as well.

There are many reasons why I tell all of my clients to get a regular lead. What do I mean by that? Simple, a leash that is not a retractable one, doesn’t have part of it is a bungee. Just a regular 6 foot lead made out of leather, nylon or another type of material and has a snap on one end. The main reason I don’t recommend a retractable leash is..SAFETY.

A retractable leash has a few flaws that can cause safety issues and some can be life altering for you, your dog or someone else and their dog. Retractable leashes are just that, retractable. That is until that part of the leash doesn’t work anymore. When that happens you lose all, or what little you had, control of your dog. Your dog is now anywhere from 8′ – 10′ away from you on a little, thin cord. Do you have good enough obedience with your dog to be able to call them back to you? What if another dog comes walking by or scarier yet, charges your dog? If your dog goes to run away from you or a situation they are going to break that cord especially if they are a medium or large breed dog. Then the situation spins completely out of control. Another mechanism on the retractable leash that can fail is the lock button. This is how you’re supposed to be able to lock how far your dog is allowed away from you. Again, if this breaks you’re looking at again no control of your dog.

But besides the safety of your dog which is very important, we have your safety to be concerned with. I have seen numerous injuries on owners and handlers from these leashes. One of the biggest things is the leash getting wrapped around your legs and causing you to fall. But one of the injuries I’ve seen most is burns. People have gotten nylon burns on their ankles from the leash being wrapped around their legs and the dog pulling on the leash and running it across their ankles/legs. Believe me, no kind of nylon burn feels good.

So why do I always recommend a “normal” leash? Simple…control and safety. When you have a normal 6′ – 8′ leash, whether it’s made of leather or other materials, you have more control of your dog which also equals safety.

A normal leash doesn’t have any give in it, meaning no bungee type material in it, which now you have control of not only your dog but also something to help guide your dog. You’re able to reinforce obedience commands, direction and pace/speed. If you’re on a walk and another dog is approaching you from the opposite way with their owner you’re going to be able to keep your dog closer to you so that there is a less chance of dog vs dog aggression. There is less chance of the leash being wrapped around you causing you injury. Now this isn’t to say that if you have a nylon leash and don’t hold your leash properly that you won’t get it a nylon burn. But this topic will be covered in a later blog. But the chance of anyone or any dog getting harmed on walks or runs are much less on a leash that gives you more control than on one that you have very little to no control.

In closing, the decision is always up to the owner or handler. Unless you’re going to a class or activity that requires you to have a non-retractable leash. But I hope that this gives you something to think about when choosing a leash for your best friend. Like I said in the beginning, it’s all about safety and control.