Monday, July 8, 2013

SociaBulls: On Leash Safety and Preventing Equipment Failure

Mr. B rides to SociaBulls in style
Though we are nearing the 2 year anniversary of our SociaBulls walking group, we are always a work in progress learning what works well and always working to improve comfort and safety for all of our pups.
As some members have been sharing their experiences of leash equipment failure on their personal walks, we decided to make some changes to the group to prevent the chance of equipment failure.
Replacing Equipment
Much like bicycle helmets can deteriorate and need to be replaced every few years to function, the same is true for the clips and buckles on collars and leashes. We know a lot of people who have had their leash clip come undone (it even happened to us a few times!) so we are now asking members to make sure they are using current equipment.

Double-Securing in Two Places
Between stories of latches falling off of leashes, prongs popping open, and dogs wiggling out of harnesses, we are asking members to begin double-securing their equipment in two places.
-We are all using carabiners as a way to double latch our leashes. You can see the example here.
-Prongs are backed up using a carabiner to attach it to the harness.
-Halters are double-clipped using this example here.

Recommending The Double Elbow-Hand Hold or Additional Waist Leashes
We've had at least two incidents when we were on our daily walk and a dog came running up to us because the owner had happened to drop the leash. We know how easily dogs can get excited and cause any of us to lose hold of their leash.
Plus we know a leash with a double loop on the end or even a knot tied towards the bottom can give extra grip.
We also know some members who have been successful double-leashing using a handheld leash in addition to a handsfree waist leash like this one. 

Using a 4-foot Leash
While dogs can get a bit further from us on our standard 6-foot leash, we like how the 4 foot leash gives us a greater awareness and a reminder to keep our dogs close to our side.
While nothing is foolproof, after hearing so many stories we wanted to make sure to create the safest environment we could for our group.

Has anyone else experienced equipment failure or had success with other techniques?

Join our Chicago SociaBulls  Facebook page for more photos and information about group walks. And check out the Hikabulls page where we first learned about the benefits of group walking.   
Please Note: As the weather has warmed up, bikers, runners, dogs, and kids have come out in full force in many of the areas that we walk. While we had previously been introducing new members a few at a time to each walk, we've decided that in order to continue to keep our group safe and make our walks a positive experience for everyone, we are putting new members "on hold" for the summer. You can still submit an application, and it will go on our wait list in the order it is received. Once things quiet down a bit more in the fall, we will resume introducing new members a few at a time to each walk, and will be contacting people on the wait list in a first-come, first-served manner.



Annie & Pauls Mom said...

I know I look like a complete dork when I do this, but I usually walk Annie and Paul by attaching them to my rock climbing harness with a climbing carabeener. I then take each of their 6 foot leashes and wrap the leash around my hand as well (to help pull them a little closer to me when I need to). The thing I really like about it is the fact that the harness is below my center of gravity. So if they pull hard for any reason, I can't be knocked off my feet.

Anonymous said...

Equipment failure is one of my worst nightmares. I'm always afraid that something will happen. There has been an occasion or two where Dottie's clip has come undo which is why I'm ordering new collars and leashes today from Sirius Republic!

Hannah@Eriesistibull said...

We recently began walking Ed on two leashes - one on his prong and one on his martingale. The leash on his martingale is 4' and the one on his prong is 3' - so much more control! We don't have any real issues with Tess (she's not a big puller and rarely willingly leaves my side), but I really should have some sort of backup for her - a carabeener might just be the ticket!

Anonymous said...

Great ideas. We've had too many equipment failures from things that aren't that old and look to be in good shape. We got a choke chain before we knew the health-related dangers of them, and have used that as a backup before - not being worn by the dog, but threaded through a head halter and attached to the collar and leash. Eddie swims on a martingale with a tie out cable attached to a leash after biting through a leash and rope to free himself while swimming. After 3 sizes of Easy Walk harnesses, we had to settle for a size that sags in the front so we use a clip to attach it to his collar. I want a leash with a traffic loop. Backups for group walks sounds smart.

Two French Bulldogs said...

Good to know. We are getting one of those for Lily. She chases motorcycles.
Benny & Lily

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