MinuteRant: You don’t NEED to use all of that six-foot-long dog leash!

I attended a local gathering last week for human and animal fans of rescue, and while scanning the crowd I noticed AGAIN that lots of petparents have no idea how to restrain their furkids properly in public.

A leash is a tool intended to help the petparent maintain control of their furkid.  Our dogs and cats and ferrets and rabbits may enjoy hanging out with us in public, but they lack a certain awareness of their surroundings.  They’re ignorant of the finer points of behavior in a crowd, and must depend on their parents to guide them.

The leash allows petparents to keep their furkid close to them at all times, and to monitor the furkid’s response to external stimuli, such as the darling three-year-old child of man with the stick of cotton candy bigger than her head.  Tighten up on that leash, please, sir!  Just because you HAVE a six-foot-long leash, madame, that DOESN’T mean you have to USE all six feet!

There’s a loop on one end to go around your wrist, just in case you lose your grip on the leash.  SO PUT YOUR HAND ALL THE WAY THROUGH THAT LOOP and then grab the leash a little further down!  If you stick your fingers through the loop and hold on to the very end of that leash, your furkid has a whole lot of area around you in which to wander unmonitored.  That leaves your pet vulnerable to getting stepped on by other people, or picking up some tasty tidbit of trash which you don’t want them to throw up on your carseat later, or maybe even getting tangled with a stranger and injured in the resulting fight.

On a less-dangerous but more annoying note, allowing your animal to wander at the very end of its leash means they’re getting in other peoples’ way, blocking their path, and maybe even tripping them.  This is just RUDE, my friends.  Please stop to consider the other beings around you, and be polite by not blocking the way!

It always amazes me how much land a Great Dane can occupy.  That area is squared–nay, CUBED–by the factors of a six-foot lead and the owner’s outstretched arm.  There’s a lot of traffic that comes to a halt because of a big dog at the end of a long lead held in the owner’s fingertips.

Just as hazardous, though, is a toy breed at the end of a FlexiLead.  Chihuahuas seem to be much more confident than they should be, given their size, and you will ALWAYS find a Chihuahua at the very end of their Flexi.  Flexis may be more dangerous than a regular nylon or leather lead because they multiply the distance factor so hugely.  Your dog is sneaky:  He can get into trouble when he’s only two and one-half feet away from you, so consider what he can accomplish if he’s 10 or 12 feet away!  And Flexis are insidious–the cord is very lightweight and can be difficult to see in a crowd.  A distracted owner remains connected to their dog, even though 12 or 15 feet of cord may have played out between the two.  The owner regains consciousness, decides to look for their dog, releases the lock on the Flexi, and 12 feet of spring-assisted cord zip back into tension through the air, cutting off limbs of innocent bystanders and throttling other nearby pets.

All right, the hyperbole was awfully heavy in that last paragraph, but have you ever had a rope burn from a Flexi?  OWIE!  There are limited applications for the Flexi, and walking in a heavy crowd is NOT one of them.

Petparents, take your furkids with you whenever possible, but be considerate of them and of others around you.  Don’t let your pet wander at the end of its leash, and PLEASE make sure that whichever specie you decide to love, that you can safely control them in public.  Oh, and it would be NICE if you’d carry poop bags with you and USE THEM WHENEVER NECESSARY.  People who like dogs don’t necessarily like dog poop.  Thank you.

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