Winter time is probably the least fun season to walk your dog, unless you’re one of those mysterious “winter is better than summer” people (Seriously: How??) You have to fret about your dog’s body temperature, while you’re shivering in your sweatpants, and then there’s the added stress of trying not to slip on an icy sidewalk or land butt-first in a foot of wet snow.
You might be gripping your leash extra tight to try and keep your pup in control- but make sure you’re gripping the right way, or else you’re setting yourself up for trouble.
This fear of slipping might be responsible for an uptick in dog walking injuries, as observed by The Chronicle Herald.
The injuries, according to The Chronicle Herald, most often happen because of “the dog jerks forward and then people fall forward and break their fingers.” These injuries can take up to six weeks to heal. And that doesn’t sound like much fun at all.
So how do you make sure you get it right? Try these trusty tips, courtesy of The ASPCA, to make sure you’re holding your leash correctly and minimizing your risk of injury:
1. Slip your thumb through the handle of the leash.
“If you are taking the dog for a sniffing walk on a long leash, or if you have a dog who doesn’t pull, close your hand – and this is all you’ll need to do.” And if you need your dog to stay closer…
2. Loop the leash over your thumb, and fold it a few times in your hand until you have the length you need.
“For a dog who is getting overexcited… a shorter leash will give you more control.”
And for the best form, your leash should be coming out from near the bottom of your hand, near your pinkie finger, when you’re done folding.
3. When you stop for a break, either put a foot on the leash or hold it with both hands and close to your body, like a baseball bat.
“If the dog is pulling hard, simply point one hip in the direction of the pull, with your legs shoulder length apart. The dog will not get any give in the leash and will likely stop pulling.”
If you let your dog pull you, your dog will pull you. If your dog feels a firm resistance, as though he’s “tied to an oak tree,” your pup is more likely to quit pulling.
4. If your dog needs more leash, you can open and close your hand, keeping your thumb through the loop. Your folds will drop easily drop free, and your grip will stay secure.
Let your pup know who’s boss, enjoy your walk, and stay safe out there!