Think you know everything there is to know about dog leashing? Well, think again! Every now and then, even the most experienced pet transporter makes the odd mistake.
Recently, we had a driver email us with some bad news – they’d lost a dog. Somehow, the pup had slipped the leash and run off into the Alabama wilds. The transporters did everything right: called the customer to let them know, contacted local authorities, and started looking for the lost pup.
But things went downhill from there. The dog was skittish and kept running away as soon as anyone approached. The weather was bad, with temperatures fluctuating from freezing to sweltering. And while the customers were understanding, the reward they put out attracted amateur dog-catchers.
A week later, the driver emailed us to report the following:
“After five days of camping in the woods, a bad thunderstorm, snowstorm, two tornadoes… washing my clothes in a dog bowl with dog shampoo and bathing with wet wipes… the dog is rescued! I’m on my way to Florida with him as we speak, praise Jesus.”
That’s dedication for you! So a happy ending, yes, but a harrowing experience for all involved. The driver’s reputation could easily have been ruined because of one moment of carelessness – businesses don’t always recover from mistakes like these. And that’s saying nothing about the trauma that the dog and the owner had to go through!
So how do you avoid ever having to go through this, or at least reduce the risk? Well, with this cautionary tale in mind, let’s talk about what leashes can do for you and your business.
Dog leashing basics
Leashing is a simple and effective method of keeping dogs out of trouble. While a dog is in your care, the best way to keep it from running away and into traffic is to have it securely leashed. In most US jurisdictions, dogs must be leashed while in public areas.
As a general rule, dogs in transport should never be outside the vehicle without their leash. Whether walking dogs individually or in small groups, consider the order in which you leash each of them. Every leash should be safely gripped or tethered at all times.
When choosing a leash, most owners and transporters consider the following.
- Length: Fixed dog leashes are often 4-6 feet long. Retractable ones, often used in training, can go far beyond that. The length must be appropriate to the pet’s height and range of movement.
- Material: Nylon is a common choice, lightweight and strong but susceptible to fraying. Leather is also a popular material, much more durable but often expensive. Metal chain is also used, typically with nervous dogs that tend to chew their leashes.
- Mechanism: Leashes can be clipped onto a collar, a harness, or both (see double-leashing below). Slip leashes are also very common, tightened around the neck to provide just enough room.
- Visibility: Leashes can also be LED-illuminated for safety purposes. When walking the dog at night, this increases their visibility and helps them stand out in traffic.
- Familiarity: Successful dog leashing always takes into account the pet’s habits. Did the owners provide the leash that their pet is used to? Is the dog known to pull forward, or does it weave from side to side? How well does it respond to verbal and nonverbal commands?
Here’s a helpful video that breaks down your dog leashing choices:
Double-leashing dogs – why, when, and how
Now that we’ve got the basics covered, let’s look at an advanced dog leashing technique. Experienced drivers on our platform recommend double-leashing for that vital bit of extra security it provides.
Double-leashing is exactly what it sounds like – a way of securing two leashes to the same dog. This way, if one leash breaks, slips, or drops, you remain fully in control. But don’t make the mistake of attaching two leashes onto one collar! That could actually have the opposite effect, causing extra strain or loosening the hold.
Instead, clip the first leash onto the dog’s collar and tether it safely (to a car seat, for example). Then clip the second leash onto the dog’s harness and, while maintaining a secure grip, untether the first one. And you’re good to go – it’s really that simple. To avoid entanglement, make sure both leashes are of similar length.
If the dog isn’t wearing a harness, not to worry – you can still double-leash. Instead of clipping the secondary leash onto the harness, wrap a slip leash around the animal’s upper body. For the purposes of double-leashing, this improvised harness will serve just as well as a real one.
For practical guidelines on double-leashing dogs, check out this instructive video.
In pet transportation, stopping regularly for food and exercise will keep your passengers happy and healthy. We know that you can’t account for everything – leashes are dropped, harnesses are slipped, and accidents do occur. But in order to minimize flight risks, keep the above advice in mind!
Whatever happens, our teams are just a click away, ready to provide the support that you need.