Rea­sons to al­ways keep your dog leashed

Hartford Courant (Sunday) - - Smarter Living - By Cathy M. Rosen­thal Tri­bune Con­tent Agency Cathy M. Rosen­thal is an an­i­mal ad­vo­cate, au­thor, colum­nist and pet ex­pert. Send your ques­tions, sto­ries and tips to [email protected]­pun­dit.com. In­clude your name, city and state. You can fol­low her @cathym­rosen­thal.

Dear Cathy: You re­ally brought up a hot-but­ton is­sue the other day. While walk­ing on a trail, we came upon a large dog off leash. The owner told us not to worry, that her dog was well-trained. I pulled my Shih Tzu close to me. Her dog came over, though, and be­fore we knew it, her dog was at­tack­ing mine. I was par­a­lyzed and didn’t know what to do. My hus­band fi­nally fell on top of the big dog and stopped it.

When we tried to talk to the woman, she was quiet, wouldn’t an­swer ques­tions, then burst out in a huge fake cry­ing spell that went on and on. My Sofie was bleed­ing from the ab­domen, so we quickly took her home and to the vet for a $300 visit. Since then, we have talked with peo­ple about their off-leash dogs, but I find many of them

su­per­cil­ious in at­ti­tude. —

Bar­bara, Tuc­son, Ariz.

Dear Bar­bara: What a hor­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ence for you — and she didn’t even pay your vet bill.

There is no way to know if an ap­proach­ing dog is a friend or foe, re­gard­less of what the owner says. Dogs can re­act to a va­ri­ety of things, so if a big dog ap­proaches, leashed or not, get in the habit of pick­ing up your small dog un­til you pass safely by the other dog.

Own­ers of un­leashed dogs need to un­der­stand that peo­ple are of­ten afraid of an ap­proach­ing dog and that their fear can change how their dog re­acts in any given sit­u­a­tion. Keep dogs leashed. It’s the law, and it’s the safe and neigh­borly thing to do.

Dear Cathy: I’ve been fos­ter­ing abused and ne­glected dogs for about five months. They pulled on their leashes, which pro- duces ten­sion on their necks and causes stri­dor (harsh vi­brat­ing sound) when they sleep. Leash train­ing takes time. The vest and other walk­ing de­vices also cause prob­lems. I think col­lar­ing/ leash­ing dogs is cruel now and pre­fer to teach them to walk off leash. As for res­cue dogs, (be­cause I have no choice) I use a prong with a quick pull; it stops the pulling, and they quickly learn not to do it. So, peo­ple like me walk their dogs off leash when pos­si­ble, and we are usu­ally very cour­te­ous and main­tain dis­tance with peo­ple, or we put our dogs in the sit position and let oth­ers pass. — Mar­i­lyn,

via email

Dear Mar­i­lyn: Thank you for fos­ter­ing abused and ne­glected an­i­mals. Walk­ing dogs off leash, how­ever, may be eas­ier for you, but it of­ten scares other pet own­ers. You don’t know enough about the per­son­al­i­ties of th­ese fos­ter dogs in the lit­tle time that you have cared for them to know if they will lis­ten to you or be­have around other peo­ple and an­i­mals.

You do have choices when it comes to col­lars. Please try the Haltie or Gen­tle Leader head col­lars on your fos­ter dogs. They work al­most like a horse hal­ter wrap­ping around the face and snout, so you have bet­ter con­trol of the dog, and they will im­me­di­ately stop pulling. I prom­ise you will love th­ese head col­lars as a train­ing de­vice, and your neigh­bors and other dog walk­ers will ap­pre­ci­ate your thought­ful­ness in keep­ing th­ese res­cue dogs leashed.

Dear Cathy: I read your column, and I en­joy it very much. You asked for sto­ries about keep­ing a Christ­mas tree up­right when an­i­mals are present. Here’s mine.

I am a re­tired art teacher, but many years ago I also had some pri­vate stu­dents. One of my stu­dents was ex­tremely tal­ented, so I got per­mis­sion to take her on a field trip to a lo­cal art gallery owned by a friend of mine. When I ar­rived at her home, her step­mom in­vited me in. I no­ticed that the Christ­mas tree had a chain wrapped around the trunk and firmly at­tached to a large eye-bolt that screwed into the wall. I asked, “What’s up with the chain and eye-bolt?” She replied, “Six kids, five dogs, three cats, what do you think?”

Thanks for writ­ing such an in­for­ma­tive column. —

Nancy, Gurnee, Ill.

Dear Nancy: Your let­ter made me laugh as I imag­ined the may­hem in that house­hold. Both kids and pets can knock over the Christ­mas tree, so I love the fam­ily’s in­dus­trial strat­egy for keep­ing their tree up­right. An un­break­able chain hooked to the wall seems about right for their fam­ily of 15. Thanks for shar­ing.

DREAM­STIME

Keep­ing your dog leashed is a ne­ces­sity.

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