Some dogs are … shall we say … more difficult to walk than others?
Everything might be going fine while walking your chocolate Labradoodle, Sweet Pea, until you pass another dog and suddenly Sweet Pea is on her hind legs lunging, “strangling” herself and squealing like a crazed Chewbacca!
Probably what Sweet Pea really needs most is consistent training and socialization over time, but dog owners also need the right tools to help control their dogs in these situations.
One tool I recommend is a martingale dog collar
What is a martingale dog collar?
A martingale collar is a training collar that will tighten slightly under tension but not enough where it could choke the dog. It’s also called a limited slip collar. If the dog pulls or if you prefer to lightly tug on the leash, the collar will tighten a bit. When the tension eases, the collar will loosen again.
As you can see below, a martingale collar has two loops—one to go around the dog’s neck and the other is used to tighten the collar under tension. You would adjust the collar to properly fit your own dog. You can get a martingale collar made with nylon, leather or part nylon/part chain.
Here’s a closer look at the personalized nylon collar from dogIDs:
Reasons to consider a martingale collar for your dog
1. A martingale collar allows you to give your dog gentle corrections.
I like to gently tug on my dog’s collar at times to get his attention, and a martingale collar allows me to do that. It’s not really a “correction” but more of a way to re-direct his attention and then reward him.
[quote_right]A martingale collar allows you to give your dog gentle corrections.[/quote_right]Some dog owners are not comfortable with choke chain collars or prong/pinch collars, so a martingale collar is a nice alternative because it only tightens so far. Some dog owners are embarrassed to put a chain collar on their dogs because of what someone else might think. Also, some dog training classes will no longer allow choke collars.
On the other hand, martingale collars are not controversial. They’re used successfully by many different dog trainers and dog owners. They’re a good “middle ground” collar.
Since a martingale collar will gently tighten under tension, it’s difficult for a dog to slip out of the collar or back out of the collar. For this reason, I prefer martingale collars for my foster dogs or any rescue dog I’m handling at adoption events. It’s far too common for dogs to slip from their regular collars and bolt. A martingale collar is an easy way to decrease that risk.
Specifically, martingale collars are a good safety collar for greyhounds or other breeds with narrow heads. These types of dogs can easily slip out of a regular collar.
The same goes with dogs that have wide heads and wide necks, like pitbull-type dogs (see above). Some of these dogs can also easily slip out of buckle collars so martingales are a safer option.
3. A martingale collar is a good training collar for a puppy.
When I start taking our puppy Remy for walks and to training classes, I’m thinking a martingale collar might be best for him. A martingale collar will allow me to gently re-direct Remy’s attention and prevent him from slipping out. It’s also much gentler than a choke or prong collar. If you read my blog you know I’m obviously not against these tools but they’re not always necessary either.
4. Works as an everyday collar + training collar.
When you use a choke or prong collar for training, it’s best to use it only for training for safety reasons. This is because the chain collar could accidentally get caught on something and injure your dog (or worse). A martingale collar, on the other hand, can be worn all the time—for training and for lounging around the house.
5. Good alternative to the Gentle Leader.
If a dog owner chooses not to use a choke collar for training, another popular training tool is the Gentle Leader (or Halti) that fits around the dog’s muzzle.
While Gentle Leaders are handy for extreme pullers, they are a bit much for some dogs and not really necessary. I find that a martingale collar is a good option for those uninterested in the “extremes” of choke/prong collars or head halters like Gentle Leaders.
So I could go on and on listing the benefits of martingale collars, but I think you get the idea.
Ordering information – Martingale dog collars from dogIDs
The nylon martingale collars from dogIDs are available online or $29. They come with a free engraved buckle and are available in 15 different colors.
Because of his illness and inactivity, I’ve noticed he’s lost some muscle mass, especially in his hind legs and back. Ace has never had much fat (must be nice!), but now he’s skin and bones in those regions.
Exercise is obviously important for many reasons …
Specifically for Ace, my exercise goals for him are:
1. Keeping him as physically active as possible.
2. Building or at least maintaining muscle.
3. Giving my dog a purpose and a job.
4. Keeping his mind active.
5. Spending time with my dog.
These things are important for all dogs, but especially an aging dog.
Note that weight loss is not one of our goals but that is another obvious benefit for a lot of dogs.
Exercising my senior dog is very simple …
It involves several short “strolls” each day:
Morning: 20-minute “stroll” around the neighborhood.
Noon: 15-minute potty break where Ace does a lot of sniffing and standing around in the grass.
Late afternoon: 25-minute stroll around the neighborhood.
2 x per week: Take Ace somewhere more interesting like a park or trail so he gets to get out and explore fun areas for 25 minutes or so. Ace seems to still enjoy these little “adventures.” We typically do this on Thursdays and Saturdays.
I plan to continue all of these things very consistently even after we pick up our puppy this weekend.
My time with Ace is very important, so most of his walks will be without the puppy. I want to be able to focus on Ace. Plus, it’s good for the puppy to be left alone for a bit anyway.
My “strolls” with Ace are extremely slow. He’s starting to remind me of my old foster dog Sweet Dora. It takes Ace and I about 20 minutes to go a half-mile, but at least my old guy gets to be out and about, sniffing things, exploring and being a dog.
Ace seems to enjoy going on these little strolls and “fieldtrips,” and it’s a relaxing part of the day I look forward to.
Soon, I hope to add some light swimming and water retrieving once or twice a week but for now I’m holding off because of Ace’s health issues. His issues are difficult to explain so that will have to be for another post, but he can’t be in the water at the moment.
[quote_center]Ace seems to enjoy going on these little strolls and “fieldtrips,” and it’s a relaxing part of the day I look forward to.[/quote_center]
My ideas for exercising old dogs
For those with older dogs, here are my suggestions for exercising them:
1. Just get moving, even if it’s slow and a lot of standing around. Standing is better than sleeping all day!
2. If slow walks are boring for you and your dog, drive somewhere more interesting like a local park or trail.
3. Be flexible. Plan on turning around if needed or changing plans all together.
4. Learn to relax and appreciate slowing down! (That tip is specifically for myself because I’m impatient.)
5. Consider giving your senior dog pain medication if necessary. Weigh the pros and cons to this, and remember it’s about providing the best quality of life. Ace takes a medication called Vetprofen.
6. Massage your dog every day.
7. Try some light swimming if it’s safe for your dog.
8. Schedule the time in your day to exercise your senior dog. It’s easy to skip it when they’re older and don’t “need” it like they did when they were young and hyper.
9. If your dog still has a lot of energy but gets sore on long walks or runs, consider a dog backpack with a very light amount of weight. This can help your dog burn more energy in a shorter amount of time and gives her a “job.” Older dogs need “work” to do too!
Use coupon code THATMUTT to save $2 per supplement
Note: That Mutt and PetVi have partnered to bring you this post. We’re giving away FIVE bags of PetVi’s supplements & 5 jars of probiotic treats. Leave a comment to enter.
Should you give a dog supplements?
We all hear about the benefits of dietary supplements for dogs, like glucosamine and probiotics, but it’s easy to ignore those recommendations and hope for the best.
I understand this.
Joint and digestive supplements for dogs are expensive, so like most dog owners I’m not very motivated to make changes with my dog’s diet unless he has an actual health issue like sore hips or tummy troubles.
Most of the people who read this blog are already spending at least $75 a month on dog food (and some, a lot more than that!) so we would hope our dogs are getting the nutrients they need from the high-end food we’re buying.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Most dogs can benefit from dietary supplements because:
1. When commercial dry dog food (kibble) is made, the cooking process removes many of the beneficial enzymes, vitamins and minerals.
2. Every dog is different with unique needs. Supplements allow me to adjust the diet for my individual dog.
PetVi Nutrition sent my dog Ace and my cats several of its supplements to try. These are focused on digestive health, allergy relief and joint health. Below are the products available through PetVi. Leave a comment below to enter our giveaway.
Use code THATMUTT to save $2 per supplement at checkout.
Supplements for all types of diets
PetVi’s supplements can easily be added to any type of dog or cat food. You simply sprinkle it over the top of your pet’s food and mix it in. You can add water if your pet prefers.
Dry or canned dog food
We’re lucky there are so many brands of healthy dry and canned dog food available. But even when the food contains high-quality ingredients, many of the natural enzymes and vitamins are lost in the cooking process.
PetVi’s supplements can help because they naturally replace many of those vitamins.
PetVi’s digestive supplement includes:
Probiotics: Live microorganisms for digestive and immune health.
Prebiotics: 100% pure sundried California alfalfa + trace minerals and vitamins.
Omega-3 rich flaxseed for skin and coat health + organic zinc.
Homemade dog food
Some dog owners choose to make their dogs’ food themselves. That way, they know exactly what their dogs are getting and where each ingredient comes from. This can be helpful for managing a dog’s food allergies.
[quote_center]with homemade dog food you still run into the problem of losing some nutrients when the food is cooked …[/quote_center]
Of course, with homemade dog food you still run into the problem of losing some nutrients when the food is cooked, so that’s where certain supplements can help.
Raw dog food diets
A raw diet is the healthiest option for most dogs (and cats too!). Real, fresh food is generally best for everyone, and dogs and cats are obviously meat eaters!
But even pets on a raw diet can benefit from supplements. For example, I like to give Ace a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement because he’s a Lab mix and unfortunately prone to joint issues.
Plus, if you make homemade raw dog food, supplements can give you some peace of mind for providing your dog with properly balanced meals over time.
Of course, feeding our pets shouldn’t have to be complicated. That’s why PetVi’s supplements are designed to make everything as simple as possible. Just mix it in with your pet’s food. Done.
And don’t forget, PetVi makes supplements for kitties too! 🙂
Readers’ feedback – PetVi digestive supplement
Some of my readers entered to win a free bag of PetVi’s original supplement last month, and some of you took advantage of the $2 off coupon code THATMUTT.
If any of you would like to send me your feedback on the products, I’ll add it in a future post – a sentence or two with a picture of your pup.
Blogger Lindsay Stordahl Lindsay Stordahl (with her mutt Ace) is the blogger behind That Mutt.
Blogger Julia Thomson Julia Thomson (with her mutt Baxter) writes regularly for That Mutt.
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