Updated: Jul 6, 2021
As the pandemic hit many of us found ourselves looking for ways to occupy our free time. We were working from home and suddenly were able to take on more hobbies and responsibilities than before. If you're like me, you had the chance to give a home to a pet that was up for adoption. Many of us chose a furry four-legged friend the Canis lupus, canine, or, in plain English, a dog!
I, myself, had never had a dog before we adopted our fur baby, Delta. (I'm inserting a shameless link to her Instagram here) So boy was I in for a rude awakening when I discovered how much work having a dog really is. I thought walking would be easy. It wasn't. I mean, a collar and a leash seemed in theory to be simple enough. But Delta was a rescue from Tijuana and there was definitely an adjustment period for all of us.
All dogs vary in shapes and sizes. It can appear to the outside world that Delta, like some other bigger dogs, is really the one walking her owner instead of the other way around.
As a physical therapist, I started wondering how much damage was being done to my body every time she yanked and pulled. When Delta really wants to, she can pull me around and I'm 200 pounds. Imagine my poor shoulders and neck when she sees a bunny and bolts to catch it. And keep in mind, Delta is only 35ish pounds. I can't even fathom what a bigger dog could do.
Now I don't want to give anyone a bad impression of Delta. She's actually very well behaved on walks. But she is still a dog and she does get excited and pull on occasion. This is almost worse because I'm rarely expecting a yank when she's generally so well behaved.
So I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Typically when you're walking a dog, you're holding on to the leash handle and the leash is a single line to the collar. When you're yanked, your shoulder and back are taking the brunt of the force. A common alternative is to run the leash behind your body and around your hips (NOT the lower back) almost as if you are sitting on the leash. Now, your butt and hips are going to cushion the force of your pulling pal, or in my case my Delta(co).
But my favorite little hack is to then lace the leash through the handle, almost turning it into a belt. That way, I have an extra hand free to hold my phone or morning cup of coffee!
Give it a shot with your favorite furry friend. Let us know what you think and show your pup that you can pull your own weight!
Dr. Justin C. Lin and Delta