We all strive to have those lovely relaxing saunters where you enjoy your dog’s company strolling along the pathways in your local field or forest. But this is not how walks are for many dog owners.
All around the world, shoulders are being pulled out of their sockets, elbows are jarred, and did you know that you can actually end up with tennis elbow from a pulling dog?
No? Let me explain.
Some years ago, I was looking after a whippet and a greyhound for a client. They were lovely dogs, but unfortunately, they were lead pullers.
On this occasion, the greyhound had cut her leg a few days earlier and, sporting a lovely even row of stitches, was confined to lead walking exercise only.
I took them both on a nice walk through our local fields along the local river. All was well, and I had let the whippet off the lead as he was a sensible lad who loved racing around the field chasing imaginary bunnies, while I had kept his companion on her leash.
But things soon changed as another dog walker came into view. Her dog was off the lead, and she was throwing a ball. Not a problem usually, but as I had the greyhound on a lead, I shouted to the dog walker asking her to stop throwing the ball as she went by.
My charge had spotted the ball, and playing fetch was one of her favourite games. This meant that she was starting to get a little fired up. I heaved a sigh of relief as the dog walker picked up the ball and stopped throwing it for her dog as she came closer, I was able to have a little chat with her explaining the situation.
All was well until we parted ways. I had not gone 10 yards before the ball whizzed over my head. My charge spotted the ball flying through the air and I quickly discovered that she, being a greyhound, was able to go from a gentle stroll to 200mph in just 3 paces.
I can tell you, as she hit the end of her lead, it felt like my arm was being ripped from my body. The jolt was so powerful that before I realised what was happening, I found myself face first on the ground being dragged by a now over excited greyhound.
I ended up going to A & E that evening as the pain in my arm was excruciating. After a series of x-rays and other tests, it was determined that nothing was broken, but there was ligament damage. An appointment with the physiotherapy department was arranged and it turned out that the injury I had sustained was tennis elbow.
Injuries like this are more common than you might realise, and what starts out as a pleasant walk can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are some very simple skills that we can teach our dogs to ignore balls flying over their heads, cats running across our path and scents wafting in the air. by teaching your dog self-control we can get them to ignore these things and pay attention to us instead.
If you would like to learn how to do this head over to my shop and grab yourself a copy of my new book “No Pulling Allowed: From Painfully Disappointing Drag to Delightfully Relaxing Stroll”. I’ll even sign it for you and include a little gift just to say thank you for ordering.