Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Love It: Ruffwear Flat Out Leash

Last week we popped into Green Dog Pet Supply to check out their selection of dog gear.  While paroozing the leash and collar section, one of the store workers showed us the very fancy Ruffwear Flat Out Leash.  We decided to buy the leash because of all its amazing features.
Flat Out leash in the color 'Klickitat'
At $30 this leash comes in a variety of colors and patterns and is made of quality materials (as are all Ruffwear products like our favorite Ruffwear Approach Pack).  After much debate, B and I decided to get plain black so that it won't show dirt.  The 'Topo' and 'Klickitat' colors were a close second and third!
Athena likes to make sure that I didn't ditch her!
The leash is a standard 6 feet and can be used as a standard leash if you choose.  Our favorite feature of this leash is its ability to be worn around the waist for a hands-free walk.  Athena can be a puller on walks, so weren't sure if the hands-free walk would work well for her.  However, she has gotten much better at walking politely since enforcing the heel command.  Since using this leash feature for the past week, we have had very enjoyable walks!  Athena walks so nicely at our side (for the most part, unless another dog walks past us).  Watch the video below to see Athena and B in action:


The other great feature of this leash is that it has a traffic handle close to the collar clip to give control when waiting at street corners.  Even though we have been practicing heel with Athena while we wait at a crosswalk, she sometimes will get distracted and get up from her sit.  With this leash we are able to hold onto the traffic handle to ensure that she doesn't step into the street.

The final feature of this leash is that it can be a fixed leash to allow the dog to be tied to a tree or a table when on a picnic or when out and about.  So far, we have used this feature to tie Athena to the front porch when we were outside washing our cars, but didn't want Athena to get in on the action!
Talon Clip to attach leash to dog's collar
Overall, we love this leash and have been using it every day as our go-to leash!

11 comments:

  1. Nice! Hands free is the way to go! We have The Buddy System leash for Nola and love it. Whenever I see runners awkwardly holding their dog's leash as they run I just want to shout "Try a hands free leash, they're great" as I run by!

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    1. B's ultimate goal is to use this leash to run with Athena! She's not very good at running as of now though...whenever we pick up the pace from a walk to a jog she thinks it's sprinting time! Any tips on running with your dog??

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  2. Question, do you think you could post your training methods on the heel command. We just don't seem to be getting it....either dog!

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    1. We did a post about teaching Athena the heel command a few weeks ago: http://pitlandia.blogspot.com/2012/08/training-101-learning-to-heel.html

      I would suggest using a very high value treat for teaching this command (we used string cheese to teach it to Athena...she will also do ANYTHING for a piece of hot dog!). Now that she knows the command, we don't have to use such high value treats (we usually just stick to Nutro Crunchy Treats).

      We started working to teach Athena the command only in the house so that there were very low distractions (you can have the leash on or off of your dogs, but it might be best to practice it with the leash on so that they associate the command with their usual walking tools). We would encourage Athena to be at our left side at all times. We would start walking (only a few steps at first) and say "heel" a bajillion times. So within only a few steps we would say, "heel, good, heel, good, heel,....." While doing this small exercise we would hold the treat in our left hand dangling in the air right at chest level. If we held the treat too close to Athena, she would often jump up to try to get the treat. The position that you hold the treat at is very important so that the dog keeps all four paws on the ground and is looking up in your general direction because ultimately you want the dog to "heel" and be looking at you to "check in."

      Once Athena was responding to following us around in the house and looking up at us while we repeated the heel command, we would stop walking and dangle the treat at our chest level until she sat (you might have to say "sit" to get the dog to learn this part...just switch out the "sit" command later on for "heel"). The second that she put her butt on the ground, we would name the behavior by saying "heel" and then give her the treat. Our trainer is very picky, so if Athena is not sitting in the exact heel position (for example if she went and sat in front of us or if her body is not parallel to ours) we must correct her before giving the treat. We give the correction by circling our hand in front of her face (with a treat in it) to guide her to the correct position. We will also say something like, "nope, uh-uh" to let her know that she is not in the right spot.

      Now that we use the heel command on our walks, we are faced with a lot of distractions. When we give Athena the heel command we don't only say it one time. Whenever she looks away from us (even if she's still walking at our side) we say "heel" to signal to her that she needs to focus on us again). So as we are walking we are saying, "heel.....heel....good....heel....good job Athena....heel...." The reminders of this command become especially important when we pass another dog.

      Heel has become Athena's best command, even though she doesn't do it 100% every time (especially if there's another dog present). We practice the heel command on every single walk that we take. Athena must heel as we approach a crosswalk or a curb, as we walk past a yard that has a dog in it, as we pass a dog on our walk, and just randomly during the walk.

      My main suggestion would be to take this slowly! Heel is an advanced command, so don't feel bad if your dog isn't getting it right away. I watched a ton of videos on YouTube when we first started teaching it to get other's advice and to learn correct body posture for myself and Athena.

      Please let me know if there is anything that you would like me to make more clear!

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    1. You're very welcome! Thanks for reading =)

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  4. I am so impressed with her hands-free walking! You should be proud! That does look like a nice leash set.

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    1. Her leash skills have greatly improved since we first got her. A lot of it has to do with her Gentle Leader...we've tried walking her without it and it's not so pretty!

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