I know, I know, I fell for the same gimmick as you. The cute dog, so well behaved behind the caged door, licking at your hand, warm eyes promising to always sit when you ask and help you win the heart of cute blonde joggers. Of course, once Remington got home, he decided that going for a walk should be an all out onslaught of pulling, jerking, and chasing squirrels.
My first stop on the road of leashes was a fairly standard lead that was 5 feet long with a normal hand hold and an additional handhold right at the connection, for tighter control. Unfortunately, there is no middle ground with the 50 pound Korean Jindo – Labrador mix either glued to my hip or five feet away trying to chew through a tin can of mini-hot dogs. First – who throws away a whole can of mini-hot dogs and second – why didn't I know you could buy hot dogs in a can?
Back to the situation at hand – dogs pulling on a leash. As a manly man, I wasn't ever worried about losing control of the dog as, if it came down to it, I would just toss him over a shoulder and march him home, maybe even stopping to bench press him in front of some single ladies. But to make life easier on myself and others who would have to take turns walking this lean mean walking machine, I started searching for solutions. While digging through tons of free coupons for doggie toothbrushes and the next stage in tennis ball evolution I came across a strange product with a silly name – The Wacky Walk'r. The leash promised to take the jerking out of the walk, prevent the dog from chewing at the leash (one of Remington's favorite past times), and make for a generally more relaxed walking experience. Worth a shot, at any length.
Speaking of length (stop giggling), I opted to go with the Wacky Walk'r Urban, a shorter model that measures a bit longer than 18 inches and, due to the elastic tubing used in its construction, could stretch out closer to 3 feet. Living in Los Angeles with lots of short side walks, other dogs, and heavy traffic, I wanted to maintain a short leash and total control of the dog. To that end, the Walk'r provided help in two areas: the short length of the leash overall and the short lead right at the connection. This is just a loop of canvas material that allows you to take very close control of the dog for things like walking across the street or stop him from making sweet, unwelcomed love to a bichon frise.
Overall, the leash was a very welcome addition to my arsenal. There are never any violent jerks – the elastic tubing takes the brunt of the force. Remington, despite being rather strong for his size, also couldn't keep the leash fully stretched out very long before the elastic band pulled him right back. If you want to be a jerk about it, like I sometimes do, you could also give a slight pull and pop him off his front feet as the band retracts. The addition of the short hand hold is welcomed for those times when you need to squeak through small areas. Another positive benefit of the rubber tubing construction is cleaning – just wipe it down and no matter what gunk it got pulled through, it comes off quickly.
As for the claim of being a leash that discourages chewing, Remington is undecided. He chews on this leash less than his other one, but he definitely hasn't stopped biting it while jogging or when he randomly feels like sinking his teeth into something other than my hand. The stretching aspect of the leash, which is its greatest asset, also provides one drawback – in eliminating the jerky motion of standard leads, you lose the ability to jerk the chain. If you pull back quickly to stop the dog from trying to eat a cigarette butt on the ground, you may just stretch out the leash and the dog, having not been jerked around, will just continue eating garbage. After following a short learning curve, you definitely get the hang of just how to move the leash and pull to guide the dog away from threats and other areas you don't want him going, so its not too big of a deal.
At the end of the day, the Wacky Walk'r is definitely a great tool to use with your dog, especially if they tend to take off or pull hard at the leash. The leashes come in a ton of different colors and there are three lengths – a regular 3 foot leash, the Urban 1.5 foot leash, and the ultra short Stubb'r leash. Leashes are also available for all sizes of dogs, ranging from your tiny toys to your medium sized 50 pounders all the way up to the size of “Huge.” Check out the Wacky Walk'r website to find out how to get one for yourself and take some of the physical pain out of walking the dog. The emotional pain of watching your dog continue to pee on his own front legs and eat discarded napkins remains, however. And if you take my recommendation to check out the Wacky Walk'r, make sure to have a look at some of their accessories. Multiple-dog owners might want to invest in the Crazy Coupl'r, a rubber splitter that allows two dogs to be walked on one leash. Thanks to its design, which I fumbled around with and used to clip objects to my dog (kidding), the Coupl'r can not become tangled like many models can, which is nice. So quit reading things on the internet and go outside and walk your dog!