Thursday, Jul. 2nd 2020

COVID Updates and the Evils of Flexi-leads


COVID updates:

Our clinic will be continuing to practice social distancing and pandemic safety by doing most appointments curbside.  You will remain in your car while we bring your pet inside for the appointment.  For sick pets or more complex cases, or some particularly anxious pets, we may allow ONE person per pet to come inside IF they wear a mask.  This will generally be after we have completed the examination, obtained lab samples, and developed a treatment plan.  This will shorten the time clients are inside our building.   Be aware our exam room is too small to allow social distancing, and if our doctor or staff get sick we will have to close completely for at least two weeks and won’t be able to see any patients.  Nor will our staff get paid for that time.

Also, it saddens us to see on social media the increasing problem of bad behavior by veterinary clients towards veterinary staff.  Many veterinarians and their staff are being yelled at or blasted on social media because clients don’t agree with rules about masks or curbside service.  Be aware that most clinics are more busy than usual, operating with less staff than usual, or both.   Believe us, we treat your pets as if they were our own when they are in our clinic.  We wouldn’t work in this field if we didn’t love animals!  The veterinary field has a higher incidence of suicide than any other health profession and some veterinarians are reporting a much higher incidence of client conflicts and blame.  While we have great clients for the most part and this probably doesn’t need to be said to most of them, we ask that you be courteous to our staff on the phone or at our clinic.  We don’t like the pandemic any more than you do, but we are doing our best to deal with the many challenges we are facing. Our appointments are filling up so we may not be able to fit you in the day you call, though we do our best.   We have added new staff members to try to help with this overflow, so be patient with them!  We will NOT tolerate rudeness to our staff or to the doctor, and we DO have the option to fire clients if we feel it necessary. Luckily, our clinic has some of the best clients around and so far we’ve never had to do this.  We hope to continue our streak.

The Evils of Flexi-Leads:

You are probably thinking “Evil?”.  Unfortunately, flexi-leads contribute to many problems when we’re walking our pets with them.

First, it is IMPOSSIBLE to train a dog to walk on a loose leash without pulling using an unlocked flexi-lead.  If a dog never gets rewarded for not pulling, they never learn how to not pull.  With a flexi they always are pulling as it is never loose. Dr Leonard teaches her dogs to walk on a loose leash using a 6-foot leash and lots of little treats.  Whenever they pull on the leash and it pulls tight, she stops moving.  When they turn to find out why progress has stopped, and step towards her causing the leash to loosen, they get rewarded with praise and a return to forward movement.  If they come to the side of her leg, they get a treat.  In this way, they learn a sag in the leash and walking next to her is the best way to travel!  An unlocked flexi is never loose, so they can’t learn what it feels like to move that way.  They tune out the tension on their collar or harness. 

Second, most flexis are a fine cord or very narrow nylon band.  These can cause severe injuries if they tangle around a limb or neck, or a person’s leg.  Everything from friction burns to “degloving” skin tears, or even amputation can occur.  If you aren’t watching carefully every moment your pet is on such a leash, it’s possible severe injury could occur.  Wider or softer leashes, leather leashes, or braided fleece leads will not cause these types of injury. If you Google “injuries from flexi-leads” you’ll see what I mean.  The pictures are too graphic to include here.

Third, on a flexi lead, a pet can dart suddenly away into a dangerous situation.  You could be walking calmly along a sidewalk, browsing on your phone.  Next thing you know, your dog has spotted a squirrel across the street and darts away after it, in front of an oncoming car.  Are your reflexes fast enough to hit that button and keep your pet from being hit?  Or are you willing to risk having your fingers damaged or cut off if you grab the cord to stop the dog?  You may think this seems unlikely, but it absolutely has happened. Or your dog could suddenly attack another dog passing by and get into a fight.  This could possibly entangle both dogs in that dangerous narrow line.  A shorter lead that does not extend can prevent many of these incidents

When a pet arrives at our office on a flexi-lead, the first thing we do is push the lock button on the handle.  This way we know we have control of the pet and they can’t charge another animal, leap up and push open a door, tangle around chairs, or do anything else we can’t control.  Please do us and your pet a favor, and switch out your flexi-leads for a nice 6-foot or shorter leash.  The only time a flexi MIGHT be appropriate is in a big empty field to allow your pet to have more range while they explore without allowing them to run off. Of course, this is assuming you are constantly paying attention to prevent any entanglement. 

Dr Leonard is happy to answer any training questions you may have if you’re having difficulty teaching your dog to walk on a loose lead.  Just e-mail  !


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Whole Health Pet Center
18011 E St. Rte 58
Raymore, MO 64083

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