Regular physical exercise is necessary to maintain good health, both for humans and canines, but we often get so busy with our hectic lifestyles that we forget the important little things, like walking…. good for both two-legs and four-legs. Physical activity reduces the risk of disease, enhances quality of life, and exercising with your dog also strengthens the bond that the two of you share. If you have not been walking your dog (and yourself) regularly, start light and gradually pick up the pace.

Begin with short walks at slow speeds and gradually increase the time, speed, and distance. Avoid exercising your dog immediately before or after he’s eaten, and consider weather conditions. If your dog is a senior, or has a history of medical problems, work with your veterinarian to plan an appropriate exercise routine.

The most basic tool for dog caregivers is the simple leash. It is important to always keep your dog on a leash to maintain control, and it is important to train her to walk by your side to control her from jumping on people or other dogs. Probably the most popular type is the retractable leash, but it is very difficult to control a dog on a walk using a retractable leash. I prefer a 4-foot sturdy one attached to a harness, rather than a collar. I was recently introduced to a neat “safety-catch” leash which is a great idea, because in an instant your dog can jerk the leash out of your hand.

The “Safety-Catch leash” was developed by Angela Gardella, who tells how she was walking her newly adopted 7 pound Chihuahua, Kiki, and when the dog saw a squirrel, she took off, leash and all. The walk could have had a tragic ending, and she kept thinking, “Too bad a leash doesn’t have some sort of back up, like a safety-catch.” For two years, Gardella worked to develop the leash. Using her last $6,000, she took the plunge. No big company, no big investors…just a belief that if she “built a better leash, people would buy it.” One of the founders at Best Friends Animal Society offered her encouragement, and helped her find a United States source to make the leashes for her, which she packs for shipping in her kitchen. She has caught the attention of various veterinarians as well as Andy Pargh, The Gadget Guru.

I was recently saddened to learn that the Premier leashes which we have ordered for years, are now being made in China , so I am glad to find a quality product made here in the good old U.S.A. We have quite a few middle school children walking dogs at the shelter where I am involved, and we have been testing the leashes now for a couple weeks. Used correctly, they are effective! I am also impressed with the fact that even though Gardella is operating on a shoestring, and has yet to see any monetary profit for herself, she is still donating to an animal shelter, $1.00 from every retail leash sold! Not only is she an innovative entrepreneur, she is a dog lover.

If you’ve ever had a dog pull the leash out or your hand or just want to find out more about the safety-catch leash, go to her website,, email, or go to and watch the video explaining the use of the leash.