Trip [The Light Fantastic]

While The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has been working double overtime lately as evidenced by the constant stream of H1N1 Virus (nee Swine Flu) discussion, reporting, analyzing, speculating and more, lesser known perhaps is that in late March of this year they released analyzed fall data and disclosed the following fascinating stats:

• 88% of fall related injuries were associated with dogs or one of their pet items such as a toy or bowl.

• 31.3 % resulted from falling or tripping over the dog (versus the overwhelming 66.4 % of cats being tripped over) which included falls from chasing after a dog with obviously poor recall (another one of The Six Things All Dogs Should Know!)

• 21.2 % from being pushed or PULLED by the pet.

• Women were TWO TIMES AS LIKELY to be injured as males. (Hmmmmm)

The little article that mentioned this in my morning paper caught my eye both because of my chronic emphasis to clients that loose leashing walking is one of The Six Things All Dogs Should Learn and that it’s not natural. It is a learned skill that requires time, patience, opportunity, consistency and an awareness of The Three D’s and How To Measure Change.

My definition of loose leash walking is not a forced heel or rigidity, it’s simply the dog walks without tension and WITHOUT TRIPPING YOU. I might want my dog next to me, slightly behind, slightly in front, and with me in control, slight pulling to help me along when the surface is slippery as I trained Lily to do during the icy months.

Trip The Wonder Dog got his name because he is a real trip, he’s little and I knew risk of tripping on him when he was young was a very real concern, and unknown at his naming, has a, shall we say, moderate to high light obsession, hence Trip The Light Fantastic!

For all of you out there, whatever the age or size of your dog or dogs — Stay stable, be safe, be patient, take your time, and learn how to avoid scary things like tripping which can in fact have a huge negative ripple effect.

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