Carabiners might be my favorite dog walking tool of all time. Why? Because no matter what equipment you use to walk your dogs – accidents happen and equipment fails.
I’ve seen dogs slip their shoulders out of Easy Walk Harnesses, whip their heads out of Gentle Leaders, back out of collars, and prong collars pop wide open. And when that happens…your dog is loose. Yikes.
That’s where carabiners come in. If you slap on a ‘biner, that failed equipment will still be attached to something else on the dog’s body (usually a flat collar) and your dog will still attached be to you and the leash. Carabiners are rad little dudes.
Here’s 5 ways to use a carabiner:
Connect the flat/martingale collar to the Easy Walk Harness or other body harness
Connect the flat/martingale collar to the Gentle Leader or other head halter (try a small carabiner, if the regular size is too heavy)
Connect the flat collar to the Martingale Collar
Connect the flat/martingale collar to the prong collar
Connect the leash to your belt loop or wrap the leash around your waist and secure with the ‘biner (it’s an extra layer of protection if you ever drop the leash when your dog decides to break dance at another dog).
To be more specific: Slide the carabiner through the ring on your dog’s flat (or martingale) collar and through the ring on whatever piece of equipment they are wearing, let’s say: the front ring on a body harness. Attach your leash as you normally would to the front of the harness.
Now, if the dog gets out of the harness: your leash will still be attached to the harness (now dangling loose), because it’s attached by the carabiner to the flat collar. So your dog will suddenly have an extra few inches of “leash” in that failed harness, but ultimately, you and the leash are still attached to the dog via the carabiner clipped to the flat collar.
Another view (FYI: Boogie’s collar looks loose because he’s wearing a martingale collar – I coulda/shoulda connected the carabiner to the D ring of the martingale and his collar would then be snugger in this scenario):
If a carabiner doesn’t work with your equipment or you don’t have one on hand, at a minimum, you can try clipping your leash to both pieces of equipment. You can even buy a leash with a built-in carabiner from Ruff Wear.
So head over to a camping store and buy a good one – spend a few bucks – and it will last you forever. I have a lucky carabiner that I’ve been wearing for 14 years. I’ve lent it to people during dog training classes and afterwards, chased them down the street to get it back. I mean business when it comes to my biner.
*Team DINOS fan tip: choose a carabiner that locks (like the one on the Ruff Wear leash) for an added layer of safety. Thanks Rachael M.!
And one more reason to use a carabiner:
You can keep your keys on one and tell people you’re a janitor or prison warden, like I do:
Happy and Safe Dog Walking Everyone!