Ditch the Retractable


Pet owners’ tastes are diverse, as the billions in annual pet supply sales will attest; but this means the market is full of poorly designed or cheaply made items. Consumers should research carefully before purchasing anything for their pet, including leashes which people pick by color more than function.

Leash sales surged as city-pet ownership grew in popularity. Before that, unfettered city dogs were seen as nuisances and hazards to public health. Eradication was standard policy until the mid-19th century when dogs became fashionable accessories. The ASPCA, humane standards, and leash laws quickly followed.

The retractable leash comes to us from Mary Delaney, patent 1908, Manhattan NY. Her goal was to limit the time women spent manipulating the leash while walking their dogs. She felt dogs needed freedom to roam, and owners needed freedom to ignore it – an opinion still popular today. The retractable leash underwent several variations, settling on the current hard-plastic case, rope-cord model of today.

And it’s still terrible.

A hard plastic case is a good idea for protecting eyeglasses, but not dogs; and especially not for controlling a large dog. People’s hands come in many sizes and shapes, and although it is easy enough to find a case with a comfortable-fitting handle, the way the hand grips the handle decreases the strength of the grip. A hard, unexpected jerk from a large dog is enough to yank the whole thing out of the hand.

Once the grip is lost, the case launches through the air while the retraction mechanism engages if the safety lock is off or gets disengaged during flight. Chaos ensues. Woe to anyone in the path of that hard case. Once that hard case connects to a dog’s face or small child, there may be at best a lot of screaming, at worst severe injury. This is the exact opposite of control, which is the whole point of a leash.

A leash provides control of a dog, but also gives the dog clues for expected behavior. This owner/dog communication is a source of assurance for both dog and owner. A dog’s anxiety lessens when it knows its owner is in control of a situation. People anthropomorphize dogs and give them all the room to run, “Be free, Fido!” but that freedom can also be an unsecure environment with cars, unfriendly people, diseases, or other animals. The world has many dangers.

A retractable leash allows a dog a lot of range, which is fine in a safe area; but in tight quarters or busy places, its lack of control is more trouble than it’s worth. A dog too far out front may not respond to recall commands when danger appears or when the dog appears as a danger to others. Retractable leash cases and handles are even harder to grip in cold weather. Cheaper models have cheap parts, so the cord may break or fray, the lock may fail, the case may come apart, or the collar hook may rust or fall off.

For a tea cup chihuahua or a one-pound yorkie, chances are good that any retractable leash will hold up under the pressure put on it, however, it cannot prevent a tiny dog from getting under foot or wheel. The lock stops the cord, but then the cord can get unwieldy and wrap around legs, tripping owners in the process.  They can also wrap around dogs’ and children’s legs and necks. If an owner forgets to lock it, there is no chance to pull the dog away from a hazard. Retractables cannot replace the security and strength of a standard leash, and it feels like fire when it zips across the back of a bare leg!

My Dog Eats Grass – Is That Bad?

Bermuda Grass

Dogs love a yard salad. They can often be found munching away quietly on your lawn. Moments later they can be found puking it back up on your carpet. But don’t worry, about the dog anyway. In most cases, Fido is fine.

Why do they eat it?

  • Low-level vitamin deficiency
  • Common stomach upset
  • It tastes good

When should you worry?

  • If vomiting is accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, diarrhea, or weight loss
  • If you see blood or foreign material
  • If your dog is still a puppy the grass can cause blockages
  • If grass has been chemically treated

This is not a comprehensive list, so continue your own research regarding the types of grass found in your area, and canine medical conditions. The bullet points here are courtesy of AKC ‘s web page .

“How do I get it out of my carpet?”

There are many cleaners on the market, but I use OUT! brand pet stain remover. It works on human and pet messes, smells like vanilla, isn’t harsh, has never bleached my fabrics, and kills odor enzymes (not a paid plug). You can buy it here.

Pet Stain Remover














Dog waste bags
Doggie Bags

You work hard to earn your money, so you have a right to expect businesses to justify their prices, and explain exactly what is it that you’re getting for your dollar. So here’s where your money goes.


Waste clean-up
Training basics

Recurring Expenses:

Waste bags
Cell service
Tennis shoes
Bottled water
Cleaning supplies
Operating fees

The Unexpected:

First aid
Emergency services

Local Links

Saguaro cactus
Saguaro Cactus

Trails and Parks

Phoenix Trails
South Mountain Trails Map
Phoenix Dog Parks
Phoenix Steele Indian School Park

Veterinary Services

Blue Pearl Animal Hospital
Prestige Animal Clinic in Gilbert
Animal Hospital of Laveen
Foothills Animal Hospital

Shady Places

AZ Central Top 10 Phoenix
Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert

Local Businesses We Like

Dog Friendly Phoenix Businesses
Changing Hands Bookstore
Motto Yoga
Brennan Dental
KD Carpet And Tile Cleaning LLC
Brand X Tees inTempe
Summers Fruit Barn


Urban Suburban Apparel “Quality Gear for the Bully-Breed Advocate”
EZY Dog Life Jackets and Active Gear for Dogs

Local Volunteering Opportunities

“Tackle a campaign to make the world suck less.”

AZHS LogoAZHS Volunteer Application


WoofTrax App Screenshot
Walk dogs; earn money for charity

Hover over images in gallery below for brief explanation of
Wooftrax application screen shots

Wooftrax Mobile App dog selection screen shot
Start screen lets you pick a dog to walk with and start the walk
Wooftrax Mobile App walking duration distance speed tracker screen shot
Walking screen tracks your location, distance and time
Wooftrax Mobile App Walking History screen shot
Walk history shows your walks for the last 30 days
Wooftrax Mobile App Personal Impact screen shot
Impact screen shows what you have walked for your charity
Wooftrax Mobile App Group Impact screenshot
Group impact screen shows the impact of all the walkers for the selected charity


Walking Is Important

“Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats). Approximately 2.7 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats). About 649,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners.” ~ ASPCA


Here’s an excellent read on REACTIVITY  & BARRIER FRUSTRATION


Hank Says…

Black labrador dog lying on floor

Finding time to walk the dog is hard.

There are many reasons great dog owners
need assistance:

Long work hours
Busy schedules

Whatever the reason, help is available.

Regular exercise reduces some behavioral issues that stem from a lack of activity and/or socialization:

Excessive barking
Obsessive behaviors…

Tired dogs benefit from restorative sleep, endorphins, and
redirected energy; just like humans. Humans benefit from tired dogs.

Resume healing, and contact Canine Migration today.

Life is messy…

Muddy dog in grass…it can get messier with a dog.

Dogs require care and time, and life’s obligations can steal that away. Ultimately, the dog suffers, the dog acts out, then the owner suffers.

Worst-case scenario, the dog is abandoned to a shelter.

In 2015,Phoenix shelters euthanized 11,000 pets. My goal is to help reduce that number by helping dogs be their best.

Phoenix’s Fix.Adopt.Save program reduced the number of euthanasia cases by 71%.
29% didn’t make it. This mission is for them.

Call or text today to schedule a dog walk: (319) 899-7776