Tuesday, November 8, 2011

EzyDog Mongrel leash review, featuring video of crazy desmond!

i am thrilled to tell you that i have received an EzyDog leash, free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion of the product. that's correct, we of the leash reactivity woes that have gotten so bad as to have caused my poor husband a sprained finger (true story!) have been given a leash to make life-with-a-dog-who-pulls-like-mad less painful.

the exact product we got was the Mongrel (with a Mongrel extension). here it is looking very lovely in our poorly lit home:

the Mongrel attached to the extension

a somewhat closer look shows where the Mongrel attaches to the extension. the Mongrel can be used alone for times when you'd rather keep your pup as close as possible.

the shock-absorbing material

the cushy foam that's wrapped around the triangular handle

i used the leash over the course of almost two weeks before writing this review.

my initial, rambling reactions upon first using the leash for a morning walk before work were as follows:

can i use this with the easy walk harness? i am really convinced he walks more calmly in that thing, but i don't have time to figure it out right this second, so regular collar it is. i like that it keeps him pretty close. he definitely notices when he gets to the end of the leash, but it's not a jerking stop. he doesn't seem to be getting hurt by reaching the end. i like how it kind of bounces him back a little. it makes him turn and look at me. i definitely don't feel like my arm is gonna fall off. the leash doesn't really stop him from pulling, but it seems better for us both when he does pull. liking the foam grip handle but kind of wish it were a cloth loop with the foam around it instead of a handle. am i just so used to my current leash grip? i'm not sure i could really get used to this one-handed thing. nervous i'm going to lose hold, even though it feels like i won't. the foam gives me traction, but i'd feel better if i were using two hands like i usually do. being able to hook the handle around my wrist would sure make poop cleanup easier. what if he bolts while i'm picking up after him and i don't have a leash wrapped around my wrist 9834574975 times? actually, he may have been pulling this morning because of not using the easy walk.

(it's like a little peek into my insane diary, no? we're all closer now, kind of like BFFs.)

another day, i used the leash again and took the time to try it with the harness. i am not entirely convinced that the harness stops him from pulling, but he seems to equate it with "training walks" so it helps out, even if only mentally.

i love that the new leash just so happens to match our harness. bonus points!

once the Mongrel was attached to the harness and we were on our way, it worked just as well as the regular collar, if not better. i was worried about the ring being in the front of desmond's chest on the harness as opposed to the ring being behind his neck on the collar, but all was fine. we had the same experience as the first go-round: when desmond pulled ahead, the leash stopped him without either of us getting a jolt.

pulling a bit (FYI, all of these pictures are from a walk we took after the walk i described above, but it turned out to be very similar, so it all worked out.)

sitting semi-nicely on the corner

walking more calmly

taking a break at the marina

taking a treat for being a good heeler

finally realizing that i've had treats this whole time and he should behave so he gets more

lovely walking, desmond

getting a little ahead is OK by me, as long as we've got slack. thanks, des!

i have also gotten another opportunity to pick up poop while using this leash and have realized that the triangular handle totally fits over my hand and wrist. not everyone will be as lucky, but this is a great coincidence for me, because it's much better to have two useable hands for this super-fun activity.

on one of our morning walks, when it was just me and desmond, i got to really test out the leash because the crazy dogs across the street were out. as per usual, he went bonkers and pulled like whoa.

my immediate reaction was to grab the lead with my free hand because desmond usually tries to drag me into the street and down the block (we are used to a six-foot cloth leash and a two-hand grip on it, as shown here). i will probably use two hands most of the time in these situations with other dogs--god forbid i lost hold of the leash and he started running (i surely can't catch a greyhound)--but at least this time i didn't feel like my face was going to make friends with the ground. that was a lovely change. i still had to drag him away and hold on tight while doing so, but neither my arm nor my hand got hurt in the process and all my fingers are intact, sans leash burn. woo!

on yet another day, we went for a walk as a family to document the leash in action, and the crazy dogs were outside. after so many days using the Mongrel, however, i was feeling more confident in my ability to hold on to the leash in a pulling emergency (you'll see that i do not use two hands in the video).

oh, yes, i just said video. video of desmond and the crazy dogs. remember when i said i'd try to get that for you one day? how lucky are you feeling right now? please note that desmond pulls so hard at one point that my DawggieGoPak comes flying off. please also note that you can hear the man whose crazy dogs these are screaming at them from way in the back of his yard. (i hope this works...)

note: no dogs or humans were hurt in the making of this video. thanks, Mongrel!

now, i'm not saying i'd be willing to just start traipsing around the neighborhood,  gleefully walking toward dogs with desmond (leash reactivity does not fix itself), but it's nice to know that, in the meantime, i don't have to be so worried about any of us getting hurt, plus it will be easier to drag desmond away. the leash is like having stronger arms or an extra person helping you pull without feeling like you are choking your dog.

let me be clear: the leash did not stop desmond from pulling. the Mongrel is not a magical cure for leash pulling, and that's OK. i don't think that's what the leash is meant to do. it's meant to give you more control over your pulling dog--control that's easier and more comfortable. it has been accomplishing that very well.

we do wonder what the lifespan of this leash will be, seeing as how desmond tests its abilities nearly every time we walk him. at some point, will the elasticity give out? this remains to be seen. that being said, i will continue to use the Mongrel on our walks, training or otherwise.

bonus review: do you have more than one dog that you'd really like to walk at the same time? well pop over to My Brown Newfies to check out jen's review of the EzyDog Cujo with extensions for her two Newfs.

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