When a pet parent checks their dog into Pet Camp, we always ask “can you please remove your leash & collar after we put on one of our name bands and slip leads.” First time pet parents almost always ask, “Why? Doesn’t he/she need his/her collar?”
We gently explain that we don’t want anything to get caught when the dogs are playing or when they’re in their campsites and that our collars will simply tear off if there is any pressure on them. If they persist we give them some more details like: we don’t want a dog’s tooth getting stuck in their collar or we don’t want any choking during play group. These examples sound horrible because they are. But they’ve been known to happen at dog parks and at doggie day care facilities when collars are left on for off leash play.
Now we’ve been doing this off leash play thing for so many years that we even have different color name bands to remind us of other issues. For example, there are dogs who do great in play group but are leash aggressive so we need to take them to and from the play area alone. There are also dogs who have neck problems so we need to put their leash around their chest rather than their neck.
That said, even when you’re pretty convinced your right, and you have a safety record to prove it, it’s always nice when an authority figure agrees with you. It was very reassuring to read an article in the Whole Dog Journal that advocated naked play for dogs. Now we can’t let dogs play completely naked as we need to be able to identify each dog and their campsite, but we’ve created a safe and effective system that we think meets the safety requirements of the naked play movement. And we’re very proud to say that while we’ve had to replace plenty of breakaway name tags over the years we’ve never had a dental bill or choking in our play groups.
Thanks for reading!