*What is the Mikki Jogging Lead?*
This jogging lead for dogs and owners and is produced by the Mikki company, who make and produce a wide range of grooming equipment aswell as a smaller selection of training items, muzzles, toys and walking equipment.
*The product itself*
As regular readers of my reviews will know by now I own, or rather, I am owned by, two wonderful dogs who mean the absolute world to me. I'm sure they don't need much of an introduction but regardless, there is Benson, the almost 5 year old Bernese Mountain Dog and then, Grace, his 'little sister' who is a Rottweiler.
Both breeds are renown for their high activity levels, and Grace and Benson are certainly no exception. They are the kind of dogs that you could walk to Timbuktu and back, and they still wouldn't tire, or who you could play fetch with absolutely all day long, and they'd still bring the ball back right up until they were practically falling asleep whilst standing up. Trust me, I'm currently working on a way to bottle up their energy, and make my millions flogging it on eBay, but until I've figured that out, I'm left with just the one option- doing as many different activities with them as possible, in the hope of at least dulling their never ending energy.
The newest idea that my fiancé came up with was jogging with them. Now, I can just about handle walking the dogs for a couple of hours at a time, but jogging with them?! Well, that's something else all together, and whilst my fitness fanatic fiancé could handle it with ease, little old lazy me was rather unsure!
None the less, I promised to look into the idea and reading various posts on different doggie forums, I discovered that jogging with dogs was actually very popular, and had been a success in tiring out previously un-tireable dogs like Grace and Benson. This was all the convincing I needed, and went straight to look for specialist jogging leads that had been mentioned on the forums, since these were meant to make the activity a whole lot easier, not to mention safer for both dog and owner.
The only one I came across on my online travels was this one by Mikki, so of course, that is the one I went with. Mikki are perhaps best known for their wide range of grooming equipment- bits and pieces like brushes, combs and shampoos, but as I recently found out, they also produce a line of training tools, and other practical dog items- such as this Jogging Lead.
The point in which the jogging lead differs from other dog leads is that it is designed to worn around the upper arm, rather than being hand held, so it leaves your hands free for carrying anything you may need, such as water bottles, but most importantly, it enables you to keep hold of your dog should you accidentally trip and, whilst using your hands to break your fall, let go of your dogs lead, which of course could enable your dog to dart into a road or something similar. Lastly, it also keeps the lead up and away from your or your dogs legs, preventing either of you getting tripped up by, or tangled in the lead.
The reflective, anti-tangle leads resembles a traditional telephone wire-y'know what I mean- the curly cords that attaches the older style mouth piece of landline telephones to the base, and the lead will stretch to a maximum of 6ft, and contract, at the shortest length to just over 9 inches. So regardless of the height of your dog, the lead will reach down to them with ease, and prevent any loose trailing bits of lead. The lead attaches to the owners arm using a strong Velcro arm band, and will clip onto the dogs harness or collar using a standard issue, fully rotating chrome plated snap bolt clip. The whole things weighs a minuscule 200g, so is exceptionally lightweight.
The Mikki Jogging Lead comes with environmentally friendly minimal packaging! The lead is simply attached to a piece of red and black cardboard which gives full information about the product such as instructions for use, a few safety warnings and of course, contact details for Mikki should you have any questions about the product.
*Price & Availability*
I purchased our two leads online from Net Pet Shop (www.netpetshop.co.uk) for £10.17 each, however I have since seen them in Pets At Home for several pounds more, so be sure to shop around before purchasing one.
Today, whilst double checking the website I purchased from, to remember the price I paid for the items, I noticed that there is a longer jogging lead for smaller dogs available (obviously I must have the shorter or standard version for medium/large dogs), that retails for £8.99. I presume the only difference here is the lead length, so this review will be valid for both versions of lead.
Despite walking the dogs for between 2-3 hours every day, come rain or shine, and participating in extra activities such as agility, flyball and mock gundog training 3 times a week, we have never really succeeding in 100% tiring the dogs out! They may be knackered for an hour or two after their walk or activity, but after a little sleep, they'll be up and raring to go again.
So when my fiancé suggested taking up jogging with the dogs, I was a little unsure- based purely on the fact I doubt I could jog as far as they could! But after a few 'test runs' alone, to see how far I was able to jog without risking keeling over with a heart attack, I agreed to give it a go. The idea being that me and my fiancé would take it in turns to jog with the dogs every day- a 30 minute run every evening, as a supplement to, not to replace, their usual walks.
We decided to wait until the Mikki Jogging Leads arrived before we started the jogging, since all the websites giving information on jogging with dogs, advised a specialist lead to be used to make the activity as safe as possible for both dog and owner.
Sure enough, a few days later they arrived and we wasted no time in trying them out. Here however, I must mention, that like with humans- all canine exercise should be gradually increased- you cannot expect a dog, who normally has a 30 minute slow stroll once a day to be suddenly able to jog steadily for any amount of time- it will most certainly cause more harm than good. The only reason we were able to start the jogging immediately was because our dogs were already at their peak, optimal fitness level. Always consult your vet if you are unsure whether your dog is capable of accompanying you whilst jogging.
Anyway, all that out of the way- on with the review! The leads looked pretty nifty, and rather professional but my first thought was ''they're not going to be strong enough!''. Thankfully I was wrong however, and giving the leads a good tug around, they didn't snap like I was half expecting them to.
Like mentioned earlier, the leads are designed to be worn around the upper arm, and they were very easy to fit, and once on, they were very comfortable. The Velcro arm band is easy to adjust to your required size and the material does not rub at all. At the other end, the clip for the dog appeared very strong and robust. Mikki advises that the leads can be used with either ordinary collars or a harness. We decided to opt for using them with a harness, just incase one of the dogs suddenly stopped whilst jogging, and the harness would prevent a sharp jolt to the neck, which would occur if used with a collar. Leads attached to harnesses and our arms, off myself and my fiancé went- him with Benson and myself with Grace.
It took the dogs a little while to realise that they must run alongside us, not ahead of us (it is worth mentioning that the leads will NOT be suitable for dogs who are going to persistently pull ahead- I am pretty sure they would just snap), but they soon got into the stride of things, and had the time of their life jogging along beside us.
Our first run was as expected- the dogs occasionally wanted to stop and sniff like they would be able to on their normal walks, but we've had the jogging leads for about 2 months now, and the dogs are now able to clearly distinguish between what is a jog, purely for exercise, and a walk where they can run about, sniff and play. They go loopy every time their harnesses and jogging leads appear, and absolutely love their runs.
Since we've been jogging with the dogs, they are noticeably calmer, and not as restless in the evenings. The routine we follow is a 1 hour walk before walk in the morning, a 30 minute stroll at lunch time (they come to work with me), another 1 hour walk early evening when we get home from work, and then later in the evening, around 8 or 9pm, we go out for a 30 minute jog- omitting the jog on days they do other activities such as agility etc.
Overall, I am delighted with the jogging leads, and our new found activity of jogging! The dogs absolutely adore it, and I love seeing them get all the exercise they need- and of course, it is fantastic for me and my fiancé too. We've used the leads on both arms, when we take both dogs out alone, and also one dog each when we go together, and the leads work fine either way and they are very comfortable and well able to keep a safe level of hold on the dogs.
All in all, if you've an exceptionally active and fit dog, and need a way to burn off even more energy than you are already doing so- then I can't recommend jogging enough, and these Mikki Jogging Leads are just the thing you need to get you started.
Of course, please only jog with your dog for any length of time if they are fit enough, and able to do so, and in nearly all circumstances, jogging is an activity that needs to be built up slowly. Make sure you take plenty of water (for you and your dog) and never ever run with dogs in warm weather, or within 3 hours of them eating!