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Lifestyle Habits Drive Demand

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Leashes and collars are a staple every pet owner needs.

But, with so many options out there, what is most important to the consumer when it comes to purchasing them?

Simplicity and ease of use.

Experts say owners want to easily get their dog into the harness, collar or leash, and they also want it to be easy to use with certain key features.

Phil Blizzard, the CEO and founder of ThunderWorks, said one of the biggest trends he has seen is stretch leashes to reduce jarring. ThunderLeash addresses one of the most common behavior problems, dogs who pull when on a leash.

“ThunderLeash is very unique in that it provides one of the most effective no-pull solutions ‘built into’ your leash without compromising the basic leash functionality,” Blizzard said. “When pulling isn’t an issue, just clip ThunderLeash onto your dog’s collar like any other leash. But as soon as pulling might become an issue, a quick wrap-around the torso using the patent-pending hardware and you have a well-mannered companion on leash.”

Blizzard said that ThunderLeash addresses three major things.

“ThunderLeash addresses one of the most common behavior problems with dogs – dogs who pull when on leash,” Blizzard said. “Over 50 percent of dog parents report that pulling on the leash is a problem for them.

“ThunderLeash is a positive based solution,” Blizzard said. “ThunderLeash is quick, easy-to-use and effective, a no-pull solution that works for even those of us that can’t find the time for extended behavior training programs.”

Thunderleash is also a no-pull solution in one.

“No complicated harnesses or head collars,” Blizzard said. “No extra equipment to lug around. Anytime you encouter a pull problem on leash, the ThunderLeash quickly converts to a no-pull configuration that works like a charm for most dogs.”

Moving On Up

Katie Pusateri, the communication manager of Coastal Pet Products, said leashes consistently perform well for them and harnesses have been on an upward trend.

“A leash can be used with a collar or harness, so it is always a big seller,” Pusateri said. “Working to combat pet obesity and become more active, an increased number of people are walking their pets. As a result, leash and harness sales are on the rise.”

According to Coastal Pet Products, since people are walking more with their pets, they want harnesses and leashes that are easy to use, effective and safe. Therefore, a harness and leash that allows the owner to take an enjoyable walk with their dog is desigred. Coastal Pet Products has responded with the Walk Right! Padded Front Harness that is designed to keep dogs from pulling while walking and ensure a pleasant walking experience.  The harness itself is a step-in-style, making it simple to put on the dog.

“Coastal’s Loops 2 Double Handle Leash is two great leashes in one,” Pusateri said. “First, a traditional standard leash that allows the dog the appropriate, safe distance from the owner to explore on a walk. The second is a convenient traffic leash that allows the owner to keep the dog next to them in high traffic or congested areas, giving them the control to walk with ease in any situation.

“Lastly, Coastal’s Insta-Grip control handle leash allows the pet owner the ability to adjust the leash to any length without having to wrap the extra material around their hand. The flexible handle can be slid down the leash and slightly bent in the hand to prevent the dog from pulling the leash to a longer length, or bent back to stop the dog.”

Traveling With Dogs

Gordie Spater, president of Kurgo, said more people have become concerned with safety when dogs travel in vehicles.

“Dogs in the front seat are leading to distracted driving accidents and many states are considering legislation that requires dogs to stay in the back seat or be restrained,” Spater said. “According to a study from AAA and Kurgo, although only 26 percent of dogs owners use a vehicle restraint system while driving with their dog, 83 percent of them agree that it would be safer to restrain their dog during travel.

“The media has also been covering stories about pet travel safety, bringing awareness to the issue. Currently, no government agency has set standards for restraint products, like they do for child car seats. However, in the coming year we believe that there will be organizations that begin to set standards and monitor manufacturers leading to innovation in harnesses and other restraint products.”

As a result, consumers are becoming more interested in harnesses and leashes that also double as, or work with, a car restrain system.

For example, their Tru-Fit Smart Harness is designed both for walking and as a car restraint.

It has broad, padded chest plate for extra protection, can be used with any vehicle seat belt, functions as a auto or walking harness and has five adjustment points.

Pricing It Out

Yellow Dog Design’s Mike Dempsey said they have roughly 300 designs, giving retailers many options to offer their customers.

“I think what separates our product from others is our price points,” Dempsey said. “The way we keep the line fresh with new designs on a monthly basis and our product is produced here in the U.S.”

According to Dempsey, his best selling products are collars.

“Leads sell one for every three collars that sell and harnesses sell one for every five collars that sell,” Dempsey said. “We are seeing more attachments to the leads being produced either to hold keys, poop bags, etc. more bang for the buck for the customer.

“Here at Yellow Dog we try to keep the leads fresh by having the latest design trends that are out there or adding a handle to our existing line. One of our best sellers in leads are our rope leads that have a softer feel and are mainly in our solid colors that compliment all of our print collars we offer.”

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