5. Safety

Using the UTurn Handle Safely
for walking 2, 3 or 4 dogs by yourself






Untangle all leash entanglements in seconds
while walking

The safety/caution/warning sections from all other chapters have been copied and are shown here together for easy access.  Safety when walking dogs (or other animals or toddlers) and when using the handle must always be paramount and may apply or relate to you, your dogs, other persons, other dogs, other animals and/or nearby traffic.

1. Copied from Product chapter:

Safety/Caution Warnings 
Use by responsible adults only.  Small dogs can easily be restrained by one handler. However stronger, larger dogs especially when pulling together or lunging can pull a person down or rip the handle out of a handler's hands.  Do not use the handle with dogs that cannot be controlled. Do not use the handle when the dogs cannot be stopped by using commands.  Do not use the handle in environments that may present a danger for the dogs, the handler or other persons, e.g. in or near traffic or in crowded places or where uncontrolled dogs may be present.  Also see the safety warnings and cautions in How to Use the Handle and FAQ.



2. Copied from Product Use chapter:

Safety/Caution Warnings
We cannot emphasize safety enough, for you, for the dogs and for other people or animals around you, and near traffic.  See also under FAQ.
A summary of the warnings is repeated here:

  • Use by responsible adults only
  • Do not use with dogs that cannot be controlled
  • Do not use in environments that present or may present a danger
  • Avoid encounters with uncontrolled dogs
  • Do not let children use the handle
  • Use leashes, collars and harnesses that do not break or come loose
  • Restrict the roaming space when needed by 'choking' the leashes
  • Be careful and keep your balance when one or more leashes get wrapped around your legs
  • Never put a finger in a leash attachment hole of the handle as a sudden pull by a dog can break your finger


3. Copied from FAQ chapter:

Is it safe?
Connected to the handle - Yes, it is safe, especially when the three leashes are directly connected to the handle without intermediate hardware connectors. It is also safe with a quick-release collar as a safe connector between the handle and leash. Leashes will not get dropped or come loose. Of course all leashes, clasps and connecting collars have to be in good shape and strong enough for the size of your dogs.

Material - The handle itself is very safe and made from a strong thermoplastic material and will never break in normal use with three dogs, even with large dogs up to 100 lbs (45 kg) each. Testing has shown it is at least five times stronger than hardwood. Wood is not strong enough, as it is very poor across the grain. Wood may suddenly fracture under sudden pull loads from the dogs.  The forces in one or more of the handle's sides will then be across the grain and wood is very brittle that way. A handle suddenly breaking and one or more dogs escaping is frightening and the result can be dangerous, especially with nearby traffic.

!!Safety Cautions/Usage Warnings!!
Larger Dogs - An average adult can control 3 or 4 small dogs, even when they suddenly lunge for a squirrel, a cat or other 'attraction'. Larger dogs can easily pull a person over or down or injure a person, especially when suddenly lunging or pulling forcefully together. A fall by the handler especially on pavement or against an obstacle or near traffic can be dangerous.  The dogs escaping into traffic can cause accidents.  Safety for yourself, for your dogs, for other people or for other animals around you should always be the most important consideration.

Never use the Uturner in cases and environments where the dogs can pull you over or down and/or escape into traffic. Large or strong dogs should be well-behaved and never lunge for objects, persons or animals or have been trained to immediately stop on command. Do not let children use the handle.  Practice using the handle in a safe environment. Do not use the handle if the dogs cannot be controlled and/or near traffic or other hazards or in crowded places.  Use by adults 18 years or older only.

Another caution/warning is for leash encirclements that get wrapped around the handler’s legs. It is possible to lose your balance when stepping out or over leashes that have wrapped around you. Always use caution, lower the handle and step out carefully before the entanglement becomes  too tight.

Dropping of the handle - If the handle itself gets dropped, we found that the dogs usually stop and wait, or pull in opposite or different directions and thereby roughly stay in place, or stop on a loud command. In most cases they get confused and don’t really move away much and the handler can easily catch up and grab the handle again. Always be careful and stay away or use extra caution near traffic or other hazards. When using 3 separate leashes and you drop one and the dog escapes, then it's often very difficult to catch and retrievethe escaped dog while pulling the other two along.


Shortening Leashes - If needed for safety, you can shorten the roaming range of all 3 dogs temporarily and quickly.  Just grab the three leashes with your free hand and slide your hand e.g. halfway down, or even further, keeping the leashes bundled together and pulling the handle up or sideways with the other hand.  This is also called 'choking' or 'reducing' the leashes. It comes in handy when you anticipate that one or more of the dogs may lunge at or come to close to a car, bike rider,  another person, another dog or other animals.  Preventing a run or lunge is always better than letting momentum build up. It is always easier to restrain the dogs from a hold position than from a moving position. We use this 'choking' fairly often to keep the dogs away from cars as some of our streets don't have sidewalks.


Shortening 3 leashes quickly for safety reasons; slide one hand down and pull the handle up or sideways with the other hand



Uncontrolled Dogs - With regards to safety, we found that one should be prepared for the following (rare but always possible) danger:  Another person's dog breaking loose or escaping from its surroundings.  Most of those dogs are friendly and just curious but some may threaten or attack.  An attack with so many dogs involved is really frightening, it's a violent pandemonium to be avoided at all cost.  Therefore and if at all possible, always avoid walking close to other dogs' territory or past people with aggressive dogs.  If an attack does happen we found it better to let the handle go and immediately focus on blocking that dog's path and fighting him/her off while your team (still on the handle) gets a chance to escape (while staying together). 
A better solution may be to carry a small can of pepper spray and be ready to use it within seconds as a last resort to save your team and yourself.  We carry a 2-ft stick, a can of citronella spray, an electronic whistle and a whistle on a cord around our neck, all for immediate use.  We also carry a stungun as a last resort to defend against a pack of dogs. That sounds like a lot but any attack is really one too many. Our preference is the electronic whistle as you can already warn an approaching dog when it's still tens of yards away. If it backs off, all is fine, if not keep using the whistle while using the time to get ready with stick and spray. We have used the electronic whistle many times when we saw one or more dogs at a distance while not sure if the dogs would attack or were friendly.  We don't like to use the spray but carrying it increases our feeling of safety.  Some walkers use a citronella or soap solution spray in their own spray bottle.  Some handlers use a walking or longer stick. Others use noisemakers such as a sharp whistle, a horn, a small can filled with coins or pebbles, a device that hisses as a snake, or any device that makes high frequency sounds such as an electronic whistle.