All of us deaf dog families know our worst fear is one of our deaf dogs getting loose. For this reason we have Tips to Keep Your Deaf Dog Safe but what about when you are walking your dog? Since I volunteer at a lot of shelters I have come up with an easy and very inexpensive way to use our newest Double Fail System. The system we use to walk dogs would need to fail twice at the human end and fail twice at the dog end for the deaf dog to get loose, so we call it our “Double Fail” because you have 4 points in place to keep you and your dog safe.

First it is a good idea to have a really well made harness. We love our Ruffware Front Range dog harnesses. They are well made and all four of our deaf dogs are comfortable in their Ruffware harnesses. The Ruffware harness also has a ring on the front of the harness for a “no pull” harness option. The second thing we do is make sure the collar on the dog fits properly (you should be able to get just two fingers under your dog’s collar). We do have personalized embroidered contact information on some of our collars (see Nitro’s collar).

(click here to view the Ruffwear Front Range harness on Amazon)

If you are on a tight budget the Puppia Harness are a great way to go – Photo below: Bowie wearing his lightweight Puppia Harness at the beach.

After getting several emails about deaf rescue dogs getting off leash and hit by cars. we decided it was time we share the systems we use on our four deaf dogs here at our Deaf Dogs Rock headquarters. Chris and I both wear a hipster belt to attach our leashes to so if an emergency arises and we need to be hands free we have that option. The belts we use are the Outward Hound Hipster.  The handle end of the leash attaches to a huge D-Ring on the belt.

Above: Our friend Erika at Green Dogs Unleashed working with training her deaf dogs wearing her Outward Hound training/walking hipster. 

The leash that comes with the Outward Hound belt is long enough to make a loop handle in the center of the leash to hold on to. Since we clip the human end of the leash to the D-ring on the belt and loop the leash in the middle it gives us a double fail system in place on the humane end. On the dog end of the leash we clip it to the harness and extender (and the extender clips to the harness and the collar),  this gives us two systems in place that would need to double fail on the dog’s end.

With the special extender I am going to show you how to make one. It takes about 2 minutes to make one of these extenders. The extender will clip to the dog’s collar and to the dog’s harness (and the belt leash clips through both the D-rings on the harness and the leash) so you have a double fail system on the dog’s end as well.

What you need to make an extender.


You can buy the D-rings (a pack of 6 is like $2 in the crafts section) and you can go to the Discount store and buy a leash for a dollar or two.

You can also use a clip like Bowie has on his extender or a D-Ring

Measure the distance from your deaf dog’s D-ring on his collar to the D-ring on the dog’s harness. Add one inch to that measurement and that is where you will cut your leash length to (measure from the clip of the leash up to keep the clip).

Take the D-Ring you purchased and thread the cut end of the leash through the D-Ring and fold over.

Cut to the length you want for your dog so the extender goes from the collar D-ring to the harness D-ring loosely. 

Thread end of the leash through the D-ring

Add a big blob of Gorilla glue to make sure your end is glued together with a strong bond

Fold over  and press down firmly.You can also use a clip to hold it in place and let it dry a couple of hours. 

The above extension tool less than 2 minutes to make!

I used Gorilla Glue. Once you fold the leash over to meet the other side of the leash, glue in place with Gorilla Glue. I always either use a clip to hold the glued parts together or set something heavy on that end while it is drying. This extender is a insurance policy to keep your deaf dogs attached to you. Also wearing the belt if you come around a corner and a rabbit jumps out in front of your dog (and your dog bolts after the rabbit) the Outward Hound hipster walking belt will keep your dog attached to you even if he pulls you down to the ground.

In my hipster belt I also carry my poo bags, high value Lean Treats to do some training on our walks, and I also carry Spray Shield Animal Deterrent Spray just in case we are approached by stray dogs.


If you volunteer at a shelter it is so important to have some kind of double fail system in place when walking shelter dogs. The extenders are awesome but the dog needs to be wearing a harness and collar to attach the extensions. This system will prevent a shelter dog from getting loose. The Outward Hound hipster belt will allow you to not only walk your deaf dogs or shelter dogs, but it allows you to carry water, high value treats, water, poo bags, your wallet and your phone.

I hope our tutorial will help you and your deaf and hearing dogs enjoy more walks, hikes and more quality time together all the while staying safe.

Rock on! ~ Christina Lee – Deaf Dogs Rock