What Type of Leash Should You Get?
You might not have given this much thought in the past. A leash is nothing but a piece of fabric that you can attach to a collar, right? What more is there to think about?
In truth, there are a huge number of different types of leashes and each of these does something slightly different. While you might not realize it, you can often make life a lot simpler by choosing the best option for your dog.
Leashes: The Basics
As mentioned, many people do not realize just how many options are out there when it comes to choosing a leash, and may assume that they will simply choose between a leather strap or a nylon strap that they clip to their dog’s collar.
This is sometimes the case. The most basic form of leash is indeed a simple connection to a collar that you can use to guide your dog. In this case, you want to look for something that is going to be tough enough not to risk breaking, and the right length in order that you can give your dog some freedom but also quickly remove the slack when you need to get them back under control.
So why might you want any other kind of leash? Well, this is usually going to depend on the way you want to train your dog and the way your dog behaves. If your dog walks obediently by your side and rarely runs off, then you can afford to give them a little more freedom and let them enjoy a looser leash in order to have more enjoyable walks. Sometimes these can also make the walk more enjoyable for you as well!
Conversely though, if your dog is constantly tugging and running off, then you need to choose a leash that is going to be comfortable but also useful for training and providing firm feedback. With all that in mind, let’s consider some of the different types of leashes for your dog.
A hands free leash is a very simple type of leash that will allow you to keep your dog under control without needing to constantly hold onto the leash.
These leashes work usually by attaching around the owner’s waist. This way, you can walk normally and allow your dog to walk by your side.
Is this a safe choice for your dog? That depends partly on how well behaved they are. As a general rule, they will normally be very safe because you can always grab the leash and provide more control when it is needed. Because the dog is attached to your waist, you’ll be able to feel if they suddenly bolt or move.
The best kinds of hands-free leashes are those that attach around you comfortably and have a piece of bungee rope at some point in the leash. You don’t want to feel a sudden tug or squeeze if your larger dog does bolt – you need to ensure that the pressure is distributed evenly. Likewise, you should look for a hands-free leash that keeps the actual cord somewhere that is easy for you to grab.
And on top of all this, try to find a hands-free leash that otherwise satisfies the goals of any leash: that is comfortable while also being strong enough to withstand your dog’s enthusiasm!
A retractable leash is a type of leash that – as the name would suggest – is retractable. That in turn means that you can let it go completely slack, or apply immediate pressure by locking the mechanism. When unlocked, your dog can run off into the distance and enjoy feeling almost no feedback against their neck. When they are locked, you can treat the leash like any other and use that tautness in order to control their movements.
We actually don’t recommend these types of leashes for a number of reasons. For one, they actually give you less control over the movement of your dog. If they run off and you allow the leash to retract, there is no way to instantly get it to become shorter again when you need it to. This makes you slower to respond, which can put your dog in danger, and which can make them a nuisance to other people.
The other issue with retractable leashes is that they can actually be uncomfortable for your dog. While they might seem looser thanks to their extendable nature, the fact is that eventually they will run out causing them to lock off. If your dog is happily bolting off into the distance, this can cause a sudden whiplash effect that is quite painful.
Finally, in order to be retractable, these leashes use a thinner material that is able to wrap around the cogs inside. The thinner material translates into more risk the leash will snap or break if the dog applies too much pressure.
If you do go for this option, look for a leash that doesn’t get too long, that is very strong, and that isn’t prone to breaking or jamming. Read reviews like you find here on DogGear!
A bicycle leash works in just the same way that a hands-free leash works. The difference? This one attaches to your bike, rather than attaching to your waist. You simply connect the leash to the bike, and your dog then runs behind you or at your side.
We don’t recommend these types of leashes for small dogs, but for big dogs that are well trained they can be a wonderful addition to your arsenal. Using a bicycle leash means that your dog can jog along next to you while you ride, thereby giving you a little more freedom to travel further with your dog, and at the same time giving you the perfect way to help them burn off calories and get into shape. This can lead to a quieter dog and an easier evening for you as well.
With all that said, keep in mind that bicycle leashes need to be particularly secure. Look for one that is made from sturdy metals and that has a hinge mechanism to allow your dog to run in any position around your bike. For bonus points, look for a bicycle leash that has reflective elements stitched in. While you and your dog might wear reflective clothing in the evening, having reflective elements on the leash can help to inform drivers more about what they’re seeing from a distance in the dark, and therefore avoid both of you!
A puppy leash can be any kind of leash that is small enough and light enough for a puppy. That said, there are a few different things that you might consider when choosing a puppy leash. For instance, you might choose a leash that is going to give your dog less length to play with, thereby allowing yourself to get them under immediate control as they’re still learning. A lighter leash is also a good idea, seeing as small dogs are often easily spooked by heavy leashes that provide a lot of resistance when they try to run.
Look for something that is short, firm, but not heavy or restrictive. Think about what a small puppy will be able to cope with, but also about what you’ll be able to use to communicate with them about the best way to walk.
A training leash is any type of leash that is suitable for training your dog and getting them to learn how to walk. Very often this will just mean a short, leather leash. This is strong and it gives you immediate control over your dog’s movements.
On the other hand though, a training leash can also mean a slip leash. This is a leash that wraps loosely around your dog’s neck, rather than attaching to a collar. What that means in turn, is that if they suddenly bolt, the leash will tighten and get them under control. That can be a little uncomfortable (though the best of these are made from low impact, softer materials) but the idea is that you will choose them for dogs that are already well trained, or just use them while training to prevent future bolting.
Either way, you might find that a training leash is too unforgiving for your tastes. In that case, there are plenty of other options for training your dog to walk well – or you could choose a prong collar instead.
The DogGear team really thinks highly of leather leashes. We have found leather leashes to be durable, strong and are able to deliver clear and precise corrections to our dogs. We have found braided leather leashes work well with high energy, strong-willed dogs. Our explosives dog handler enjoys searching vehicles and train cars with his dog on a thin leather lead.
There are other types of leashes, too. For instance, you have the bungee leash that will provide your dog with some elastic allowing them to run further – though this can make it hard to get them back under control.
Then there are leashes that you don’t hold. These ropes simply hang next to your dog, allowing them to run and play as normal, but giving you something you can grab if they start trying to get away!
The best type of leash is the one that best suits you, your dog, and the relationship that you are trying to form.