Shopping for a leash for your dog seems like it would be an easy task like picking out socks. But just like socks, there's a specific use for different types of leashes, just like how you shouldn't wear your quirky socks to a black-tie event. There are so many different leashes on the market that choosing one leash may seem overwhelming. How do you know what leash is appropriate for your dog? Just looking at the best seller or what other dog owners have may not guarantee the best choice for your dog. Most leashes are great for any dog of any size. An advisory against specific leashes is due to a dog's leash training. Dog owners should have their dog leash trained before investing in particular leashes if your dog has a habit of pulling their leash or gnawing at their leash. Both are poor leash habits that, as dog owners, it is important to nip in the bud as early as possible.
Should My Leash Be Thick or Thin?
Is there a difference between the thickness of a leash for dogs? Yes. District Dogs says that thicker leashes have more control and durability, and they are less flexible than thinner leashes. Thicker leashes are better for medium to bigger dogs, while thinner leashes are better for smaller dogs. Keep in mind that thinner leashes can be rough on an owner's hands, causing leash burn or cuts.
What Length is Too Long for a Leash?
As mentioned before, leash lengths that the average leash length for dogs is usually 6 feet long. The activity at hand can determine the proper leash length. The American Kennel Club mentions that leashes that are shorter than 6 feet are great for training and everyday tasks. Leashes that are longer than 6 feet are great for outdoor activities like hiking.
What Type of Leash Should Be Purchased?
Each leash has a purpose for its use, depending on your dog's leash training, activity, and habits. It would be best to look into a leash that suits your dog's needs. Some pet owners invest in multiple leashes due to different activities, while some like leashes that are versatile and can have numerous uses.
A standard leash is a popular choice for a good reason. Standard leashes are perfect for when you are training and in everyday use. They are easy to attach and take off from your dog's collar. The length size is usually 4-8 feet long, but 6 feet long leashes are "ideal for most dogs," according to Jenna Stregowski, RVT of The Spruce Pets. These leashes are great because it makes it easier to account for your dog. It gives them appropriate space to roam without going too far. These are great for taking your dog out on everyday tasks or just around the block.
The material of a standard leash may vary. Standard leashes can come in nylon (most common), leather, rope, or hemp. Cathy Madson, MA, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA of Preventive Vet advises that if your dog likes to chew their leash, avoid a nylon leash. Rope leashes are more durable and great if your dog likes to tug on their leash without injuring yourself while taking your dog out. Hemp is preferred if your dog has sensitive skin.
Retractable leashes seem like a great idea in theory, but they are not a favored type of leash due to multiple reasons. One of the most common reasons is the potential of injury or accidents involving the dog and owner. The Animal Hospital of North Asheville noted that "The thin rope-like cord of the retractable leash can cause severe burns, deep cuts, entanglement or strangulations." The thin rope-like cord can also "cause amputation to limbs and fingers of both humans and pets." These injuries can occur if the owner grabs onto the cord instinctively to help their dog or if the dog can get too far. Your dog may wrap their leash around themselves, others, or objects. The handle is easier to let go of than other leashes, leading to fatal accidents. It is not a leash recommended for taking your dog on a walk. Madson warns pet owners that retractable leashes are known to teach dogs it is ok to pull on their leashes, not prevent them from pulling on their leash. These leashes should be used for dogs who are well trained, won't pull on the leash, and use them in open areas where dog owners can keep an eye on their dogs, such as open fields or beaches.
These leashes are great if you need to shorten or lengthen your leash, giving it a multipurpose use for dog owners. The different lengths make it easier to train your dog and also keep them at an appropriate distance if needed to attach them to a pole or if you want them nearby while running. Stregowski also advises that your dog should be well-trained before attaching them to yourself while running and that your dog is viewable while tethered (because your dog should never be left unattended or out of sight in public).
Slip leashes are best for training dogs. These leashes are not for dogs that like to pull due to the possibility of choking. Madson recommends them for temporary use and is usually used by "shelters or veterinary clinics for short-term control of a dog, not to correct leash pulling or other behavior issues."