The lowdown on leashes and leads

3 February 2020

Written by Josephine Lategan

 

Leash or lead, call it what you will, the plethora of dog restraining aids can be confusing for pet parents to choose from. Here’s a guide to picking the right one for you and your dog’s needs.

 

Traditional leash

 

Also needs: a collar

The popular straight-up collar and leash has some perks and some limitations.

Pros: Good for relaxed dogs, puppy training or first-time leashers.

Cons: No good for dogs who pull or are anxious and prone to frights and bolting.

TIP: If you have a long-haired hound, get an old-school leash that doesn’t snag the fur. Wide-woven fabric ones aren’t great.

Get it here: zero shock™ dog leash with bungee

 

Hands-free lead

 

Also needs: a collar

This leash clips onto your waistband and onto your dog’s collar, leaving your arms free to YMCA while you run.

Pros: Useful if you carry self-defence against other humans like mace or pepper spray (which you must only ever use when you’re upwind of an attacker!), or keep car keys in your hands (admit it, and maybe consider a macho bag like this so you don’t lose them).

Cons: If it’s a set length, you can’t shorten the leash at short notice. Look for bungee cords to solve this.

TIP: Look for leads with a handle near the collar clip for close control of your dog.

Buy one now: handsfree running leash with bungee

 

LED/reflector night leash

 

Also needs: a collar (unless you get a harness version)

A bright-coloured, glow-in-the dark leash is great for night outings, dusk and dawn. That little extra light will help warn other runners and walkers where you and your dog are.

Pros: It prevents collisions in low- or no-light, and the collar especially can help you find your hound if it ever goes astray at night (but you microchipped your mutts, right?).

Cons: Battery might die once you’re out and about. Keep a spare battery and your phone on your person in this wearable pouch.

Buy one right now by tapping here and here.

 

Retractable lead

 

Also needs: a collar

Pros: Good for dogs who come when called and busybody dogs whose distance from you ranges widely.

Cons: Requires constant attention to not jerk or trip you, for example if your dog stops suddenly while running. Strong pullers can break the lock mechanism.

TIP: Pick a length to suit both you and your dog as some dogs like to wander further away than others.

Tap here to buy a retractable leash right now.

 

Slip leash

 

Does not need: a collar

Thread the lead through itself to make a collar-like loop. Once it’s the right size, secure it with the stopper.

Pros: Good for dogs who only need to be corrected once in a while.

Cons: Does not offer the other benefits like retracting, bungee, etc.

TIP: Pull the slip leash sideways to correct a dog in front of or behind you, rather than tugging backwards or forwards. This gives a slightly gentler correction which doesn’t jar the dog.

Get a slip leash for your relaxed doggo today.

 

Thunder lead

 

Also needs: a collar for straight use (but mimics a harness as well, so can be used without).

Like a normal leash but with one great quality: a clip that lets you use the leash around the dog’s torso. When they pull, they feel it there, as they would with a harness.

Pros: A great training leash for any size dog.

Cons: Not great for heavy pullers as it does not entirely distribute the pressure as a harness would.

Get a thunder leash for a little dog here

 

Leash coupler

 

Also needs: a collar per dog leashed

Walk two dogs with one leash? We’re not just waxing poetic, it’s perfectly doable with a coupler lead.

Pros: Easy-on, easy-off for simple handling of multiple* dogs.

Cons: Can flap about heavily (especially the metal clip) and even cause injury when loose.

TIP: Clip both onto one collar and hold both ends in your hand to solve this and if it’s too heavy for you or your hound that way, consider a single extension leash (below).

Get a standard split lead here and a zero shock™ single extension leash here

 

Colour-coded lead to show temperament

 

Let other people know your dog’s demeanour with a colour-coded leash:

  • White = visually challenged/audially challenged
  • Purple = do not feed
  • Blue = training or service dog
  • Green = friendly
  • Yellow = nervous/needs space or adopt me
  • Orange = No other dogs
  • Red = Dangerous/Do not approach

Pros: Can help by forewarning other people.

Cons: Can be ineffective if others don’t’ know the code. Try to get one with the words on the leash (and collar).

Order colour-coded leads online now.

 

Traffic leash

 

Also needs: a collar

Short, and to the point, this keeps dogs right by your side and in your hand to minimise sudden leaps and bolting off.

Pros: Helpful in developed urban areas for dogs who startle easily and then run away suddenly.

Cons: Does not allow longer-range walking or running.

Grab a dog’s traffic leash here.

 

Harness/front clip

 

Does not need: a collar

Also needs: a leash!

While not technically a leash or a lead, the harness is worth mentioning here because it offers a whole other class of dog restraint.

A harness sits securely around the dog’s torso and neck and may offer a variety of places to attach the leash (in front at throat, on top above spine, etc.).

Pros: Great for controlling dogs who pull hard and heavily as the pressure transfers to the torso. It’s also great for small dogs who might need a lift once in a while, e.g. hiking up steep slopes.  For the little doggles, pick a harness with a handle on top and clips on top and in front.

Cons: A dog harness can, itself, be heavy, and hot and sweaty in warmer months causing rashes. It could weigh a dog down when it’s wet and cause chaffing in rainy weather.

TIP: Fit the harness to the body so that it does not move around or make the skin or fur bulge. You might have to feel for this with longer-haired dogs where you can’t necessarily see this; run your finger off the harness over the skin. If it’s a straight, smooth line, you’re good. If the skin bulges, the harness is too tight. If your finger drops down off the harness to the skin the harness may be too loose.

Get a sturdy harness with carry handle online here.

 

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