Choosing the right leash for your dog is more than just a matter of choosing a color and style. Although a leash can serve as a fashionable or cute accessory for your dog, it also needs to provide safety, comfort, and control for you and your pet.
Your leash is your primary tool for controlling where your dog goes while on walks, but can also serve as a tool for dog training. Many places require that your dog be on leash while in public and it is important that you have a leash which allows you to efficiently control your pet. Having good control over your dog is a matter of safety, as well as courtesy for other people, children, and pets you encounter.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dog Leash
Before reviewing the different types of leashes, you should consider the following factors:
- How big and strong is your dog compared to you?
- Is your dog already leash trained (does it walk well on leash)?
- Are you going to be mostly walking around the neighborhood, or walking your dog in different environments?
- Are you going to be walking your dog in places where there are many other people and animals?
- Are you leash training your dog or puppy?
- Are you going to be jogging or biking with your dog?
Answering these questions will give you a better idea of what your requirements are for a dog leash.
Types of Materials Dog Leashes are Made From
Before we get into the different types of leashes, let’s quickly discuss the most common types of materials that dog leashes are made from, as well as their pro’s and con’s. Keep in mind the factors from the previous section while considering leash materials.
Nylon is probably the most commonly-used material used in dog leashes. It is very strong and durable. It tends to be less expensive than some other materials and is available in a wide vareity of sizes and styles. Over time, nylon may tend to get frayed. If this happens, the leash should be replaced.
Leather is always a popular material for many items, including dog products and accessories. It is extremely durable and reliable. A good-quality leather dog leash can last for the life of your dog if properly cared for. Of course, leather tends to be more costly than other leash materials, and many dogs who like to chew things, like to chew on leather leashes. This can quickly damage the leash and degrade its quality and reliability.
You can also find dog leashes made from various fabrics. These leashes often are available in a wider variety of colors, patterns, and styles. However, they are far less durable than other leash materials, and will probably need to be replaced fairly often. Fabric leashes provide the least amount of safety and reliability. For larger and stronger dogs, you will probably want to avoid these types of leashes.
Chain leashes are occassional used for large, strong dogs. The extra strength of the leash helps to exert more control over strong dogs that have a tendency to pull or dart. These leashes are probably too clunky and heavy for smaller dogs or puppies.
The Different Types of Dog Leashes
Now, let’s go over the various types of dog leashes that are available, and what their primary benefits and features are:
Standard Dog Leash
Standard dog leashes are probably the most popular type of dog leash used. They are a solid choice if you plan on primarily doing regular walks around your neighborhood. Standard leashes are very good for medium-sized dogs. Standard leashes will provide adequate protection and control during walks and other outdoor activities. Also, standard leashes are among the most affordable of the various types of leashes.
Standard dog leashes are generally between four and eight feet long. You should choose a length which allows your dog to move around comfortably while still giving you the necessary level of control. They are usually made out of leather or nylon, and can be used on both puppies and adult dogs.
If you are in a situation where you need to exert tighter control over your dog, you can wrap the leash around your hand a few times. This helps you to keep your dog closer to you. This can be useful when walking in crowded or confined areas, especially with a dog that might have a tendency to pull towards strangers or other animals.
Retractable Dog Leash
Retractable dog leashes are also very popular. They are able to extend up to 25 feet. You maintain control by holding a plastic handle. The handle allows the walker to adjust the length of the leash by pressing or releasing a button. This gives you the ability to adjust the leash appropriately for the situation and environment. They are generally both convenient and effective. However, if your dog tends to pull or dart, they can experience pain or injury if they hit the end of the fully-extended leash while running.
Retractable leashes are usually better for small to medium-sized dogs that don’t have a tendency to pull. It might be beneficial to teach your dog how to walk correctly using a standard leash before getting a retractable leash.
Adjustable Dog Leash
An adjustable dog leash has attributes in common with both standard dog leashes and retractable dog leashes. Like a standard leash, they are usually made of leather or nylon. However, they can be manually adjusted to different lengths. So, depending on the environment and type of walk you are going on, you can adjust the leash accordingly.
This makes it more flexible than a standard leash, but reduces the occurrence of choking or injury that can occur with retractable leashes. Shorter lengths are good for engaging in training sessions with your dog, while longer lengths are nice for leisurely walks in a park.
A martingale dog leash is very much like a martingale dog collar, and is a combination dog leash and collar. These leashes only tighten around your dog’s neck when your dog pulls. When the dog is not pulling, or is walking with slack in the leash, the leash fits comfortably around their neck.
Martingale leashes are often used as tools for dog training, as they apply enough pressure to discourage your dog from pulling, without risk of choking or injuring your pet. Martingale leashes are probably not sufficient to exert control over larger, stronger dogs.
Besides training uses, people who show dogs also use martingale leashes and collars.
Some dogs have a tendency to chew on, or even repeatedly break, their leashes. Some owners of such dogs purchase chain leashes. They are the strongest and most durable leashes you can buy, and they are a solid tool for controlling dogs of all sizes and strengths. Chain leashes are available in various sizes and thicknesses. Narrower chains may be fine for smaller dogs, but a thicker chain might be necessary for stronger, bigger pets.
Multiple Dog Leashes
These are specially-designed leashes which allow you to walk multiple dogs, at the same time. These can be especially convenient for owners who own multiple pets, or for dog walkers who do group walks.
These feature multiple leashes that are connected to a single handle, allowing you to walk multiple dogs with a single hand. These leashes work better for dogs that are well-trained on walks already. Multiple leashes may not be suitable for dogs that tend to pull or are not able to walk well with other dogs.
Multiple leashes are usually made from nylon or leather. Also, they are available in adjustable and non-adjustable varieties.