What is the best leash / lead for my dog?


Is a retractable leash the right choice for your dog?

With so many leash options out there, for harnesses or collars, from slip-ropes to retractable types, it's no wonder many new dog owners don't know which is the best type of leash for their dog. And there are pros and cons for all, so choosing the right one for your dog's strength and behavior is important if you want to make sure they don't do a Houdini act during your walk. Let's take a look at the best-selling options:


RETRACTABLE LEASH

Best for smaller dogs and for recall training

Now, I'll admit I'm no fan of these types of leash, as I prefer to train my dogs to walk to heel, using a normal, short leash, and then let them free to run once you've got to where you exercise them. Plus I've seen dogs bolting across the road in front of traffic because the owner had the leash extended in the street and couldn't retract it quick enough. But there are many places where you can't unclip your dog and so giving them 16ft of free roaming is ideal. And they're perfect for practising recall training, too.


Firstly, I recommend avoiding the original nylon cord versions of retractable leashes. They're an accident waiting to happen. I've seen someone nearly lose a finger that was wrapped in the cord when their dog attempted to run towards another dog. And I've received a nasty welt across my stomach while cycling through a park and hitting a nylon retractable leash that was extended across the path and invisible to me. They're like cheese wire and could injure your dog as well as you.


Gladly, most manufacturers now use a tape-style leash instead, and Amazon's best seller is the tough Tug 360˚ Tangle-Free Retractable Leash.

With over 17,000 mostly positive reviews, it's earned the Amazon's Choice accolade and is broadly described as being a well-built and sturdy design. With four versions for different size dogs, the Tug is suitable for dogs up to 110 lbs and, like most, extends to 16ft. Their latest addition is the 'Tiny' version, for dogs under 26 lbs, which is small enough to fit in your pocket.


All leashes of this type are very similar and work the same, but the Tug 360˚ does boast its eponymous 360˚ tangle-free feeder, which ensures the leash will retract and release no matter which angle your dog is to the leash.


There are some negative reviews where the leash broke, but always involving big, strong dogs. You can only expect so much from a small mechanical device like these, and perhaps a retractable isn't suitable for big dogs that pull or are likely to bolt at the sight of squirrel. Tug's customer service is very good, however, and problems are typically dealt with effectively. Plus Amazon has a 30 days returns policy anyway.


One point to consider when choosing which one to go for is not just your dog's weight, but also the size of your hands. Some reviewers with big hands have had problems with the smaller models, finding it hard to comfortably hold, especially on longer walks. Even if your dog is small, maybe choose one for a bigger dog and get a bigger handle.

Check it out here


STRONG ROPE LEASH

Best for bigger, stronger dogs

The good old traditional rope leash has served dog owners pretty well for hundreds of years and are much better for controlling your dog, whatever the size. And they're much better than a retractable when teaching your dog to walk nicely to heel. Plus they have the added benefit of being pocketable when your pooch is running free or can be dangled round your shoulders.


But even rope evolves and improves and the number one best selling rope leash is no exception, being made from super-strong climbing rope and offering other useful features. The BAAPET 5ft Strong Dog Leash, with padded handle, has earned over 19,000 ratings, 84% being 5 star and 10% 4 star, with most reviewers lauding its comfortable padded handle.


It's also made with highly reflective threads that light up in a car's headlights making night-time excursions that much safer, and comes in a rainbow of bright color options.

Some complaints include how the manufacturing process gives this leash a strong chemical smell fresh out the factory, which some have found a deal-breaker, but this will wear off. And others have remarked how the type of rope is very similar to dog chew toys and might lead to chewy hounds having a chomp on it when your not paying attention. But those whose dog has had a munch on the rope haven't had much success in damaging it.


The 5ft length is ideal for a relaxed loose-leash walk, but some might find it a bit too long for total control. There are also 4ft and 6ft versions.

All in all, for the low price, I don't think you can go wrong with the BAAPET Strong Dog Leash.



MULTI-FUNCTION LEASH

Best for car rides

As someone who loves gadgets and accessories and multi-functionality, this leash really appeals to me. But there's one feature in particular on the IOKHEIRA 4-in-1 Multifunctional Leash that earns its place in this list: the seat-belt buckle.


I've been looking for a seat-belt clip to secure Rumble when we're out in the van and hadn't considered an all-in-one option on one leash until I saw this. We don't use a leash very much, but I'm considering getting this and leaving it in the van so I've always got one wherever we go, with the benefit of the seat-belt function.


The leash is essentially made up of two sections, with the seat-belt clip between the two, so you never need any additional accessories to travel in the car. The upper section is made from typically strong wear-resistant nylon webbing and is threaded with reflective fibres for safer night-time walking. And the handle is well padded for fatigue-free long walks. But the best functions are in the lower section, including a bungee feature that removes any jerking and offers gradual resistance as it's pulled. Many reviewers with dogs that pull seem to rave about this shock-absorbing feature. It also has a second handle for better control in busy areas, and it's finished off at the business end with a lightweight climbing-style carabiner instead of the usual clip.


It's a pretty impressive leash, with over 80% of customers giving it five stars and rave reviews. I'm sold, simply because it can tackle so many situations, all in one leash. And it's even adjustable in length, from 4ft to 6ft, and you can attached a second dog to it, too.

Right, where's my credit card?

Get yours here


DUAL-HANDLED LEASH

Best for control

No, a dual-handled leash is not for holding on for dear life as your dog pulls you like a water skier behind a speeding boat; the point of the second handle is for control in busy areas and these kind of leashes are the perfect choice for training your pooch to walk at your heel or simply to boost control over a dog who likes to pull.


And the Primal Pet Gear 6ft Leash is another best seller and suited to larger size dogs. The dual handles give you two walking modes, with the main handle giving 6ft of relaxed roaming, while the second handle is only a foot from the clip, giving a much shorter leash, keeping your dog closer to you and under greater control. It's a genius idea, in my opinion. But unless you have very long arms, this will only work with taller dogs. Some owners of smaller, medium size dogs have found the short handle to be useless due to the height of their dog, and others have mentioned the dog getting their legs caught in the lower handle when the leash is loose and hanging low to the ground. So this really is for medium and large dogs.


Reviewers are in agreement that the padded handles are so comfy to hold, lined with soft Neoprene and seem to be the most loved feature. The close-stitched thick nylon webbing will rein in the strongest of dogs and should last for years. If it doesn't there's a one year warranty from the factory.


In my opinion, this is a perfect training leash, but would be ideal for anyone with a medium to large dog that has pulling issues. Numerous reviewers cite their boosted confidence when using the shorter handle and having their dog close to their side and under firm control.

Check it out here.


SLIP-ROPE LEASH

Best for pullers (but also well-behaved dogs)

Although I have owned and still own most of the leashes mentioned, this is the type I typically use. Rumble is mostly free range (off-leash) as we live in the countryside, but when I have to put him on a leash, I reach for our little slip-rope. These simple, lightweight leashes are suited for training your dog to stop pulling as they become uncomfortable the more they pull and then release as they relax. They are also more secure than a collar can be if your dog tries to take flight. Rumble doesn't pull, and so it sits comfortably loose around his neck and is so light you barely know you're holding it. It'll fit in any pocket, too, and they're cheap enough to have a few laying around the house, office, car etc.


Having scoured what's available, I initially went for the Tifereth Slip-Lead Dog-Leash, as it looks like a minor upgrade on the simple slip-rope, with its padded handle and reflective thread. I also thought the claim of using extra strong climbing rope was worth paying a premium for, mainly because Rumble and my previous dog both chewed through theirs, while sat at my feet in a beer garden. But having read the reviews, this is definitely not chew proof either (what is?!).


So, for half the price, and with no padded handle or any other frills, I'd stay simple and go for the Coolrunner Durable Dog Slip Rope Leash

Good choice of colour options, ideal 5ft length, for small and medium dogs, and light and pocketable. A simple, inexpensive, no-frills leash, but also a valid training tool for dogs who pull.

Find the Coolrunner here, and the more expensive Tifereth leash here.



LONG TRAINING LEASH

Best for recall training

Before the invention of the retractable lead, we just had longer leads to the same job. This is what I use in the first couple of weeks of getting a dog from the rescue shelter, as I learn more about them on our walks and start recall training. I'd recommend using these with a harness to keep it from tangling round your dog's legs as they run and play.,


The best bang for your buck offering is also the number one selling leash in Amazon's Training Leash section. The Hi Kiss Dog/Puppy Obedience Recall Training Leash comes in a number of lengths - 15, 20, 30, 50 and 100 feet. Judging by the reviews, many people choose the 30 and 50ft options and find them too long, with the 20ft version being the ideal length for most needs. Fifty and 100ft is a lot of leash to keep reeling in but great for simulating an off-leash experience.


It has a standard clip at one end and a simple, looped handle at the other, secured with reinforced stitching. Mine has lasted years and shows no sign of wear. It's a simple long, training lead but it can also be used for agility practise and securing a dog in a garden or campsite while giving them enough freedom to play.

Find it here.

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