Sunday, July 8, 2012

Choosing the Perfect Leash

Daily walks are very important for your dog for their health and social well being.  Choosing the correct leash is the first step to ensure the experience is fun, safe and comfortable for both you and your pet.  But where to begin? As with many things, one size does not fit all.

Puppy Leash

Your puppy's first leash is like a child's first pair of shoes.  It must be properly fitted to ensure a good first walking experience.  If you puppy is tiny (under 5 lbs) start with a light weight 5/8" leash in a 4' or 6' length.  Walking with a leash is a new experience for a puppy so be sure the leash is not so heavy or cumbersome that it hinders your puppy's movements. Nylon leashes are durable and light weight, an excellent choice for first time walkers.

Once your puppy has grown and become an experienced walker it is time to say "goodbye" to the puppy leash and upgrade to a larger, sturdier variety. The correct choice of size and style of the adult leash depends on the size and activity level of your dog as well as personal preference.

Things to consider when choosing your dog's leash:



Nylon leashes are a great choice.  Available in a variety of colors and designs they can be fashionable as well as functional. Leashes and collars can be purchased in matching sets for any occasion.  Their smooth surface and flexibility make them comfortable on the hands and easy to wrap if necessary. An added benefit...they are machine washable.


Leather leashes are classic and extremely durable.  They carry a higher price tag but a good leather leash will last for years and become softer and more comfortable with age. When combined with a matching leather collar it is a look that will never go out of style. With use, the leather will conform to the shape of your hand until become an almost custom fit.


Generally, leashes are available in 4' or 6' lengths and the choice comes from personal preference.  I prefer the 6' length because it provides the most flexibility. Six foot leashes are long enough to be used, held in both hands with the leash draped across the front of the walker's body allowing good control over the dog. When a shorter length is needed it can easily be wrapped around the hand or folded for a comfortable grip.


The width of the leash depends on your dog's size and strength. Small dogs would do good with a 5/8" leather or 3/4" nylon leash. Medium to large size dogs would do best with a 3/4" - 1" leash in leather or nylon.



The traditional leash has a loop on one end and a hook that attaches to the collar on the other. These leashes offer excellent grip and good control.  Available in different lengths,  they offer versatility since they can be wrapped abound your hand or folded for a comfortable grip. Avoid plastic hooks as they can crack over time and break easily if a dog suddenly pulls or chews on it.

The Grrrip Leash:

For large dogs that pull, a great choice is "The Grrrip" leash. This nylon leash has an additional handle by the hook that attaches to the collar. At any time your dog pulls or gets spooked by a loud noise or unexpected distraction while walking you have the extra handle to help stabilize yourself and gain control.

Retractable Leashes:

Retractable leashes are a popular leash type that allows your dog the freedom to roam when walking. The leash is coiled inside a large plastic handle that uncoils as your dog walks.  The length of the leash can also be controlled by a button on the handle. Personally, I find the handle bulky, difficult to use and, if the dog pulls, you have little or no control.

Finding the the leash that is most comfortable for you and your pup is the first step in enjoying many walks together. Once you find the size and type that works best you can be creative with colors, styles, and mix and match with collars, for added fun.      

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