Depending on what activities you like to do with your dog, you may need different leashes for each situation. Choosing the right leash can also depend on your dogs behaviour on leash. In this post, I’ll go over a couple of more popular leash options and the scenarios each leash could be used for.
The basic snap leash
Snap leashes are your typical nylon, leather, or cotton leashes that snap onto your dog’s collar. Most snap leashes are either 4 or 6 feet in length. This type of leash is often the go-to leash for dog owners for everyday use like walks, visiting the vet, going to a pet friendly store, etc. They come in all sort’s of colours and designs, but you have to watch out on the quality and the right sizing of the snap! Make sure you are using the correct size of snap for your dog, a teacup breed will need the smallest of snaps, where a large working breed will need the largest.
A check chord is a longer lead anywhere from 20 to 50+ feet in length. This kind of lead is helpful when you’re working on obedience training such as teaching your dog to come when called or to stay. It’s a safe way to begin transitioning to off-leash work.
With George he loves to wonder while on trails, I trust him fully off-leash but a lot of the trails we frequent have by-laws that dogs must remain on leash. This is a great alternative, it allows him to meander around and sniff trees while not being restricted to a 6′ leash. I could use a retractable yes, but I will get into that later on!
The slip lead
Slip leads are often used for training because they allow the handlers to give slight corrections. They are kind of like a martingale collar in the sense when the dog pulls, the lead tightens but loosens when the dog is walking correctly. A slip leash is great for teaching your dog good manners in more exciting or stressful scenarios such as walking in new areas or visiting the vet or groomer. The leash gives you more control than a normal snap leash and eliminates the need for a training collar.
Slip leads are great as a training tool, but should not be used as an everyday walking leash as you cannot control how tight the lead is around the dog’s neck. You don’t want to risk damaging their windpipe or trachea, worse strangling them.
Other types of leashes
The martingale leash – Similar to a slip leash but is limited in how far it will tighten. I’ve seen some trainers prefer this over a slip lead, especially if the dog is a strong puller.
Retractable leash – A great leash for casual scenarios where you want to allow your dog a bit more freedom. A retractable leash is also a nice option for transitioning to off-leash work.
I have tried using a retractable leash on my walks with George and Ginny, but still have yet to find one that gives me the same confidence and control over them as a basic snap leash. So far George’s count for breaking retractable is up to 2 and Ginny 1. Plus, when a 130lb dog wants to run after a squirrel, a small simple locking mechanism isn’t going to stop that train! Plus once the dog reaches the end of the 15′ or whatever the length is, they get all their momentum going.
Retractable leashes are great for the right situations and dog, but sometimes they’re not always safe and reliable.
Traffic lead – This is a very short leash, no more than 2′. It is gives something more than just the collar to grab onto if needed during off-leash practice. They can also be great option for dog sports, such as agility or flyball! They are short enough not to get tangled, yet you’re still able to grab and re-gain their control.
I used the traffic lead in combination with a halti while training George to walk nicely, the traffic lead and halti gave me the ability to control what he’s sticking his nose into and to greet people a little more nicely then a big dog nose in the face. George being so tall, I like to be able to control where his head is and too make sure he isn’t trying to snack on someones lunch while walking through a crowd.
Tab Leash – An even shorter version of a traffic lead, they have the same benefits as a traffic lead but being even shorter in length.
What kind of leash do you use for walking, training or dog sports?