Choosing the Right Lead or Leash For Your Dog

Walking the aisles of the pet store looking for the perfect lead can be overwhelming. We may be tempted to buy the fun, colorful leads that all the ‘dogfluencers’ are raving about, but how do we know which one is right for our pet?

We want walks with our fur babies to be strain-free and comfortable. We must establish ourselves early on as the leader of the pack. Proper training is always going to be the most important thing you can do to invest in your pet’s future.

According to trainer, Wendy Volhard, a lead is allowing you to “lead” your dog on a walk versus the dog leading you. A leash is basically a connection to your fur baby, but he is in control. This is a bad habit and comes with some risk. She states that many pet parents will choose a harness and extending lead combo. This does not encourage the proper training that your dog needs to stay safe, should he become loose and run. It also promotes “pulling” which can cause strain on your pet’s trachea.

Also, an important factor to consider is the age of your dog, their behavior, and their energy level. Below are a few of the leads that we would like to highlight and provide a few pros and cons of each. Like anything, please ask your veterinarian for advice if you have questions.

Slip Leads

Slip leads are a good option for providing a small amount of corrective resistance behind the ears and back of the head, without causing pain or tension to the neck. This is a good option for regular walks or a dog that is a strong puller. It is also a great choice for quick jaunts to the dog park, where you want to slip the lead on and off quickly without removing their buckle collar with all their tags.

Slip leads are also quite escape-proof and will deter puppies from chewing on them as they are not near their mouths. Slip leads are often the choice for show dogs. While slip leads work for most, if your dog is a very heavy puller, there are better options. It is also important to note, slip leads are not a good option for those long-backed breeds or small breeds with small tracheas. Additionally, any type of lead correction is a punitive form of training that can damage the human-animal bond.

Harness Lead

Another option for those that prefer the body harness over the neck, is the Harness Lead. It uses the same type of gentle pressure as the slip lead, but does not cause chafing like traditional harnesses that sometimes rub the wrong way under your pet’s arms. This type of lead is not recommended for running. The harness uses your dog’s own pressure, so the lead will always be a tight fit when running or jogging. This type of lead is recommended for light walking and outdoor exploring. Finally, this type of lead can double as a slip lead, making it a good choice for many dog parents.

Headlight Harness and Nylon Lead Combo

The most versatile combo that we have found on the market is the Headlight Harness with a standard nylon or leather lead. The Headlight Harness is highly reflective, waterproof and extremely lightweight. It features an integrated, focused LED beam that puts out over 80 Lumens, making it a safe choice for walking in the early morning hours or after dark. This no-choke, no-pull design makes it a wonderful choice for most dogs. Another awesome feature of this harness? It can be used to secure your beloved Fido in the car. Simply run the seatbelt through the handle and click!  All Space Coast Pet Services clients can receive a discount using code: SCPS15.

headlight harness and reflective leash

Basic Collar and Lead

Many dog parents favor a standard buckle collar with a nylon or leather lead. They are versatile, come in tons of fun colors and designs, and are easy to use. The caveat to this, buckle collars do not offer a quick release. If your pup gets into trouble at the dog park, or gets himself hooked on something, the buckle collar will be more difficult to release. The plastic clip collars are a good alternative. They provide a quick release and are easy to snap on and snap off. However, if your pup is super strong, plastic has a greater likelihood of snapping. Keep that in mind when choosing between the two types of collars. The lead itself should be made of a durable material that your pup does not chew through, but lightweight enough for long walks.

Retractable Leashes – Just don’t do it!

We would love to be able to provide our beloved dogs with the freedom to run ahead of us while exploring independently. This type of lead does just that. However, this is one that we do not recommend. In fact, none of our dog walkers use this type of lead due to several safety issues that we will discuss. It says a lot when our own insurance company won’t cover injury or loss due to using a retractable leash.

Some of the retractable leads on the market allow up to 26 feet of slack. That is a long distance should your fur baby get into a situation that you cannot control, such as approaching another animal or running into the street. The cords on most retractable leads are thin and can snap easily if you have a powerful pup. There is also a risk of neck injury with this type of lead. If your pup takes off and runs out of slack, they will be snapped back quickly. Lastly, the thin rope can become entangled around either you or your pet, causing rope-like burns or worse. Fingers, tails and limbs have been severed from using this type of leash.

We do not recommend this type of lead. In fact, we recommend replacing your retractable leash ASAP!

Daily walks, exercise, and exploring with your fur baby are important to your health, happiness, and bond with your pet. Space Coast Pet Services is here to help when you are away. We offer dog walking services, so Fido does not miss a beat! Contact us for more information.

What type of leash or lead do you use for your pup? Tell us in the comments!



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