The wall of leashes at the store. The pages of options on the website. Why are there so many leashes? How do you know which to choose?
According to the American Pet Products Association, the number of homes with pets grew – not surprisingly – to an all-time high last year. Many were first-time pet parents. Maybe you’re one of them! It’s not the same as having a child. But there’s still so much you never knew you didn’t know. The stuff! The food! The behaviors!
Leashes are one of the basics, and the options can be confusing. “Short or long?” “Does it need to be wide?” “What’s the best for my dog?” Here’s what I know and what works for my dog, Pele, and me. I hope it will help you as you sort through your options.
These are super comfortable and allow you to control how far your dog can roam. Let out the amount of leash you want and lock it (like you would with a tape measure). If it’s safe, you can give them a lot of leash. They’ll have a lot of room to bliss out as they sniff and pee. (And if there’s something stinky, they will roll in it.)
If you’re on a busy road or in a neighborhood with “please don’t pee here” signs, let out less leash. Retractable leads are very popular with the gregarious dogs – and their people – in my neighborhood. They don’t work for Pele. He’s afraid of strangers and not trustworthy around children. He needs to be on a shorter lead most of the time. And that defeats the purpose of this type of leash. (The options are limited if you’re looking for something fun or stylish.)
These are the most common. They work great if your dog doesn’t pull (or much). They’re straightforward and come in many lengths and widths to fit your dog’s size.
I learned a great trick from a dog trainer (shout out to Katie K9!) that helps you avoid “arm yank.” Tie a knot toward the top of the leash. Hold the leash in one hand and the knot in the other. It’s easy to give your dog a little tug when needed. (You’re in luck if you want to show your, or your dog’s, personality. There are many colors, patterns, and materials from which to choose.)
This works excellent for us. Pele often tugs on the leash. And he’ll do the dog version of a toddler’s “I’m going to hang here limp-like because I don’t want to do what we’re doing.” My Mom gave me the ThunderLeash after going on walks with us. (Thanks? 😄)
The leash wraps around his body. If he pulls, it gives him a little squeeze. It doesn’t hurt him. It says, “Hold up there, Sir.” Our leash is relatively short, so Pele can’t meander and sniff without me following closely behind. (If you want to look snazzy, there are several color options from which to choose.)
Lastly, I recommend training. It helps both of you. It makes walking and living together easier, more fun, and deepens your bond. It’s often available through your local Humane Society, as well as at pet stores. Before you sign up, visit a class. There are different training styles, and some trainers are just plain scary. Put it this way. Positive reinforcement breeds a positive bond.
Have fun on your walkies!
Note: This is strictly my experience for your information. I didn’t receive remuneration for this post.