What is the Best Type of Dog Leash I Should Use

What is the best type of dog leash I should buy

Dear Hindy,

I’ve been doing some leash shopping recently, and I can’t figure out what the best type of dog leash is. Can you tell me please! Thank you, Lydia

What is the Best Type of Dog Leash I Should Use

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Dear Lydia,

I know what you mean, there are lots of styles, materials, designs and lengths to choose from, it’s tough to decide!! You didn’t mention how old your dog is or whether or not he or she walks nicely on a leash, so I’ll cover as many bases as I can.

A standard leash comes in lengths of 4’, 5’ or 6’ and the most common materials are nylon and leather. The other type is called an extendable or flexi leash. The handle comes in a variety of sizes, and the wire that extends out of the handle is available in different widths and lengths, the one you choose will depend on the size (and strength) of your dog.

My personal preference is a 5’ nylon leash and I’ll explain why. I find the 4’ doesn’t allow my dog enough freedom to sniff (although I do use it at times), and the 6’ is so long I have to wrap it around my hand too many times for it to be comfortable. I buy nylon because I don’t buy leather! As a bonus nylon comes in a ton of colors and patterns if you want to be fashionable!!

I don’t believe flexi leashes are safe, even though the majority of people I see use them. They allow their dogs to walk so far ahead of them, one step over and they’re in the street in front of a car. You don’t have the control of a standard leash should you need to get a firm hold of your dog or stop him from entering a dangerous situation, like crossing into the road. It’s a lot harder and certainly more painful to grab onto the wire of a flexi leash than a standard one.

Do I believe there is a place for a flexi leash? Absolutely. I use them for my old dogs who have mobility or vision issues and just wander around on the grass, or take short walks along the sidewalk. Having said that, I never use one if I’m on busy streets with them.  

Good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hindy Pearson
I am a dog trainer and behaviour consultant, specialising in working with first time dog owners. Whether you're thinking of getting a dog and aren't sure if it's the right time, or you've been sharing your life with one for awhile but there are issues you can't resolve, I am here for you. No matter where in the world you live I can help.

22 Comments

  1. Ruth Epstein

    I use a 6″ with Layla which gives her a bit of freedom but it is not too long for me to handle plus having lousy eyes I am scared I will trip over her if it is shorter LOL. As for flexi leashes I hate them big time as I have seen too many accidents with them when walking her or in the dog park. They are actually banned in certain dog parks in some States.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I agree, a 6′ leash does give a nice amount of freedom, I just keep Jack quite close to me so I can control him better around dogs that might make him nervous. It’s interesting flexi leashes have actually been banned in certain places, I hadn’t heard that before.

      Reply
  2. Missy Zane

    I don’t walk dogs, but I have a gazillion neighbors who do. The flexi leashes make me nervous. The people never seem to have good control of the dog, especially when they’re texting with one hand and holding the handle of the leash with the other. They’re a lot more coordinated than I am. I could not text and walk a dog at the same time!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Trust me, those people aren’t coordinated they’re an accident waiting to happen. No way could they control their dog if he or she decides to run into the street. Sad and nerve wracking to watch.

      Reply
  3. Cathy Armato

    I prefer the nylon leashes and 5′ as well. I had a terrifying incident once when a beautiful but cheaply made leash snapped on a walk! Icy ran into the street and by the grace of God didn’t get hit by a car. We threw that crap in the trash and now we use strong nylon leashes & harnesses, especially for my Husky, Icy!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Oh my goodness, how lucky Icy didn’t get hurt. I agree with you, I find nylon leashes and a harness the safest way to walk a dog. I used to walk a Beagle for someone and poor thing never got any exercise so she was always raring to go. One day her flexi leash broke but thank goodness we were on a quiet street and she didn’t run off.

      Reply
  4. Jana Rade

    With Cookie, we have one like that and then one very long one to allow her more freedom when chasing small critters. We like nylon too; easy to wash.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Definitely nice to have options, and flexi leashes are great in certain circumstances. I used one for Red because it gave her more freedom but I would never use one for Jack. That would be an accident waiting to happen because of his abuse he can be leash aggressive with some dogs.

      Reply
  5. Rebecca Sanchez

    If you’ve ever had a flexi leash wrap around your leg you’ll understand what a flesh rub/burn is, and they can be painful! Also, they don’t really help you from a training perspective. I found a great 5′ thick rope leash – it’s made out of a waxed boat rope and it’s great! Super sturdy, rugged and yet in a beautiful robin’s egg blue color. Makes me happy every time I pull it out!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Sounds like you found a great leash! I see so many people with puppies on flexi leashes, and sadly not being trained to walk nicely.

      Reply
  6. Talent Hounds

    I use 6′ nylon leashes too and then one new 6′ waterproof rubbery material from a local Canadian. I also have a 4′ one and a 20′ one. Kilo can not go off leash but very occasionally we will do recall and other training in an empty park on the long leash. I used to use one for my gorgeous gentle lab but I hate the flexi leashes now as people let their dogs roam and I see how dangerous and inconsiderate that can be – some get close to Kilo on the street with no control. They are banned in Toronto now and at our pet expos but lots of people still use them.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Its’ great that Kilo gets to roam on such a long leash…safely. I have come across my fair share of clueless people with dogs on flexi leashes. They don’t seem to understand not every dog is comfortable with another dog right in their face, and the dog is so far ahead of the walker there’s no way they can move their dog away in case there’s a scuffle. I didn’t realise they were banned in Toronto. Good think I didn’t use one when we were there this summer.

      Reply
  7. Sandy Kubillus

    I like the flexi leashes that have a ribbon instead of a cord. They cost a bit more but don’t give you rope burn if wrapped around your bare legs. Mostly the flexi leash is good since it doesn’t get tangled around my dog’s legs like a regular leash does. I also find myself wrapping the 6-foot leash around my wrist and unwrapping it often. Mostly, I like the flexi-leashes to give my dog more exercise than just walking on the sidewalk. I mostly walk on residential sidewalks, so they can walk around on the grass. When I get near a street, I just rein in the dog so the leash is only a few feet long.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      There’s definitely less pain grabbing onto the ribbon! I know what you mean, the 6′ leashes drive me made, constantly wrapping and unwrapping it. Flexi leashes definitely give a dog more room to roam, it’s just the number of people who don’t use them properly and that’s when it becomes an accident waiting to happen.

      Reply
  8. The Dash Kitten Crew

    The flexi leads don’t bother me in the slightest. I see people with them and the dogs seem to do fine. If you are not as lively as your dog it gives them a chance to snuffle around further away from you and not rely on what might be a slower speed.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I definitely get the appeal, and I find them fine in some situations. When they’re not safe is with untrained dogs, especially bigger dogs, where they are so far ahead of the walker they can be in the road and under a car long before anyone can react.

      Reply
  9. Kamira

    I never had a dog however I have heard some dog owner friends of mine do complain about the retractable leashes and how their dog is still too far ahead or they get pulled with little control. I guess sticking to the old fashioned nylon is much better. Thanks for sharing your helpful tips to keep both dogs and their owners safe and comfortable.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I understand dog parents liking the freedom a flexi leash gives their dog, but I don’t think it’s right in every case.

      Reply
  10. Beth

    I would love a 4′ leash for taking Theo to the vet. He is reactive around other dogs, and a shorter leash would be nice. In the meantime, I’ve taken to tying big knots in his “vet leash” so it is shorter. It isn’t a good look but it helps!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I know what you mean, there’s definitely more control. I’ve had longer leashes and I find I have to wrap them around my hand so many times it’s annoying. I never liked the look of knots in a leash personally, so I can’t do that. I suppose it’s a bit of my self diagnosed OCD.

      Reply
  11. Alex

    We generally use 4 or 5 foot leashes. We live in Washington, DC so we walk Navy on the streets. We have to be careful of passerbys and also keeping her on the sidewalk!!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Definitely a safer way, especially when walking on busy streets and a couple of steps they can be on the road.

      Reply

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