Just as how you put in a lot of thought into whether you get a dog or not, or what kind of dog you bring into your family, it is also important to think about what leash you get. It may seem that choosing a leash is a simple matter, but it's actually a very important training tool. A leash is necessary for you to keep your dog safe while teaching him manners he needs to learn.
But why do we need to put our dogs on leashes? In most parts of the country, it's a law to have your dog leashed when out in public. This is as much for the dog's safety as it is for other people and dogs. A leash is an essential tool to use during the early days of puppy-hood to keep them safe and aid you in training. And it's a convenient tool for control and management of your dog throughout the rest of their lives. There are plenty of other benefits to using a dog leash, like:
- Simple but effective when you want to control your dog;
- Prevents the dog from wandering away from you
- A means to tether your dog temporarily when you cannot give them your attention for a few minutes.
What Material is Best for Your Dog's Leash
Nylon - This is the most common material used to make leashes. Nylon is affordable, strong and comes in any color you want. Be sure to choose one with a nice padding so it doesn’t cause you any leash burn, if your dog pulls suddenly. A nylon leash is a good first leash for a puppy since it is very light and because of the cost, even if your puppy chews through a few before he learns to not chew his leash, at least it won’t break the bank.
Chain - Another cheap choice, but not ideal. Chain is hard on the hands, and can hurt a dog's mouth and teeth if it happens to get stuck in your puppy's mouth. It can also get wrapped around your fingers and cause a fracture if you're walking a bigger, stronger dog. Chain leashes have no give, and are generally not recommended.
Cotton - Best for swimming, cotton leashes have a good amount of give. They are not easy to find and can also run the risk of rope burn.
Leather - Leather is incredibly strong. It's gentle on the hands, and softens with time, and provides the best natural amount of give. The downside of leather is the cost.
What Length Should I Choose for My Dog's Leash?
Apart from material, the other thing to consider is the length of the leash. You need to think about where you will be using this.
In a city or urban setting, a 4 – 5 ft length leash is ideal because you would need to maintain closer contact with your dog. There may be people or cars that can come out of nowhere. If you are out hiking or in a rural setting, then a 6 ft or longer leash can be ideal to give your dog plenty of space to roam,
Retractable, or Flexi leashes are very popular, but retractable leashes are not good if you want to train your dog to not pull. While it does allow them more freedom of movement, it can also be confusing for the dog when you retract the leash suddenly. Your dog will not understand how far it has to roam.
Pick a leash that's suited for your dog. A big dog like a labrador will need a strong leash that can keep him reined in. If you have a new puppy, then maybe start with a nylon leash and replace it as he grows. It could be that your dog likes to chew on his leash. Dogs will do that! In that case a leather leash is not the best choice until you've trained him not to chew. Finally, whichever leash you choose, check it often for signs of damage. Ensure that it's attached to the harness securely, and then go out and have fun with your dog!