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The 10 Best Dog Leashes

When you're out on the sidewalks or trails with your dog, the right leash is more than just a restraint; it's also the best way to communicate with your pet.

In an exciting or frightening situation, a good leash can help guide your dog and keep them from bolting.

Leashes are available in a variety of materials, sizes, and features, such as added handles for maneuvering or loops for hanging poop bags.

As a result, different leashes are appropriate for different situations.

Erin Gianella, owner of Denver's Perfect Pals Dog Training and a Certified Training Partner of the Karen Pryor Academy (KPT-CTP), often recommends two different leashes, beginning with a heavy-duty nylon leash for regular walks or training.

"They're more durable and safe, and they don't get tangled as easily," she explained to BestForPets.

"The 10-foot leash allows our dogs to sniff and explore without feeling constrained, but it also keeps them close enough that they don't run too far ahead, into the street, or into anything dangerous." The shorter the leash, the more pulling there is."

She also recommends a longer leash for longer "decompression" walks.

"This is when our dogs have the freedom to explore, sniff, and go in whatever direction they want," Gianella explains.

"These decompression walks help them reduce stress, lower their heart rate, and keep their minds active."

Here are the best dog leashes for various walking situations from BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

Reviews

The best overall dog leash is the Max and Neo Dog Gear Nylon Reflective Double Dog Leash

 

 

This double-handled leash is a tough choice for daily walks or more difficult hikes. It has a traffic handle, which is a second padded handle about 18 inches away from your dog.

This makes it simple to regain control of your dog quickly, such as when crossing the street or in a crowded area.

The leash is available in seven different colors and two lengths: a standard 6-foot option and a shorter 4-foot option suitable for training.

A D-ring near the top of the leash has been added for attaching a poop bag holder or other gadgets. In addition, for each leash sold, Max and Neo donates an item to a rescue.

 

Ruffwear Knot-a-Leash Dog Leash is the best rope

 

This basic rope leash is lightweight and durable, making it ideal for hiking or camping trips.

It comes in a variety of fun colors and has a sturdy locking carabiner attachment for added security, which is useful if your dog is a bit of a Houdini Houdogi and manages to elude traditional clasps.

There’s an extra loop near the webbing handle for tying poop bags or other accessories.

The Ruffwear Knot-a-Leash comes in only a 5-foot length, putting it on the shorter end of the leash spectrum.

It does, however, come in two widths: a thin version that is 7 millimeters wide and a heftier, 11-millimeter model that is more appropriate for large or strong dogs.

 

The best dog harness for pullers is the 2 Hounds Design Freedom No Pull Dog Harness

 

 

If your dog pulls when you go for a walk, a harness will not solve the problem, and training your dog to walk nicely beside you will still be required.

A no-pull harness, on the other hand, is a useful tool in the quest for better behavior.

The 2 Hounds Design Freedom No Pull Harness includes a double-connection training leash that can be attached to your dog’s chest and back.

For more precise and gentle guidance, one end is hooked to a spot on your dog’s chest and the other to a spot on their back. There’s also a floating handle, allowing you to use the leash as a 3-foot training leash or as a standard 5-foot leash.

 

Logical Leather Dog Leash is the best leather dog leash

 

 

This leash is made from a single piece of full-grain leather and features nice stitching and a nickel-plated brass clasp. But this isn’t all for show.

According to the manufacturer, it has been tested to withstand more than 245 pounds of pulling force while remaining lightweight at only about 6 ounces.

The leash is available in classic colors such as brown, tan, and black, as well as a rainbow of unique colors ranging from yellow to purple. It comes in 4-foot, 5-foot, and 6-foot lengths, as well as heavy-duty and braided versions.

The leash is stain and water resistant, but it may need to be treated with a leather conditioner on occasion.

 

Kurgo Quantum 6-In-1 Dog Leash is the best hands-free dog leash

 

Depending on where you hook the carabiner, this leash can be used in six different ways. You can run hands-free by looping it around your waist, or walk with it over your shoulder.

It can also be used as a tether to hitch your dog or as a standard or training leash in 6-foot or 3-foot lengths. Its length is also adjustable, ranging from 48 to 72 inches.

The Kurgo Quantum 6-in-1 is available in six bright colors and is reflective for easy visibility. Although the nylon is tough, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty just in case. 

 

Flexi Neon Nylon Tape Reflective Retractable Dog Leash is the best retractable dog leash

 

To begin, most dog trainers will advise against using a retractable leash. They provide little control over your pet, particularly in frightening or dangerous situations.

If you try to grab it, the cord can wrap around your pet, your legs, or burn your hands. If you drop it and it races clattering after your dog, the handle may startle it.

However, if you’re certain that a retractable leash is the best option for your needs, the Flexi New Neon is your best bet, with an easy-to-use one-handed braking system, smooth-rolling tape, and a neon handle for increased visibility.

It is available in a variety of sizes and in either a 10-foot or 16-foot length. Just keep your hands away from the tape and avoid wrapping it around any part of you or your dog.

What to Look for When Buying a Dog Leash

Weight and length

According to Marissa Sunny, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and senior dog lifesaving specialist for the Best Friends Animal Society, the type of leash you choose should be based on your dog’s size.

“The first thing to consider when selecting a leash is your dog. Smaller dogs benefit from a lightweight 6-foot leash, whereas larger dogs benefit from a thick 4-to-6-foot leash,” Sunny says.

 

Material

Nylon, rope, leather, and other materials can be used to make leashes. It may take some time for them to settle in and feel at ease.

“You want something that is comfortable to hold and won’t cause scratches or blisters if you’re walking for long periods of time with it,” Sunny says.

Some leashes also have padded handles, which can make them more comfortable to use.

 

Extras

There are leashes with extra handles to help you control your pet, as well as places to hang poop bags, lights, or other gadgets. They aren’t always necessary, according to Gianella.

“I believe that the simpler, the better!” “You don’t want anything weighing down either you or the dog,” she says.

“The harness is the most important thing to make sure they’re safe. Loops for poop bags, on the other hand, can be useful for keeping your hand free for reinforcing any behavior you want on walks!”

FAQ

How do you keep your dog from biting his or her leash?

Dogs bite and chew on their leashes as a form of play or when they are overstimulated, according to Sunny. You can put a stop to the behavior in a variety of ways.

  • “If your dog is a frequent leash biter, I would first work on teaching them that biting the leash means we don’t go for a walk,” Sunny advises.
  • “Begin inside in a secure area, attach the leash to the dog, and begin walking towards the door.
  • ” Drop the leash and walk away as soon as your dog bites the leash. This will signal to the dog that if they continue to bite the leash, they will not be able to go for a walk.”

Sunny suggests choosing a leash that isn’t fun or easy to chew, such as one made of chain or coated wire. She also suggests soaking the leash in something sour, such as apple cider vinegar.

Biting the leash can also indicate that the collar or harness is too tight, according to Gianella.

  • “First, I’d make sure the leash isn’t too heavy for the dog and that the harness and collar fit properly.”
  • “You should be able to fit two fingers under the collar and harness and it should still feel snug,” she says.

If your dog chews on the leash while you’re walking it out of excitement or frustration, she recommends rewarding the good behavior rather than the unwanted activity.

  • “You can mark and reinforce them for paying attention to you, staying by your side, sniffing, or doing anything other than chewing on the leash,” she explains.
  • “The more they’re reinforced for everything except chewing on the leash, the less you’ll notice.”

 

Can pulling on the leash cause dogs to injure themselves?

Yes, they can, according to both dog trainers we spoke with at The Spruce Pets.

“That’s why I always recommend a properly fitted harness.” “If a dog pulls on a leash while wearing only a collar, they can cause significant damage to the neck or spine,” Gianella says.

“I also like to do a lot of training where I reinforce them when the leash is loose, there is no tension on the leash, or they are by my side.”

Many trainers advise using front-clip harnesses, which turn dogs around when they pull on the leash. Sunny prefers harnesses that are “Y-shaped” and do not restrict the dog’s range of motion.

“Dogs can injure themselves when they pull on a leash, and this is especially true when they are being walked on a slip collar, flat collar, or slip lead,” Sunny says.

“Continuous pressure on a dog’s neck can be painful and dangerous, potentially leading to a collapsed trachea.”

Why should you rely on BestForPets?

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) spoke with several dog trainers for this story, including Erin Gianella, KPT-CTP, owner of Perfect Pals Dog Training in Denver, and Marissa Sunny, CPDT-KA, senior dog lifesaving specialist for Best Friends Animal Society.

We also spoke with a number of dog owners, fosters, and rescue workers to find out what factors they consider when choosing leashes.

Thank you for reading this far. We hope that our article will help you choose the best dog leashes for your pet.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher

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