Professional recommendations for best and worst leashes for dogs can really help you figure out which leash to choose and which ones to avoid. There are a variety of leashes on the market for dogs. Every type of leash will claim to be the best leash for walking dogs. However, with so many options, how do you know what is actually the best leash that works? Does a more expensive leash mean that it’s superior to a cheaper leash? It’s hard to say without knowing the details.
Conversely, there are a variety of leashes on the market that are NOT safe. However, pet owners are so used to seeing many of these leashes for sale that they believe these leashes are, in fact, sufficient.
Having a dog is a lot of responsibility. And, believe it or not, purchasing a leash is a big deal. The line (of a leash) from you to your dog can save their life! That being said, I want to take some of the guess work out of purchasing a leash and help navigate through the good and bad leashes for dogs.
Best Leashes For Dogs
Nylon leashes are my absolute favorite type of leash. In fact, these are the only leashes I buy for myself and for my dog walking employees at Muddy Paws. Nylon leashes are very simple, yet effective. They are a classic, no frills design that provides a secure connection to your dog. I’m a big advocate for no frills. Walking a dog can be tricky enough, you need to keep your eye on what could happen next. The last thing you want to worry about is whether your leash is strong enough, will it hurt you, is it secure, etc.
You can purchase these types of leashes in varying lengths and widths. Personally, I always buy 4 feet long, nylon leashes that are 1 inch in width. Shorter leashes provide you with more control on a walk, therefore 4 feet length is perfect. And the 1 inch width is durable enough to handle the big and strong dogs and not too big for the tiniest of dogs.
This is my go-to leash:
I’m not saying you need to buy this leash, but this is what my favorite leash looks like, when you go to buy a leash of your own.
Whatever nylon leash you choose, please note that shorter leashes provide the best control. I’m an advocate of 4 foot leashes. Many leashes are 6 feet long, but I do recommend these leashes. Ideally, your dog should be walking at your side on a walk. Therefore, 6 foot leashes are too long. Also, don’t give your dog too much leeway on a walk. Meaning, don’t extend your arm out with your dog walking 6 feet beyond that point as you will not be able to control your dog effectively.
A short, metal leash is a great choice for dogs who are prone to chewing things. If you have a dog that rips apart shoes, toys, and anything they can get their teeth on, a metal leash might be a good option until they grow out of the chewing stage.
Similarly, some dogs become very excited, when they see their leash and/or know they are going out for a walk. As a result, they jump and bite at their leash repeatedly. Not only is this behavior unwanted, it can be detrimental to the leash as they can rip it apart. The last thing you want is a half-chewed leash that severs completely while you are out and about on the streets!
Not only is the metal a deterrent because it cannot be chewed apart quickly, but most dogs are not fond of the taste or feel of metal on their teeth and will leave the leash alone. Additionally, the metal material is conducive for walking strong dogs so that is a bonus as well.
A traffic leash is a double handled leash where one handle is 12 to 18 inches from the collar clip and the other handle is at the other end of the leash. As the name implies, traffic leashes provide heightened control in well-traveled areas, such as traffic. As previously stated, the shorter the leash, the more control you have of your dog. Therefore, using a short leash when crossing the street or around lots of cars or people is a great tool for dog walking.
The shorter handle shouldn’t be used for leisurely walks. Even the best dogs aren’t going to walk well with just a 12 inch lead. And, it really isn’t necessary for longer walks. Rather, the shorter leash is best for busy sidewalks, bike paths and crowded areas.
The longer handle still provides great control for longer and more casual walks where sniffing and loose leash walking occurs. Having a leash that provides two purposes all in one is a great tool for walking your dog. It’s like having two leashes in one.
Worst Leashes For Dogs
And now on what leashes I do NOT recommend! I’m going to post some pictures, but please note that I am not advocating that you buy one of these products. I just want you to get an idea of what these leashes look like so you can stay far (far) away from them.
If you have a retractable leash, stop what you are doing and throw it away right now! I am not kidding.
Retractable leashes are my least favorite leash. In fact, as a company rule, I do not allow Muddy Paws dog walkers to use retractable leashes even if the customer has one of their own. Rather, I direct them to use one of the 4 feet nylon leashes that they are provided upon being hired.
A retractable leash consists of a thin wire leash that is extendable that is housed in a plastic case, molded to be used as a handle. In theory, it sounds like a great tool to use. It comes with a built in handle and your dog can have an adjustable length of leash for different situations. Great, right? NOPE!
Why retractable leashes are dangerous:
- Limbs can be severed with the wire leash
- The wire can burn your skin
- The leash can snap in half
- The locking mechanism can jam or break, leaving your dog to fend for himself
- Failure to retract the leash in time can have deadly consequences
- Failure to lock the leash quick enough can result in catastrophe
- The leash can easily slip out of your hand
- Allowing for too much leash, encourages pulling
The eight reasons listed above are just some of the devastating things that can happen when using a retractable leash. These are not exaggerations, they are based on many horror stories. Back in the day, I used a customer’s retractable leash on their dog. The dog saw a cat and immediately pulled towards it. He pulled with such force that the leash snapped in two pieces and he flew after the cat! Thankfully, he did not catch the cat and he was not a flight risk and came back to me after giving up his search for the cat. I was lucky things turned out the way that they did. It could have been much worse and I think about that situation often.
Retractable leashes are dangerous. So again, if you have a retractable leash, stop what you are doing and throw it away right now! I am not kidding.
The bungee leash is supposed to be a shock absorber and act like a cushion from any sudden moves made by your dog. They are intended to bungee your dog back to you, when your dog pulls suddenly and stretches out the leash. However, once your dog gets to the end, there’s no more shock absorption and it will jerk just as much as a regular leash. Also, it could be harder to control your dog or work on loose leash walking because you can’t control the leash as well because of its flexibility. But depending on the brand and how much flexibility it has, this leash could be a good option for a mild to moderate puller.
The rope leash is just like a “regular” leash, however, it is braided like a rope. Therein, lies the problem. Have you ever slid your hand down a rope in a quick motion? YIKES, does that hurt! You can literally get a rope burn. Yes, rope leashes are strong for dogs who are strong pullers, however, in my opinion, this leash will be dangerous for the handler. You can rip apart your hands. If you somehow get tangled up in your dog’s leash, the rope can rub against your arm or legs and create a rope burn. This does not need to happen. Therefore, it is my professional opinion that a rope leash is to be avoided at all costs. There are many other leashes to choose from that will not cause this type of concern.
Best And Worst Winners
You have read my professional recommendations for best and worst leashes for dogs. My favorite leash is a 4 foot nylon leash. It’s perfect for any size dog. Strong enough for even the worst pullers. And won’t sever your limbs. Who would have thought dog walking could be so dangerous? A professional dog walker knows the real truth. So take it from me, the nylon leash is the best choice for most dogs.
The worst leash you can use on your dog is a retractable leash. There are too many dangers associated with this type of leash and should be avoided at all costs. With so many other options on the market, there is no reason to subject yourself or your dog to such an inferior dog walking “tool”.
After reading this, hopefully, you know which leash will be best for your pup. Once you make your purchase, you will be ready to work on leashing up your dog and heading out the door for that leisurely walk! If your dog needs some pointers (or possibly you need some pointers!) on how to get properly leashed for a walk, check out my How To Leash Your Dog article. It’s very simple, but sometimes simple things can be overcomplicated by humans.
Best of luck with your decision. And stay away from retractable leashes, please!