Where and when is a dog leash required?
A good dog leash is a must-have for any dog owner. The use of a dog leash is mandatory for walks within built-up areas. Outside built-up areas, a leash obligation sometimes also applies, for example in nature reserves. Of course it is also safer to keep your dog on a leash, especially in heavy traffic or when your dog does not listen well or can react unexpectedly to people or other dogs. In addition, you can also use the dog leash to train your dog - by keeping the dog leash short or letting go, you send out a certain signal with which you can control the behavior of your dog.
The best dog leash to buy depends on your dog, what activities you want to use the leash for and in what situations. Someone who goes on a puppy course with his labrador naturally needs a different dog leash than someone who goes for a walk with his terrier in the woods. In this article we tell you which dog leashes are available and what are their respective pros and cons.
What different dog leashes are there?
Dog leashes come in all shapes and sizes. In addition to the colour and material, you can also choose between different types. These types of dog leashes are most commonly used:
- Standard leash: This leash is approximately 1 meter long. It is suitable for walking, but offers little freedom of movement.
- Long leash: Identical to a standard leash, but longer. The length varies between 2 and 20 meters and is not adjustable. Particularly suitable for training a dog to come immediately on command. Because this type of leash has to be wound up manually, it is less suitable for walks.
- Rolling leash or flex leash: Strap or cord that is automatically wound up in a plastic handle. Can be locked at any length and is especially popular with owners of smaller dogs. Not suitable for training your dog; because the leash is not directly in the hand, it gives less feeling.
- Adjustable leash: Also called dressage leash or police leash. It has trigger hooks at both ends and is fitted with several rings - usually three - spread along the length. This allows the leash to be adjusted in length in steps.
- Hunting leash: Also called a training leash. This is actually a dog leash and collar in one. The leash ends in a loop that is placed around the dog's neck. A good hunting leash has two so-called "stops" at the loop: one to prevent the loop from becoming too big and the dog coming loose and a second one to prevent the loop from squeezing the neck (like a slip leash). It is important to set both stops well in advance, so that the hunting leash can be used in an animal-friendly manner.
- Slip leash: This is a hunting leash without stops. As a result, the loop around the neck narrows when the dog pulls too hard on the leash, with the aim of unlearning such behaviour. Because this can be unpleasant and even dangerous for your dog, the use of a slip leash is strongly discouraged.
In addition to the different leash types, you also have the choice between different materials of which the dog leash is made. It is usually made of leather or textile (often nylon or polyester or a mix thereof). Because a hunting leash is also a collar at the same time, you should make sure that your dog is not allergic to the material from which it is made. Dog leashes that are attached to a separate collar or dog harness do not or hardly ever come into contact with the skin of the dog, therefore skin-friendliness is less relevant here.
Which dog leash is best for me and my dog?
The choice of a suitable dog leash largely depends on how much freedom of movement you want and can give your dog. Not every type of leash will suit you and your dog, or the activities you want to engage in. In any case, make sure that you choose a leash with which you can keep your dog under control.
Do you only need a dog leash for short walks? Then a short standard leash of about 1 meter long may be sufficient. When walking in a busy area or along a busy road or bike path, a short dog leash is the safest in any case. The disadvantage of a standard dog leash is the limited amount of freedom between you and your dog; if the animal stops, you must also stop, if he wants to continue, you must come along too. And if the dog pulls on the leash, you quickly tend to pull back, although the dog is just following its instinct to sniff around. That can make a walk very uncomfortable. When you want to give your dog more space, you can only do that by releasing him from the leash. Would you rather keep your dog on a leash and at the same time give him more freedom? Then choose a longer leash type.
For a longer walk you will probably visit the countryside. Sometimes you can let your dog of the leash there, but at times when he has to be on a leash a long leash is a practical choice. It enables your dog to sniff around, without hindering you at your own walking pace. If you want to use a non-adjustable long leash, it is important though that your dog listens well. Although the optimal freedom of movement may be very nice for your dog, it also means that he may get into trouble at a distance where you cannot reach him right away. Also, a long leash will often drag on the ground and get dirty. Another disadvantage is that the leash has to be shortened by hand every time you want to keep your dog closer. Also it can easily become entangled when walking or when storing. On balance, a non-adjustable long leash is especially suitable for training listening skills and less practical for walking your dog. Long leashes are also available without a handle, a so-called tow leash. With this leash type you can teach your dog to walk free, without the leash being able to get caught behind anything.
Rolling leash or flexh leah
A rolling leash or flex leash with an automatic retractor system offers maximum flexibility in length, but also has its limitations. Does your dog pull a lot? Then a retractable leash might not be such a good idea; the flexible retractor system only encourages this behaviour. Another disadvantage is that the retractor gives less feeling, so that your commands reach your dog less directly. This makes the retractable leash unsuitable for training your dog. However, if optimal control over your dog is not your first priority, a flex leash is a handy solution for walking your dog, in particular for smaller dog breeds.
An adjustable leash or police leash is a nice compromise: the length can be quickly increased or decreased in steps, while the control over the dog is better than with a retractable leash because the leash is kept directly in your hand. An adjustable leash is therefore also very suitable for dog training. Keep in mind the slightly higher weight due to the extra metal parts and because the leash runs double when shortened. Not a problem for most adult dogs, but especially with smaller breeds, an adjustable leash can sometimes be too heavy for puppy training. A limitation compared to a long leash or flex leash is that the maximum length of an adjustable leash usually does not exceed 2 to 3 meters.
A hunting leash is very similar to a non-adjustable long leash in terms of advantages and disadvantages, but has the advantage that you do not need a collar. The end of this type of dog leash has an adjustable neck loop, which you can easily put on or take off. So if your dog is allowed to run off the leash for a while, he can do so without a collar. Do not confuse a hunting leash with a slip leash, which we strongly advise against. A hunting leash is also not a good option in case of pulling behaviour, because the leash is often slack and thin, so that a pulling force can cause a strong point load on the dog's neck. If your dog has a tendency to pull, it is better to put on a wide collar or - even better - a dog harness with a separate dog leash.
As you can see, there is a suitable leash for every dog and every activity. Have you already found the perfect dog leash in our webshop? We wish you and your dog a lot of pleasure while walking!