The choice in dog leashes is endless. How do you know which leash is the right leash for your dog?If you choose your dog's leash on looks alone, you may be disappointed. Let's take a look at the different types of leashes out there, what each is used for, and then you can decide which leash is the best choice for your dog.
A standard 6-foot leash is a great, all-purpose leash. Your dog can't get too far away from you, but still has plenty of room to wander a little bit. This is a great length for taking your dog to the veterinary office, for a walk in a suburban neighborhood, and for obedience classes.
A short, 2- or 3-foot leash is perfect for busy city sidewalks, your kid's soccer match, a dog festival, or somewhere where you don't want or need your dog to be very far away from you. This leash allows you to keep your dog close to you, but also is long enough that the leash won't always be tight on his neck (unless he's pulling).
A long 20- or 30-foot leash is great for wandering through a wide-open field or anywhere else where you're not likely to come across other people, dogs, or immovable objects like trees or poles. I love taking my dogs out on these long leashes. The dogs have almost the same freedom as being off-leash, but they're much safer. My dogs can get up a full head of steam and run and frolic like puppies on these long lines.
A retractible leash (a.k.a. Flexi) is not recommended. I know this disappoints many people, but there aren't many good uses for a retractible leash. The only use for a retractible leash would be for swimming your dog in an on-leash area. This leash gives you the security of being on leash, complies with a leash law, and is less likely to be caught on underwater objects. I don't recommend retractible leashes for everyday use and never recommend them for tight quarters like veterinary offices, sidewalks, neighborhood walks, soccer fields, etc. The biggest drawback to the retractible leashes is that they actually encourage your dog to pull on a leash. So if you want your dog to walk politely, put away the retractible leash! These leashes also have a disturbing safety record -- just search for "retractible leash injuries" for almost 10,000 hits on how dangerous these leashes are for both dogs and people.
I have all of the leashes mentioned (even the retractible leash). I use each one depending on where I'll be and just how close I need my dog to be to me. The leash I use most often is the standard 6-foot leash. When I'm in public with a service dog in-training, I usually use the 3-foot leash.
I've included a short video to show you how and where I use each type of leash.
Your turn: what's your favorite leash?