Which is the best type of dog lead?

I will let you into a little secret on this one.  I don’t collect shoes or handbags; but I do find it difficult to tear myself away from the dog lead aisle in pet shops – I love the array of different textures and colours of dog leads, vibrantly displayed and to be deliberated over like one might choose an outfit.

It might be argued that one lead is just as good another and to a certain extent that’s true, but there many different types of lead available to suit different types of dogs, depending on their temperament, size and breed.

Of course in the main, a dog lead, whatever the type, is there to keep your dog under control and safe when he is out and about in public – and if you’re like me, you want him to look kind of smart sometimes too!

For reasons of safety your dog must legally be under control in public spaces, so choosing the right lead is important. A lead is an essential tool for training sessions, as well as day to day activities in order to prevent your dog from causing an accident, stopping your dog from chasing other animals, dogs or people and making sure he is toileting where he should!

When choosing a lead for your dog you need to think about the purpose you’re going to use it for, what sort of material the lead is made of, how long it is and what sort of connector is used to attach it to your dog.

A standard dog lead is usually between 4 and 6 feet long with different widths and can be made of leather, nylon, or rope.  Nylon leads are lightweight but tough enough to restrain even the largest breeds, but do be aware they are quite easy to chew through!  Nylon is a good choice for wet weather walking as it dries out quickly.  Leather leads are robust and strong but again, they can often attract the dog to chew them and leather will need more care, especially after a walk in the rain; that said, they are likely to last a lifetime.

Choosing the right width of lead is important too; you need it to be strong enough to restrain your dog without restricting him.  A young puppy doesn’t need a lead that is too thick and heavy, so it might be an idea to start off with a smaller, lighter lead until the puppy grows, (and start a collection like me!).

The style of clip is also a consideration because they do vary in type and quality.  Clips made of stainless steel or brass is by far the best choice as they don’t tend to corrode as quickly.  I have noticed that dog leads in high street supermarkets or cheaper outlets do not always have good quality clips, so this is something to look out for.  Cheap clips are apt to fail when they become wet over time, (particularly in sea water) and it’s common for them to either become stuck on the ‘open’ setting, (allowing your dog to escape) or they become impossible to un-lock.

Trigger hook clips are the most common; they have a small spring inside which is operated by the pull back trigger.  Always check these regularly as the spring can sometimes become weak over time.

Some leads can be adjustable in length by using one or two rings located along the length.  This is handy, especially for training and can be adjusted depending on your environment and circumstances. These are usually made in leather or nylon.

Retractable leads are the choice for many, but do be aware of the pitfalls of this type of lead, including, tripping, ‘rope burns’ and other accidents which may compromise the safety of your dog.  You can read more about retractable leads in our other Holidays4Dogs article.

I personally favour leather leads, although they are more costly to buy initially, they last a long time, they look smart and they tend to age nicely, becoming softer and nice to hold in the hand.

I have quite a few other types of leads and harnesses; including a couple of ‘jazzy’ nylon leads which I use in the rain, or a visit to the pub with Floss the collie; (her ‘going’ out dress!).

What sort of leads do our Holidays4Dogs followers have?  Do you often buy leads, or do you have one or more old faithfull’s that have seen you through lots of dogs?