best-flexi-leashThere are so many different styles of dogs leashes, how do you know what is best and safest for you and your dog? A nylon 4′ leash or a 16′ cord retractable leash like a Flexileash? A 6-foot leather leash or a rope slip-leash? You’re a good pet parent and want to keep your pet safe, but the choices can be overwhelming, and you might not be aware of the dangers lurking behind the choice of which leash you use on your dog. Here are ten dog leash tips to help get your walk started on the right foot, er, paw.

1. Leash training: Any type of leash won’t do you much good if your dog isn’t trained to walk well on a leash. If your dog is pulling, try this training article. If you have a puppy or dog unfamiliar with being walked on a leash, try our Teach Your Dog or Puppy to Walk on a Leash article.

2. Leash Material: 1/2″ to 1″ flat nylon is my favorite. Even for tiny 5-pound dogs, I prefer the 1/2″ thickness, as the thinner leashes are just too likely to slip from hand. If you have a bigger or strong dog, don’t skimp on leash quality.

3. Clasp style: Quick snap. The most common kind of dog leash clasp is the bolt snap aka snap hook. That’s the kind that looks like this:

bolt-snap-dog-leash

Some heavier-duty leashes use trigger snap hooks, but they pose the same risk in my experience as the bolt snap: the release can get triggered if it gets caught on the dog’s collar or harness and come undone! The safest kind of clasp I’ve seen on a dog leash locks like a mountain climber’s carabiner, like those on the Tuenne leash seen below:

tuenne-carabiner

4. Leash length: Depends on the environment and height of your dog. If you’ll be walking your dog along the edge of the road or on a crowded sidewalk, shorter is better. While you can always wrap a longer leash around your hand, having the handle be at a short length makes it much easier to keep your dog right at your side, the safest place to be. For small to medium height dogs, a 4-foot leash works well. For taller dogs, a 2-foot “traffic length” leash may be ideal. If you’re walking on wide sidewalks with or in the country, 6-foot nylon leashes give your dog plenty of sniffing radius.

5. Leash style: Flat nylon – not retractable. I have to confess, I used to be a retractable leash walker. I would walk my two big dogs everywhere on the longest Flexi leashes they made! When the first squirrel incident sent me to urgent care for the rope burn wound on my leg, even then I only switched from the rope-style to the tape-style… until I watched in horror as a neighbor, walking his dog across the street from us on a retractable leash, had his dog dart unexpectedly towards us to say hello, and was hit and killed by a car.

Retractable leashescan be used safely. If you’re walking to a park or other traffic and pedestrian-free area, please keep the lock securely locked from the moment before your open your front door until you get there. Don’t rely on being able to press the lock with your finger in time.

We hope you find these 5 best dog leash tips helpful in your dog leash selection!