Although many think that choosing a lead would be simple, there are so many varieties available that it can be difficult to know which one would be best to use when walking your dog. Here is our quick guide, including the pros and cons for each type.
A standard lead can be securely attached to the collar, and is available in a variety of materials, widths and sizes.
This type is suitable for dogs of all breeds and sizes, and is simple and easy to use by clipping the end of the lead on to the collar. They are good for a puppy or a new dog that is not used to being walked, or that is new to being walked with you, as you can then discover through trial and error whether an alternative style may be better. The different materials available mean you can find one that will be comfortable for you to handle.
Depending on the type of material the lead is, you may suffer from burns as a result of the dog pulling on it. Some dogs may benefit from another type of lead that would encourage them to exercise more control.
Extendable and retractable leads
The lead extends from a plastic container that is held by the dog walker, with a button that allows for the blocking of the lead at the length of your choice. This enables the owner to have control over how much freedom the dog does or doesn’t have. However, extendable and retractable leads have experienced some controversy.
It enables the dog to have a lot of freedom without being let off the lead. This is particularly useful for dogs that have a tendency to run away and then fail to return when called. Alternatively, it can also be useful for keeping the dog close to you when you need them to stay nearby.
If the spring fails there is no way to retract the lead, which can result in serious accidents. This inability to effectively control the dog could mean they run into the path of traffic. It is therefore not advisable to use this type of lead in congested areas. Also, it may be too late to lock the lead if the dog has already started to run away by the time you need to do it.
Monitoring your dog’s actions is imperative with this type of lead, as negligence can cause it to become wrapped around something, even the animal’s own neck. Ideally the lead should be brightly coloured, as a dark one can be difficult to see and will make people think your dog is loose should it come towards them. Consider the typical amount of control you have over your dog, and whether they would definitely respond in a situation where you needed them to, if you were to use an extendable and retractable lead. Practice is important so you can learn how to use it properly.
This type is very similar to the standard lead, but with a few added extras to allow them to be adjusted. Although they provide more freedom, adjustable leads arguably enable the owner to maintain more control over the dog than the extendable and retractable lead does.
They can be altered according to situation. For instance, the length can be shortened in highly congested areas to keep the dog closer to you, and increased in areas where there is more freedom for the dog to roam.
You need to make sure the lead is adjusted comfortably around the dog’s neck, and is a suitable length according to context. Failure to do so could give the dog too much freedom in an undesirable situation and could result in various accidents, as with the extendable lead.
Overall, there are many leads to choose from so you are bound to find one that is suitable for your dog, regardless of breed or size. Think about how much your dog needs controlling when you’re out and about, and where you tend to walk them. Of course, the type of collar can sometimes dictate the decision you make about which lead to choose.