The dog supply industry is a gazillion dollar business. Even though your dog doesn’t complain and for the most part he’s happy about any toy, chew, ball, bed, and the like that you bring home, it doesn’t mean that it was made with your dog’s best interest, foremost in the manufacturer’s mind.
Let’s talk about leashes for a moment. I’ve noticed that the expansive variety goes from simple half-inch wide flat nylon to braided, roped, twisted leather, and Bungie stretching to name a few. Some of the clips used to connect to a collar or harness are huge, bulky, heavy, and unnecessarily difficult to open. Some leashes are four(4) feet long, some are five (5) and some are six(6) feet long. So what do I suggest? I always use a six (6) foot long 5/8” wide leash, with a small to medium size clip, on medium to large breed dogs. I use a six (6) foot long 3/8” wide leash, with a small clip, on small breed dogs and puppies.
Why? First of all, the leash doesn’t matter to your dog for the most part. This is what to consider: Is the leash comfortable in your hand? Is it comfortable enough for you to wind around your palm? Is it long enough for your dog to walk a few feet away and sniff the grass to pee or poo? Is the clip small enough that it won’t weigh on your dog’s neck or body?
What material leash do I use and do I recommend? I never use any leash that is thick, stiff, rope, leather or stretchy. I use a nylon six (6) foot long 3/8” wide leash, with a small clip, on small breed dogs and puppies. It’s the only choice in that narrow width that is comfortable and flexible, unlike leather. For all other dogs medium to large, I use a cotton-web six (6) foot long 5/8” wide leash, with a small to medium size clip. Cotton-web is the choice of trainers because it’s soft, comfortable, flexible, strong, washable, durable, and inexpensive. The clip is medium size.
What about extendable or retractable leashes? I don’t use them and I don’t recommend them. If your dog is in front of you, the dog is in control. If the dog is in control, you are not! You cannot train a dog on an extendable leash. You cannot even protect your dog on an extendable leash.
The only purpose I think it may serve is when you are out in a field and want to give your dog more freedom.
If you are walking your dog on an average neighborhood street, there’s a good chance your dog can run into the street when a car is coming before you have a chance to realize what’s happening and retract the leash.
Think about what may happen if your dog is several feet away from you and a dog off-leash runs toward your dog.
Dogs are companion animals and walking with a companion should be walking side by side. Why would you want your dog walking ten feet in front of you? How can you stop your dog from eating, touching, or picking up foreign objects if you can monitor what he’s doing ten feet away?
The majority of pet parents consider their dog to be a member of the family or even a kid in a furry suit. Why put so much distance and danger between you and the furry family member you love so much?