I’m amazed more people don’t use leashes that help their dog be better behaved when they’re walking on leash. Maybe it’s because many don’t realize there are leashes out there that let you walk your dog(s) hands free and are also very, very versatile. So I decided to write this article about dog leashes. After all, dogs are perfectly happy to be well-behaved if they understand what “well behaved” means. A good well-designed leash helps them learn that walking next to you is a good way to go for a nice long walk.
I am not a fan of flexi-leashes. It seems that, because dogs are so smart, they figure out early that the way to get a longer leash is to pull on it – so they do. I’ve chuckled more than once watching a 15-pound terrier dragging its hapless owner behind it from 15 feet away. From that distance, of course, the dog has so much momentum that it’s hard to use your body weight to stop them.
Personally, as the caretaker of two strong and active dogs, my preference is for any leash that doesn’t involve having my shoulder wrenched out of its socket when the girls see a squirrel and forget their manners for a moment. They’re generally well behaved, but when there’s a cat running, all bets are off for a minute or two. And I really hate having my hands full of leashes when we’re on a walk. I want to stroll along with my hands in my pockets, or snapping pictures, or anything more interesting than holding leashes.
The most versatile leash available!
My favorite kind of leash is the euro-leash. They’re great because you can use them as a 6′ leash, a 4′ leash, an across-the-shoulders leash, a 2-dog leash or a tie-out – all with the click of a snap. Typically, I walk my dogs with one on each side and their leashes across my shoulder. If they do see that tempting running squirrel and decide to take off, my body weight keeps them from going anywhere and I have time to grab the leashes and hold them back without having my shoulders wrenched. And when it’s time to give them a little more room to do “business” or sniff around, it’s a quick conversion to the 6′ leash.
I can really see the difference in Chelsea’s behavior, in particular. When she’s next to me on her leash and it’s across my shoulders, she’s very well behaved. In fact, at times I have to glance down to make sure she’s still there! But the instant I let her move in front of me with a longer leash, she thinks she’s in charge and all bets on good behavior are off. (She’s definitely still a work in progress — it’s her cuteness that saves her at times….)
If you’ve ever checked out my CampingDogSupplies site and wondered why I carry so many kinds of euro-leashes – now you know! If you want to check ’em out, click on the photo here and you’ll go straight to the page. At the very least, though, you might want to ask yourself if you’re using a type of leash that HELPS your dog know how to walk nicely.
Thanks for listening!