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When it comes to our pooches, there is no word quite like W-A-L-K-I-E-S to conjure up a flurry of excitement and prancing paws as they eagerly wait at the door ready to go out and explore their surroundings. It goes without saying that a dog lead is one of the most important tools that you will use with your dog. From training them as a pup to going on many adventures together during your dog's lifetime. In this guide, we take a look at different types of dog leads and their uses for those who may be new to pet-parenting or those needing a helping hand deciding which lead is right for your dog.

Leads are important, there are many reasons why!

Wherever you are in your pet-parent journey, chances are, if you are a dog owner, you will at some point have to use a lead with your dog. From training them as a puppy to going out in public, dog leads are a staple item for you and your pooch.

In some places, it is a legal requirement for owners to have their dog on a lead when out in public for safety reasons. A lead is an essential tool which can not only aid in training during the early stages of puppy-hood but can also help keep you and your dog safe.

There are many uses and benefits to come from using a lead with your dog. Dog leads can help to...

  • Control your dog during training sessions
  • Prevent your dog from chasing or scaring other animals or humans
  • Prevent your dog from wandering off and entering inappropriate places/trespassing
  • Prevent your dog from danger - such as running into the road or causing accidents
  • Tether your dog so they're safe if you cannot give them your full attention for a few minutes - for example, entering a store where animals are not allowed

Huskie on the lead

What types of dog leads are there?

For daily walks and exercise, just about any lead is as good as any other. But if your dog has a tendency to run off, displays a certain behaviour or disposition around other dogs or people, or is still being trained as a puppy, then there may be a particular lead to suit your needs.

There are many different types of leads and those types may vary depending on where you look for information or where you shop. In this guide, we are going to talk about the four most common lead types. These are: Standard leads, retractable leads, adjustable leads and slip leads.

Standard leads

A standard lead is the most common kind of dog lead and is ideal for everyday use. This type of lead is available in different lengths, widths and materials - so your needs may vary depending on the size of your dog. For example, standard leads made from rope are good for larger dogs or very strong dogs. Leads made from leather are the most comfortable and durable whereas nylon leads, although durable and perfect for smaller and lighter dogs, can be uncomfortable for some dog breeds.

Best for:Standard leads can be used to train your dog but are most suitable for easy going pups without obedience issues. This type of lead may not be the right for disobedient dogs or dogs that pull excessively.

Retractable leads

Retractable leads are leads, often made from cord, which are extendable. They offer the option of lengthening and shortening the amount of lead available. The more the lead extends, the less confined your pooch is to walking beside you. This is a great option for dogs who have no obedience issues, who like to explore and exercise, without them going off-lead.

Best for: This lead is not ideal dogs with obedience issues who are still getting used to leads. Whilst this is not the lead for big and highly energetic dogs, it is perfect for well-behaved dogs of smaller sizes.

Adjustable leads

If you’re looking for a mid-way point between a standard lead and a retractable lead, then an adjustable lead may be just what you need. This type of lead is similar to a standard lead but allows you to adjust the length of the lead using loops or clips. This lead can be as short as 3 feet or as long as 6 feet and comes in a range of different materials, shapes and widths.

Best for:All types of dogs can use these lead, no matter their size or temperament. This type of lead is great for training, especially for heel work as you can shorten the length so that your dog is right next to you as you walk. You can also use this walk for running with your furry-friend, by adjusting the length and wrapping around your waist, providing that your pooch is well-trained.

Slip leads

The slip lead, which is often referred to as a training lead, is a collar-and-lead combination which is suitable for dogs still in training or dogs who may be a little disobedient and still having problems on their walk. This type of lead looks just like a standard lead, however there is a collar (or loop) attached to the end of the lead which you place safely around your dog’s neck. This is to ensure that your dog is fastened in safely (so they cannot break from the collar and run free) and to ensure that you have control whilst out walking.

Best for: The slip lead is best for dogs who may get distracted easily or may still be having problems on their walk. This option lets you correct your pooch easily and keep them on track during your stroll.

Dog on walk in the sun

Things to consider when deciding which lead is right for your dog

It goes without saying that all dogs are different. From their size to their temperament to their ability to listen and learn, no two dogs are the same. So whilst there are a range of different lead types available, when it comes to deciding which lead is right for your dog, you are the one who knows best.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a lead for your dog:

  • How experienced is your dog with leads? Are you currently training your pup or is your canine a master of walking whilst on a lead?
  • Is your pooch easy going or are they full of energy with a tendency to pull on the lead whenever something sparks their interest?
  • How obedient is your dog? Do they listen to your commands or do they have to be told over and over again?
  • What is your dog like with other animals and people? Do they frighten easily or become aggressive or are they happy to say hello and be petted?
  • Your dog’s size plays a big role in which type of lead they may need. Smaller dogs may be happier with a longer lead as they can roam but are easy to control when needed. Large dogs may require shorter, stronger leads as they may be harder to control if further away from you

Whilst these are some of the most common types of leads and things to consider when searching for the right lead for you and your dog, this list is by no means exhaustive. If you are struggling to decide which lead is right for your needs, you can ask in store at any pet store. For more advice on training your dog and avoiding bad doggy behaviour, visit our health guides.

Whilst these are some of the most common types of leads and things to consider when searching for the right lead for you and your dog, this list is by no means exhaustive. If you are struggling to decide which lead is right for your needs, you can ask in store at any pet store. For more advice on training your dog and understanding the myths around bad doggy behaviour, visit our health guides.

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