How to Choose the Right Leash for Your Dog

Puppy on leash
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A fixed-length leash should be your go-to for outings with your dog.

Whether you’re buying your new dog a leash for the first time or replacing an older leash with something more up to date, the options can seem overwhelming. There are a wide range of leash types available, many of which claim to deal with specific issues or situations. So how do you know which leash is best for your dog?


Here’s a brief rundown of common leash types and features to help you choose the best option.

The Best Leash Options

A fixed-length leash should be your dog’s go-to leash for outings. Fixed-length leashes vary on average from four to eight feet long. A fixed-length leash gives you the option to pull your dog closer or steer him in a different direction, and the loop handle makes it possible to hook the leash over your wrist while juggling another task, like picking up after your pup with a poop bag.

A traffic leashhas a second handle set closer to the dog’s neck, typically six to 12 inches from the leash's attachment clip. Some varieties are a fixed, short length only, while most have a longer leash with the traffic handle built into the lower portion of the leash. A traffic leash increases your ability to control your dog’s movements in crowded or high-distraction spaces, such as on an elevator. A short traffic leash is not appropriate for walks, though, as it may restrict your dog’s airway and impede his ability to explore. Instead, opt for a longer leash with a built-in traffic handle and use it only when absolutely necessary.


A double dog walking leash is designed to assist with walking multiple dogs at the same time. It is made up of two leashes with one shared handle. Choose one with a rotating attachment that helps prevent the leashes from tangling. But be aware that dogs with different walking personalities (one who likes to greet people and one who is shy and prefers to hang back, for instance) may not do well on a shared leash. Additionally, a double dog leash is not recommended for dogs who are extreme pullers or otherwise difficult to handle.

A waist-clip leash has a mechanism that can secure it around your waist instead of holding it in your hand. This frees your hands, which can be useful if you're pushing a stroller or carrying packages, or if you are a runner who trains with your dog. A waist-clip leash can also be useful for training, as it allows you to focus on proper timing and treat delivery without having to juggle the leash and the treat pouch. However, this type of leash does create the potential for injury. If your dog tends to zigzag in front of you on walks or change sides while walking, you may be at risk for tripping and falling. Be sure any waist-clip leash has a quick release mechanism in case of an accident or emergency.


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