Leashes are a very simple piece of equipment and a necessary part of daily life for most city dogs. Having a dog confined (on a leash) . There are several different types available, and a few things to point out for those trying to choose something new and who may be less familiar with the options.
Leash Length. First, a note about proper leash length. Keep in mind that many cities require dogs to be on a leash of 6 feet or shorter. We personally like a 4 foot leash for our regular walks in the city, and we grab a longer leash when we’re out with more room to roam.
Longer leashes can create a few problems, which are even more pronounced in a city environment.
Limits your ability to monitor your dog, which is more important on a busy sidewalk with danger just steps away. We often see people walking their dog on a longer leash who literally don’t even know where their dog is (other than that it’s on the end of the leash, somewhere!).
Restricts your ability to quickly remove your dog from a dangerous situation, whether they are about to eat something they shouldn’t or about to step into traffic.
Limits your ability to communicate with your dog, whether verbally, through leash feedback, or by direct contact.
While these may not be problems on every single walk, it’s actually scary how quickly the situation can change, especially in a busy city. Keeping your dog close will help to keep them safer.
These come in either flat or rope styles of a fixed length, generally 4-10 feet. Keep in mind that many cities require dogs to be on a leash of 6 feet or shorter. It’s especially important on crowded city sidewalks to keep your pup close and know where they are so you can actively monitor them. We often see people walking their dog on a longer leash who literally don’t even know where their dog is (other than that it’s on the end of the leash, somewhere!). We personally like a 4 foot leash for our regular walks in the city, and we grab a longer leash when we’re out with more room to roam.
A slip lead is effectively a leash and collar in one. The leash has a loop at the end that is slipped over the dog’s head. This acts as a choke collar, so it isn’t always a great option if your pup pulls a lot. These may also have a safety attachment to clip onto an attached collar or harness, just in case it slips off.
Some leashes now have some built in stretch to them, allowing them to stretch an additional foot or more. We’ve never been a big fan. The theory is that they provide some shock absorption for dogs who are heavy pullers, but in our experience, these are the dogs that will pull to the end of the leash and keep going anyway. The main downside is that it translates to lost control. It makes it more difficult to judge how far your dog can reach--you might think they can’t get to that chicken bone or step into the street, but they might have another foot of leash if they just pull hard enough.
Retractable leashes have a place, but they generally are not great in the city. But if you’re out at a larger park or open area and can permit your dog to roam a bit more, this is a way to let them run a bit while still keeping them attached. When the leash is not locked, it’s impossible to tell by “feel” where your dog is. Just be careful to lock the leash securely if you need to keep your dog closer, or you’ll turn around and realize they have gone 10 feet away from you, which is more than enough to get into danger in the city.