Contrary to popular belief, you can’t use just any leash when teaching your pup the obedience basics. The best dog leashes for training will vary in style and size, depending on what you’re teaching.
Nicole Flowers, owner of Oregon-based obedience school Portland’s Premier Dog Trainer, tells Bustle that knowing which leash works best for different applications is the key to successful training. “Different leashes should be utilized in different phases of training and dog aging," Flowers says. Puppies need two key skills, she explains:
- Name Recall (coming when called). “Name recall needs a long line of about 15 feet," she says. "This way you can say ‘Macy, Come,’ and then pull your puppy back in for the reward when they do not comply immediately.”
- Loose Leash-Walking (not pulling on the leash when they walk). "Polite leash-walking skills is going to be easiest taught on a short leash that is non-retractable," Flowers says. "One that can be held close and aids the dog in continuous practice of walking by our side."
After teaching your pup these basic skills, the type of leash you use for continued training is up to you. Flowers does advise against retractable leashes because they keep constant pressure on your dog, which can be confusing for them. Aside from that restriction, just make sure any leash you use is strong enough to hold your dog and built to last.
With the help of Flower's suggestions, I've put together a list of the best dog leashes for each application so your pup can become a model student.
1. The Best Leash For Name Recall
At 15 feet long, this high-quality dog training leash is exactly the length that Flowers recommends for optimum name-recall practice. It gives your pup ample space while allowing you to pull them back if they don't respond to your call. "This teaches action equals reward while being able to enforce the command," she says. "Repetition yields consistent results."
The leash is strong and durable, with top-grade nylon and premium stitching. It's one-inch wide, which makes it thicker than other options and tougher, too. And while no leash is "chew-proof," this selection comes closer than many and is also resistant to wear-and-tear from rubbing against trees, pavement, and other environmental hazards. It has a velcro coiling-system for tangle-free travel and comes with a five-year warranty. The only drawback is that it's a bit pricier. For a cheaper version that's not quite as strong but still a great budget option, try this one.
2. The Best Leash For Loose-Leash Walking
A shorter leash is the most ideal way to keep your dog in the heeling position as you train them to walk by your side without tugging. This Mighty Paw dog training leash features a soft, padded handle with silky neoprene that prevents rubbing and chafing. The entire length of the rope is woven with reflective stitching for extra visibility at night. The robust aluminum clip features a durable, no-tangle swivel and boasts 400 kilograms of tension control, which is the equivalent of what rock climbers use as a safeguard. The leash comes in two color options and your choice of 18-inch or 30-inch lengths. As a bonus, it can be used for vet visits or to increase control in other locations where high canine traffic is involved.
3. The Best Leash For Continued Training
Once your puppy gets past the initial training phase, this non-retractable dog leash is a great choice for continued training. Built with heavy-duty mountaineering rope, the leash is half an inch in diameter and boasts super comfy padded handles. It has a strong weave that won't break if your pooch is an aggressive tugger, and it has reflective stitching to make sure people can you see you at night. It also comes in five colors: black, green, blue, red, and hot pink. One Amazon reviewer wrote: "I'm currently loose leash training a 6 month lab mix who has never been trained to walk on a leash, or even wear a collar/harness. Paired with her starter harness, this leash has been incredibly effective to gently, but firmly redirect her to walk along side me, and has just the right amount of tension."
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