Best Leashes for Dog Training

Black handheld training leash with red accent color.

What's the difference between a "Training Leash" and a regular leash?

There really isn't a universal definition of a training leash, pretty much any leash can be used for dog training, after all, aren't we doing some sort of training almost every day?

I like to match my "training leashes" to the type and location of the activities I'm doing that day.


Options for Training Leashes

Long Leash / Long Line / Drag Line

A longer leash can give your pup greater range for sniffing, potentially reducing their tendency to pull. These are also great for recall training. 

I use a 15' adjustable long line for any walk, hike, or training session that I'm doing on trails or in parks. My personal one is connected to a waist belt so I always have good control of my dog, regardless of what wildlife or off-leash dogs we encounter.

15 feet is a good length and configuration for us, but you may find a shorter or longer leash works better for you and your pup.

Short Leash

If you are working on your pup in more crowded urban areas, a shorter leash can be ideal - avoid juggling the excess length of a standard leash and go for something that is 2' or 4' in length.

You can also go as short as 12" in a clip-on leash handle or 6" in a leash tab handle if you need "something to grab" while working with your dog off-leash. I like the leash tabs for longer haired dogs especially, you can quickly clip your leash onto the end of the tab instead of searching for a harness or a collar connection ring.

Cross Body Leash

I love the convenience and comfort of a cross-body (or over-the-shoulder) leash if I'm doing more urban walks with my pup, and you might as well! 

I do make my cross body straps separate from my leashes so you can swap out whatever length of leash you want. 

Waist Leash

A heavy duty waist belt is my go-to for all of our neighborhood walks and our hikes. It's so easy to clip on the length of the leash I want and being ready to go with all my treats and poop bags already on the belt. Rowan appreciates not having to wait "forever" for me to get ready for walkies!

You can get "all-in-one" waist belted leashes, but I find that a 1" buckle isn't as sturdy as the medium weight and and heavy duty belts that I make - and this is speaking from experience! We've "killed" more than one waist belted leash before I started to make my own, the last one that failed ended up allowing Rowan to chase a coyote...

Leashes for dogs that pull

You can convert any harness with a front and back connection point to a "no-pull" harness by adding a double ended leash.

Now this won't take the place of training!

What this does do is help you to communicate with your dog during your training sessions, and allows you a bit of a physical advantage for those big, exuberant pups.

Leashes for growing large breed dogs

These are ideal for growing large breed dogs, but make great gift options for your dog walker or petcare professional.

I love the "ladder leash" style that I have in a handheld as well as hands-free versions, I actually use them for my dog walks at the shelter because they easily adapt to any size dog and allow a "loop" handle anywhere along the length of the leash.

Why slip leads aren't a good choice for training your dog

You may also hear of slip leads being referred to as "training leashes", but these are not good options, especially for initial training sessions. 

Most slip leads are designed as a loop without a "stop" to keep the leash from tightening on your dogs neck. Any stopper they have is typically to keep the loop from opening enough for your dogs head to slip out, but nothing stopping your dog from strangling or choking themselves if they aren't used to the leash and panic when pressure is applied, or get startled by something and hit their "fight or flight" response.

If your dog is inadvertently frightened and choked during a training session, imagine how they will feel when getting ready for their next "choking" session? There are better and safer options out there!

Is it better to leash train a dog with a collar or a harness?

I will always recommend a harness for any walk, hike, or training session unless your pup has a medical reason for needing to avoid a harness. We will tackle this more in another article!

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