Looking after a puppy is a challenging task for anyone. When your puppy can take his first steps outside into the big wide world, it’s important that you both feel safe and comfortable in the environment you’re in.
For a puppy, suddenly having lots of new smells, people and noises around causes a lot of distraction. It would be natural for them to feel overwhelmed but excited by everything that’s going on. If you’re particularly worried about being in a park with your pup, make sure you read up on advice of how to deal with this.
I know from looking after Oz, a beautiful black Cocker Spaniel, that puppies are full of life. Puppies are demanding and so once you are able to take them outside, you’re likely to want to find ways to give them as much exercise as possible.
For you as an owner, it could feel like a nightmare or a dream depending on how your puppy reacts to the outside world. Personally, I understand the different thoughts that might go through your head during those important puppy walks.
These thoughts could include:
- What if my puppy’s leash breaks?
- What if my puppy chews through his leash?
- What if my puppy’s leash gets wound around other dogs?
- What if my puppy escapes and I cannot catch him quick enough?
- What if my puppy doesn’t like being on a leash?
These are all relevant questions to have before taking your beloved pup on his first walk outside. In fact, they are relevant thoughts to have throughout the whole puppy training process.
The thing with puppies is that they are adventurous. They like to be nosy and have freedom. However, without time and the right training, there’s no guarantee that your puppy will do as you ask when needed. So, what do you do? How do you balance being able to train your puppy while also allowing him to roam around and be young and free? The answer is a range of leashes!
There are plenty of leashes out there that can help you to train your puppy without too much stress. I’m going to tell you about five different types of leashes and why they are good for walking your puppy.
All dogs are different, so some of these leashes might be trial and error but hopefully they will give you a better idea of what type of leash to use and when. It’s important to note that everything discussed in this article is from my experience with leashes as well as research.
Oz is a 7 month old puppy with plenty of excitement, especially when out in the real world!
Recall Training Leash
This type of leash is also known as a long leash. As you may have gathered, it is a leash that can come in different lengths but it is typically much longer than your standard leash. In my time of having puppies, I’ve found this type of leash to be useful for many different reasons. It’s a versatile product that gives you a lot of flexibility.
I found this type of leash to be effective because it gives your puppy the freedom to run around. They can stretch their legs as much as they want and you still have the flexibility to bring your pup back to you using the leash.
Following on from them being able to run around, you can still play fetch with them without feeling like they can get too far away from you. It also enables you to practice their recall and fetching skills in one.
One of the main fears is when your puppy runs away because they spot something that excites them, only to find that they do not return. It’s safe to say, if they run to the other side of the field faster than you can run, it will likely cause you anxiety. I know it has caused me a moment of panic in the past.
With a recall training leash, or long leash, you are able to have more control and perhaps prevent this from happening.
A good example of this type of leash would be this long leash. It can be bought in different lengths, which means you can choose how far you’re happy for your pup to roam away from you.
A long leash is also a good compromise if you do not have a secure backyard. That way your puppy can still sniff around the grass without escaping.
A retractable leash gives your puppy some freedom, just like the long leash does. However, there’s even more restriction. This type of leash would be good if you’re on a walk which does not allow a lot of running around for dogs.
It means your dog can stray a little further away from you to have a good sniff, do his business or chase after a leaf. With a retractable lead you can change the length with a push of a button and can quickly limit your dog to where they go or what they do. It has a locking feature that is attached to a plastic handle.
Retractable leashes are great to avoid potentially dangerous situations for your puppy. For example, if there’s suddenly a car around but your dog hasn’t mastered recall, you’re able to bring them close to you.
Even in the back garden, Oz gets super excited over the smallest of things. At this point in time, I know that he would not be able to resist something interesting over me calling him back to me. Therefore, a retractable lead works well with him because I am able to give him a little bit more freedom.
This retractable leash is fairly standard. Buying one that is not too cheap could help to avoid any potential unnecessary breakages.
Although retractable leashes are great if you’re able to keep control, do not forget that they also have some drawbacks.
Standard Nylon Leash
A standard nylon leash is great for everyday walking. That could be for short walks or visiting a friend’s house. They can also be used for quite basic training such as heeling, which can lead to teaching your dog to heel without a leash.
The standard nylon leash is lightweight, durable and easy to use. Be careful with your dog pulling when you use this type of leash though, as you could experience rope burn. If you are worried about this happening to you, try to read up about rope burn treatments.
As with the long leash, standard nylon leashes can be bought in a range of lengths and sizes. Be sure to choose one that is best for the size and breed of your puppy.
A harness might not seem like the obvious choice for a leash but it definitely makes walking a puppy easier if you’re after more control of their whole body. Instead of attaching a leash to a collar, it is attached to the harness.
A harness goes around the whole body and has a clip for a lead to attach to either at the front or on the back.
Little Oz has a harness to try and control his puppy pulls when out and about!
Oz, one of the dogs I look after regularly, has a habit of running, jumping and flying about whenever and wherever he can!
His harness has a clip on the back for his lead, which means that when he is trying to pull away, I have more control in keeping him by my side.
Typically, harnesses can be more comfortable for dogs because it isn’t pulling on their neck. According to PetGuide.com, this means that it prevents injuries to your pup’s trachea.
The main drawback I have seen for this type of leash is that when they do pull, it feels like a lot more weight for you to handle. However, the more you use it the more you and your puppy can learn together.
A harness like this one gives you flexibility to choose where you attach your leash. It can be at the front or on your puppy’s back, depending on which you find works best when out walking.
The leather leash is much like your standard nylon leash, except it is likely to last you longer. Those of you who have seen puppies before, you may have noticed that they like to chew things. Although in time you’ll teach your puppy not to chew, that does not mean that they will not chew anything before fully understanding that it’s wrong.
The downfall with a nylon leash is that it can fray easily, so any puppy with sharp teeth could eventually chew their way through the leash. They could even do that without you noticing!
If puppy chewing is a real concern of yours, it might be worth investing in a leather leash. Leather is a much stronger and more durable material than nylon, meaning it should hopefully be longer lasting and more difficult to be chewed through.
The thickness and length of the leather leash will depend on the type of dog you have. From my experience, the bigger the puppy the stronger they are so make sure you look at the reviews for the products you consider.
Here’s one example of a leather leash. Another positive to this type of leash is that you will not have to worry about rope burn.
Choosing the right one
When I’ve had puppies in my family, we’ve always owned more than one type of leash. This is because they all have their different uses.
With Oz the Cocker Spaniel, he has one leather leash and one retractable one. This gives me the flexibility when out with him. However, the further along with his training he gets, the more likely I’d like to take him out with a long leash.
It’s about establishing trust with your dog but this can take time and patience! With the right leash, or perhaps more than one, you could gradually work your way towards being able to let your dog run free in a park without you having to worry.
Remember: Leashes are usually one way a dog realises they are going for a walk. A good leash means a happy owner. A happy owner means a happy pup because they get to go for more walks!