What is The Best Dog Leash?
What is the best leash for your Sheltie? The standard leash, the retractable leash, or the halter leash? Compare brands and how each type of leash aids with training and obedience.
There are three types of dog leash covered here and the best one for your Shetland Sheepdog is variable—it all depends on your dog's needs. For example: are you leash training a puppy or adult dog? Do you trust your dog and want to give him more freedom? Do you have a dog who pulls constantly and needs correction?
The material of a dog leash is important too. For dogs who love to chew everything, a metal chain link leash will last longer (although they do rust if you get them wet). Meanwhile, nylon dog leashes are strong and cheap but can chafe on your skin. Many dog professionals choose leather leashes—although they cost more, they are soft, strong and flexible.
The Standard Dog Leash
The standard dog leash is ideal for everyday use and basic dog leash training.
These kinds of dog leashes typically come in 4, 5, 6 and 8 foot lengths, where the shorter variations are probably best for Shetland Sheepdogs. Make sure the attachment is made from metal and not plastic, as this will suffer wear and tear.
The standard leash clips on to your dog's collar and away you go. We use standard nylon leashes for Howard and Piper and they work great. With consistency, you can use them to leash-train a puppy or adult dog, remembering never to let the dog be the boss by pulling, dragging or walking in front of you.
The Retractable Dog Leash
The retractable dog leash is ideal for giving well-behaved dogs a longer range, or when teaching your dog the recall command.
Retractable leashes—aka extendable leashes—offer the dog a lot more freedom than any other kind of leash. This can be a very good or a very bad thing. They essentially allow your dog to roam as he pleases up to a range of 26 feet - although you can reel him in or lock the leash at a certain length with a button.
Although retractable leashes are very popular, beware that they really only give the illusion of control. If your dog is naughty and roams wherever he pleases without listening to you, it could be a very exhausting process pulling him back and reigning him in. And it takes more than a few precious seconds to reign the dog in if he goes charging into the road.
Having said that, retractable leashes are great for well-behaved dogs in a safe environment when you want to give them extra freedom to sniff about but can't let them off the leash altogether. They are also very useful for training the recall command: allow your dog the full length of the leash then call him (and offer a treat) while reigning him in.
The Halter Dog Leash
The halter leash is ideal for dogs who pull on the leash and need correction.
A dog who isn't leash trained has a tendency to pull hard on the leash, which creates tension on his neck via the collar. This is uncomfortable for the dog and blocks airflow through his windpipe. That's why strong dogs often hack when they pull too hard on the leash.
A halter leash redirects this tension to the area behind your dog's front legs. This is a sensitive area and so the dog is far less inclined to apply pressure through pulling. Instead he'll be more comfortable walking at your pace. They are recommended for dogs of all sizes including Shelties.