When choosing the proper leash for your pet it is important to remember that it is not just a restraint but a connection between you and your dog. The leash is the most important piece of equipment for the safety of your pet as well as the safety of others. Even if you feel that your dog is very well behaved there are moments when he may become distracted by external events, forget his training and end up in a dangerous predicament.

In a situation such as this the leash can be the assurance of control that is so critical to the prevention of a tragedy. Also, most communities require that your dog be on leash unless in a controlled environment like a dog off-leash park.

So then, the question is which leash is the best for you particular dog. It very much depends on the personality of your pet. Leashes can run from a few dollars to the garish jeweled variety preferred by the likes of a Donald Trump. So you don’t have to spend much for a leash but choosing the right one should be a careful consideration.

Leashes are made of many different materials; chain, leather or nylon. There are some trainers who prefer nylon because of its elastic property and its comfort for the dog and the owner. Also, it seems that dogs are less likely to chew the nylon leash than the leather one. If you routinely walk your dog at night you might want a nylon affair made of reflective material so that motorists might see you at a distance. There is also a strong case for leashes. leather tends to soften with age and is easier to grip with the passage of time. But it still remains strong and effective.

Here is a breakdown of the various leash choices:

 Two-handled leashes.

This leash is a good choice for the less than well behaved dog or is young and rambunctious. The leash should be shorter, so he is nearer to you which affords more control. In such a situation, a two-handled leash may be the one for you. A two-handled leash has one loop at the end and one nearer the clasp area attaching the leash to the collar or harness. This eliminates the painful wrapping of the leash around your hand.

Standard walking leashes.

You can get this type leash, with just one handle. They come in different lengths – usually 4 feet, 6 feet, and 8 feet.

Kennel leashes.

Veterinarians and kennel operators use this leash which affords greater control over dogs to move them short distances. They are used to move dogs usually without a collar from house to  car, or from pen to pen.

Training leashes.

If you’re teaching your dog to heel this shorter leash is desirable. For larger dogs, a 1-foot leash is the best option. Two-foot leashes are designed for medium-sized and smaller dogs.

Leashes for city life.

Some products are mainly designed for the city. “The Ultimate City Leash,” designed by the Raven’s Watch, allows owners to tie their dog to a post or parking meter without detaching the snap from the collar. The leash has other advantages: the hand loop adjusts from a 14-inch to a 26-inch loop. It can also be worn around your waist when carrying packages or even rollerblading. The leash portion is adjustable from 3 feet to 6 feet.

Retractable leashes.

These leashes have become more popular in recent years. They allow your pet to walk farther from you while still maintaining some control. The line can be shortened or lengthened at the owner’s will. But there are inherent pitfalls with this style. A dog that is not under control can attack a person, cat, another dog, or run into the path of a car before the owner can “reel” him in.

There is one leash to beware of: the show leash. These leashes are designed for showing dogs at a competition. They are thinner than most other leashes and should never be used as a walking or training leash because they are unsafe.

As you can see the choices are many. I hope this article helps with the selection process.