Dogs Less Than 40 Pounds
Type: 5/8- or 3/4-inch-wide nylon leash
Why? A simple strand in a sturdy fabric won't weigh down your pet's head or strain his neck or back.
Handling tip: Consider the clasp. Thinner straps might be
lightweight enough, but the hook at the end could be too heavy for your
canine to wear comfortably. Make sure it's in proportion to the overall
leash since some brands keep the same closure dimensions, regardless of
the fabric's width. If your four-legged friend weighs less than 5
pounds, cat leashes -- with their smaller scale and lighter feel -- can
be used to prevent stress, says Teoti Anderson, owner of Pawsitive Results and author of Puppy Care & Training (TFH Publications).
Dogs Between 40 and 80 Pounds
Type: 1-inch-wide nylon or cotton leash plus a front-clip nylon harness
Why? "A leash that clasps in the front of a harness interrupts
forward motion when your pup is pulling," Anderson says. On the other
hand, back-clip versions help your canine tug you along -- think of how
huskies move sleds. Leashes that connect at the collar can cause strain
on the throat, which is painful for medium-size dogs, like bulldogs and
boxers, with breathing problems.
Handling tip: Train your pup to stay by you with treats. Carry dog biscuits or string cheese, hot dogs,
oat cereal or baby carrots cut into bites so he stays close to you. "If
you give him lots of snacks, he'll realize that being next to you is
better than going forward," Anderson says. "He'll be more interested in
what's in your pockets than what's ahead." On your daily walk offer a
tasty morsel every two steps and gauge his response. Ask the vet for
dietary guidelines for your specific pet, because how many rewards he
can safely ingest depends on factors like size, weight and health.
Dogs Over 80 Pounds
Type: Faux leather or leather leash and a harness
Why? These materials are durable and designed to get better --
and softer -- over time, says Cathy Bruce, owner of Canine Country
Academy in Lawrenceville, Georgia. For strong or stubborn pullers, she
recommends a leash with connection points on the collar and harness to
help gain more control over the front and back of your pet.
Handling tip: Length is key. Because the strip of material
shouldn't get too taut, a 6-footer is recommended. "You want a U shape
so that there's some slack and no tension on your dog's neck," Bruce
Originally published in the April 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine.