Looking for the best leash to fit your needs? In today’s post+video we’ll be updating our 2016 rundown for 2017. Don’t forget to check out the product links at the end of the post!
So before we begin, let me say that I am not being compensated or endorsed by any of the companies in this video. I paid for all of these leashes. And, I have field tested all of them.
Now as with last year’s leash rundown, my four main criteria haven’t changed.
- Quality Construction. I don’t have time for crap. What up with stitching it comes undone or clasps that break or bogus features that I don’t really need or want
- A loop handle on the end. This is easy because almost every leash on the planet has that. I personally do not like the “ski-rope” handles. They are easy to hold, but I feel they’re kind of a unitasker in that you can only ever hold it one way. It’s kind of a pain in the neck if you want to put it over your wrist or use it as a temporary tether. I just think a loop is more versatile and definitely easier to store.
- A traffic handle. That’s just a convenient handle for comfortably keeping the dog close. I teach all my students how to do a proper moveable anchor with their hand, but a handle just makes that easier and more comfortable when you get up close, especially if you have a reactive dog or one that’s still learning how to walk politely.
- I like comfort and I’m not ashamed of that. I like padding, thicker materials, and a good arrangement of features.
Some leashes have outwardly cool features that end up not making sense in actual use. And sometimes I’ve used client’s leashes that were terribly uncomfortable to hold and I’m like “How the hell do you even hold onto this every day?” These are the cases where have to bust out my K-9 handler gloves (which, on a side note, are awesome…I’ll get to those). So let’s get into the leashes here.
As before my #1 go to is STILL the Rok Strap. If you’re not familiar with Rok Strap leashes, they are made with industrial strength, solid core rubber, with high quality double ply polyester sheathing. The stretch is tough and tight, not loose, so it reduces shock at the end of the leash without being too permissive for the dog.
Talk about meeting my criteria: There’s the end loop, on a ring that makes it move nice and smoothly, there’s my traffic handle, good wide handles with padding for comfort. And quality? The leash in the video is the same one that I reviewed last year. And I don’t mean just the same brand and color—I mean this is the exact leash that I showed you last year. I have been using it the whole time over hundreds of sessions. There’s a little wear and tear on it but this thing is still going strong.
I’ve carried this leash with me everywhere. It lives in my training load-out. Whenever a I’ve got a client with some crappy old leash I pull this out and clip it on. I don’t go anywhere without this bad boy. I absolutely love this thing.
One thing I particularly appreciate about this is the wide strap. I teach all my students how to anchor their leash for different applications like this:
The wide strap makes it so much more easy and comfortable.
Rok Straps come in 12 colors, including reflective options. They used to come in four sizes, but since last year’s review they’ve phased out the XL size so now it just comes in S, M, and L, which is what this one is. They retail for about 30-40 bucks depending on the size and the where you buy it.
Now if you like springy leashes, there are some other good ones I recommend too.
OTHER SPRINGY LEASHES
Last year I mentioned the EzyDog Zero Shock:
- This features EzyDog’s patented “Zero-Shock Technology” for a little cush.
- The main handle has a neoprene outer which I really like, but the traffic loop has no padding on it whatsoever. It’s just nylon webbing, which could be uncomfortable in those early training stages.
- On the other hand, it has nice accessory D-ring and I’m really starting to gravitate to that as one feature I want. I like that a lot. Especially since I’m kind of obsessive about carrying poop bags and I like something I can hook to the leash rather than a big dangly kind of thing.
- The Zero Shock comes in two sizes and 8 colors and sells for around $30.
Incidentally, EzyDog makes a short version of the Zero Shock that functions as both a short traffic loop, or as an extender for a leash that does not have a traffic loop, or maybe one that’s too short for your needs. This is about $17. It’s not a bad accessory to have and you could ostensibly use this all by itself.
There’s also the Kong Comfort Bungee:
- This is actually a pretty good quality leash. The material is thick and solid stuff with reflective stitching
- The clip is really heavy duty
- Both the main handle and the traffic handle have neoprene padding
- The main handle has a clip so you can use it as a temporary tether. It’s not big enough for much more than, say, the leg on a park bench or a sign post, and even though it’s a heavy duty snap it’s still a snap which will never be as sturdy as all metal hardware, so use caution.
Personally, the downsides for me are just these:
- I think the leash is too long for my taste. It’s six feet normally and almost eight feet at full stretch. I personally don’t like a leash that long. I think for the average dog owner it could be trouble.
- Also, the bungee is too loose for my taste. The Rok Strap and the Zero Shock have some tightness to them. This is a little loose. I’m probably just nitpicking here, but that’s my 2¢ on this one.
This retails for about $26 and as of right now I believe it’s only available at PetSmart.
Now, I want to get into one of the bigger categories and that’s a regular, dual handled leash.
DUAL HANDLED LEASHES
Last year one of my best recommendations in this category was the Kong Quick Control leash. I have several of these both at home and at the training studio. However since last year’s video it looks like Kong actually discontinued those leashes. You can still find them around online but they’re way overpriced now. Since then, Kong has replaced that line with several others that we’re going to look at right now.
One, is the Comfort Bungee we looked at a second ago. If you don’t want the bungee, then there are some other options.
The first is just your stripped down, basic leash.
- The material on this one is definitely thinner than the old Quick Controls.
- This does have neoprene on both handles, and the same beefy clip as on the Kong bungee.
- It also has a D-ring for accessories, but I feel like this is kinda puny, compared to others.
- This leash is about $22.
The second one
- features an accessory bag for holding all sorts of nifty things.
- It also has a bigger d-ring.
- It’s definitely thicker material than the first one with nice reflective piping on the edges.
- Also has the same beefy clip, and it’s the same price as the first one, inexplicably (≈$22USD).
Now, I actually bought this one for Christie to use with Olive. She saw this one and thought it would be pretty cool. However, once she started using it she found some problems with it:
- For one the traffic handle is right there by the clip there’s no lead on it at all so for a small dog like Olive the traffic and was completely useless. We tried that EzyDog extender on the end of the leash and this kind of just seemed to complicate things.
- Secondly while that bag seemed like a pretty cool idea for holding accessories it actually started being in the way most of the time.
Currently, all the Kong leashes are only being sold at PetSmart. You can’t even get them on Amazon, so evidently there’s some exclusive deal for now.
Ok Kong, here’s my question…We have one leash with nothing really special on it, which is the same price as the leash with an accessory pouch, better material, and a better D-ring. Then for a couple bucks more you get even thicker material, a bungee, and a snap for tethering. If you’re going to charge Kong prices, why not just make one leash with ALL of these features? ONE LEASH TO RULE THEM ALL!
I don’t know man. For the money, I think we can do better.
SO there’s the Mighty Paw Dual Handle for $16. I like Mighty Paw’s stuff. I think they make quality products. This one is totally comparable to the first Kong Comfort for way less. No D-ring, but it does have reflective stitching.
However, Primal Pet’s dual handle leash is also only $16—the same price—and it has much thicker material, and more padding on the handles. It also has reflective stitching…and look at this D-ring!
Finally, Black Rhino’s $18 dual handle leash is not as heavy as the Primal Pet, but it does also have reflective stitching, a nice fat D-ring, AND it comes with a great poo bag holder, which is a hell of a deal for only two bucks more.
One other feature you want to watch out for on all of these is the distance from the clip to the traffic loop. Depending on the size of your dog this could make or break the leash.
I’m still a big fan of 6-in-1s. These are super useful in all sorts of situations. I keep two in my car load out, and I carry two in my training load-out as well—one for big dogs, and one for small dogs.
6-in-1s are pretty versatile and can do a lot of things:
- They can be a standard 5′ leash
- A shorter 3′ leash
- A traffic leash (with a traffic loop)
- A double splitter leash
- A short or long tether
- And a hands-free, messenger-style.
Plus all the attachment points are useful for attaching accessories. I love that it’s a multitasker, and it’s great to take to the park, hiking, camping, or just out and about running errands together.
The EzyDog Vario 6 retails for around $35-40 and is available in eight colors. It’s also available with a carabiner instead of the clip for just over $50, although personally I don’t think the carabiner justifies the added cost. Totally up to you though.
Finally guys, as with last year, we have a budget badass…a good inexpensive alternative to the other ones that we talked about. This year, the Sporn Training leash has won it again. If you’re in a bind and can’t find or afford some of the other on this list, than THIS is the one for you. It’s got the Loop, the traffic handle, padding, and sturdy construction. It also features a good claw clamp. It’s a little small, so even though it says for large dogs I wouldn’t recommend this for a very large dog or a strong puller. For a medium or small size dog, however, it’s pretty good. And for the price, you really can’t go wrong with this: it’s only about ten bucks at Walmart!
Let’s finish this whole roundup with a couple of my favorite leash accessories:
Mighty Paw’s Poop Bag Holder for around $14USD has a nice, strong clip on it and mounts to leashes, belts, backpack straps, you name it. I really like the soft ones because they take the wear and tear better than hardshell dispenser do. They just kind of roll with the punches. These come in two colors, Mighty Paw’s usual grey and green, and black and orange, which I got and mounted to my Rok Strap.
The EzyDog Doo Bag is another one I really like and it’s oriented a little differently. The Doo Bag also has another pocket for small items like small lights, or tick removers. The Doo Bag is usually only about ten bucks.
And don’t forget the one by Black Rhino that comes with their dual handle leash.
Finally, I love and recommend the K-9 Handler Gloves by 5.11 Tactical. Honestly if you needed a glove you could probably use any kind of work glove to get through it. And admittedly these are expensive. They’re about 40 bucks a pair but I’m telling you when you get the right tool for the job it makes a world of difference.
The grippiness on the fingers, the stitching and reinforcement across the palm and on the top of the index finger and thumb, plus the thick padding across the knuckles… it’s amazing how these redistribute the pressure from the leash so there’s no crushing, there’s no cutting in, and it just makes an amazing difference. I have used these gloves dozens and dozens of times with clients dogs. Plus, they’re machine washable which is why these still look almost new. If you’ve got a strong dog that you’re working with, or perhaps you’re a professional trainer that needs a little extra once in awhile, this is the glove for you. I swear by these things and I carry them around with me everywhere as part of my trainer load out. #
- The RokStrap Leash. Still my favorite of all. – Three different sizes, 12 different colors, and runs ≈$35
- If you like springy ones there’s also the EzyDog Zero Shock for $30
- EzyDog also makes the Zero Shock extender for ≈$17
- The Kong Comfort Bungee for ≈$26
- For Dual Handles we have a decent selection
- My favorite overall was by Primal Pet Gear for $16
- Black Rhino‘s with the poo baggie holder for $18 was a close second
- And the Mighty Paw for $16 was third.
- Don’t forget, there are also The Kong Comfort series at PetSmart – four styles, a bunch of different colors, from 22-26 bucks. On all leashes, of course make sure to match the traffic handle length to the size of your dog!
- For 6-in-1s, I still love the The EzyDog Vario 6 – Two sizes, eight colors, 35 bucks normally, 50 bucks with the carabiner
- Don’t forget the Sporn Training Leash as our $10 budget badass.
- For good leash accessories I like the Mighty Paw Poop Bag Holder the best, but there’s also the EzyDog Doo Bag, and don’t forget the one that comes with the Black Rhino leash.
- Also, the 5.11 Tactical K-9 Handler gloves are AMAZING for strong dogs or as part of a training load-out. A little spendy at $40 a pair but they’re worth every penny.
All right guys. I hope this guide was useful and helps you make a decision, and maybe turns you on to some new gear.
Questions for you: what did you think of the leashes and accessories we listed here? Do you have any of these and what’s been experience with them? Also, what are some other cool leashes or accessories I didn’t mention? Lemme hear about it all, in those comments.
In the meantime, thumbs up the video on YouTube if it was helpful to you, and don’t forget to keep learning, and keep practicing. Thanks for looking and we’ll see you next time!
LINKS TO OUR RECOMMENDATIONS
NEW KONG LEASHES (currently all are only sold at PetSmart)
Kong Comfort Bungee w/Tether Clip
The thickest, and toughest of the new Kong leashes. Features the bungee, loop handle, traffic loop, neoprene padding, D-ring, and the tether clip on the loop handle
Kong Dual-Handled Comfort (Basic)
This is the basic, stripped down replacement for the old Comfort Quick Control leash. Bare bones, but totally effective.
Kong Padded Handle Comfort Leash w/Pouch
Features reflective piping, and an accessory pouch.
OTHER GREAT LEASHES
Primal Pet Gear Dual Handle
This is my favorite of the dual handled leashes.
Black Rhino Dual Handle (w/Poop Bag)
This is my next favorite. For only two bucks more it comes with a great poop bag holder.
Mighty Paw HandleX2
Another bare bones workhorse. Less expensive than the new Kong Comfort. Neoprene handles and reflective stitching.
Ezy Dog Vario 6
Love this leash! Super versatile and strong. I have four of these!
Mighty Paw Poop Bag Holder
Comes in two colors and comes with a free roll of matching baggies.
EzyDog Doo Bag
I like the Mighty Paw better overall, but the pocket on this one is pretty slick.
K9 Handler Gloves by 5.11 Tactical
UNBEATABLE quality on these. And the design is amazing how it redistributes stress from a leash. I carry them everywhere with me in my load-out.
Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Simpawtico Dog Training, LLC will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally, and that we believe will add value to our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Your support in purchasing through these links enables us to keep simpawtico-training.com running so we can deliver great content to you free. Thank you!