If you’re like a lot of dog owners, you may feel completely confused by what leash to purchase for your dog. Retractable or fixed length? What length? What material? Are there any to avoid? These days, there are so many options that it can seem overwhelming. Thankfully, choosing from of unique assortment of handmade leather dog leashes, such as ours offered at Auburn Leathercrafters, is reassuring and less complicated than you might think.

Without a doubt, a handmade, high-guality dog lead is a great way to show off your personality and makes shopping for a new dog leash more fun.

But before we examine the benefits of handmade leather dog leashes, let’s look at fixed-length leashes, and why they might be a good choice.

A Note on Retractable Leashes

There are a rising number of claims from vets and other canine and feline professionals that retractable leashes are dangerous. Over a prolonged period, their harsh correctional method can only cause confusion and obedience problems, they can cause several neck problems in dogs. Repeated sharp tugs by your pup never quite knowing where the end of the leash is can lead to issues over time, like collapsed tracheas. They also tend to encourage leash pulling, reinforcing the opposite of the much more desirable and consistent loose leash while walking, the basic objective of leash training. Misusing or improperly fitted collars can also cause other neck problems or injuries; a harsh or poorly fitted collar, coupled with a retractable leash, is an accident or injury waiting to happen.

They can also cause problems for the person walking the dog. If Fido takes off at a sprint to chase a squirrel, an unsuspecting dog walker can suffer from the embarrassment and perhaps bodily injury of being violently flung forward if they are not paying attention. It may also cause a feeling of panic or terror watching your dog run into a dangerous situation before you have time to tighten an overly extended retractable leash.

dog takes off running dragging owner behind because she doesn't have handmade leather dog leashes

Moreover, retractable leashes can also pose a hazard to other people. When extended to full length, they can be a trip hazard, acting like a clothesline to other dogs and people. To make matters work, they have a habit of becoming hopelessly tangled with others’ dog leashes.

All things considered, even though convenient at times, retractable leashes can often be cumbersome, too slow to adjust, and, when not carefully and consistently used, all too often reinforce poor leash habits for dogs. They are not the best option when selecting a lifetime leash for your dog, so we recommend giving them a pass.

Now, let’s review the benefits of fixed-length leashes used in loose leash training and, eventually, in loose leash walking.

Benefits of loose leash training and loose leash walking

Meanwhile, fixed length leashes bring a few benefits to both dog and dog owner. Standard lengths are typically either five or six feet and depend largely on the size of your dog. For smaller breeds, you may want to choose a shorter leash, as they can more easily walk next to you. Larger breeds will require a bit more length to walk freely with you.

However, it is important to know your surroundings. If you live in an urban area, you may choose a shorter length, so your dog doesn’t get under foot of passers-by on the street. Conversely, if you live in or frequently take a walk in a suburban or rural setting, no matter the size of your dog, you may want to give your dog a little more room to wander while still keeping him or her close to foster confidence and to maintain control in the event of a dangerous or confusing situation. Remember, you want your dog to feel comfortable and not overwhelmed. Situations that are confusing and/or overwhelming can quickly get out of control, especially in your dog’s formative years.

The main point is that fixed length leashes are great to use on walks. City goers who daily traipse smaller walking paths, cross streets, and intersections, and passing other pedestrians (human or canine) gain from having greater control on their dogs. A lead with a fixed length also lessens the hazard of being jerked forward if your dog lunges or starts to run.

auburn leathercrafters brown handmade leather dog leashes with two handles
auburn leathercrafters black handmade leather dog leashes with two handles

BONUS: Some fixed length leashes come with a mid-length handle to easily “walk down the leash.” This is a favorable leash training method to get closer to your dog (this may be a good time to distract or redirect them with a treat!) and a far kinder and clearer training alternative to yanking on the leash. Auburn Leathercrafters’ two-handled braided leash includes a second handle down near the snap for better control when in crowds.

If you would like to start using a loose leash but want to maintain a  little more control of your dog, there are other effective training products you can pair with it. You can compensate for control by using a head collar or a harness. (If you are hesitant about using a head collar or harness, it has been my experience that some dogs only need these for a time, until they outgrow their “puppiness” and learn other means of self-control.)

As mentioned in our other blog posts, we recommend avoiding prong collars and choke chains. While maintaining control is important during training sessions and outings, there is no need to furbish your dog in anything cruel or injurious.

Loose leashes also work well with front-clip dog harnesses. These are designed to take pressure off the dog’s neck while still discouraging pulling on the leash.

Finally, while retractable leashes usually are constructed primarily from plastic, fixed length leads are available in a wider range of material like leather, nylon, rubber, rope, or stainless-steel chain. You will want to select a material that is comfortable to hold, of a quality that you will last and that you can trust (remember, you will be using this perhaps even leash several times a day), more durable, made from natural material, and more sustainable for the environment. Unlike retractable leashes, fixed-length leashes can be customizable or handmade like the favorites from Auburn Leathercrafters: handmade leather dog leashes.

Selecting Handmade Leather Dog Leashes

auburn direct multi function lead from handmade leather dog leashes

Now that we’ve reviewed the cons for retractable leashes and the pros for fixed length leashes, we will want to discuss why we love leather.

Handmade leather dog leashes provide a higher quality feel and function. One very versatile choice, suitable for many different situations where you will travel with your dog is Auburn’s Multi-Function Lead, a beautiful top grain leather leash, available in both black and burgundy.

Handmade leather dog leashes are classic leather leashes and the ultimate stand-out gift, stocking stuffer, accessory, and statement for canines. Auburn Leathercrafters’ handmade products showcase the craftsmanship and skill that goes into each item. As discussed in previous articles, there are many benefits to a handmade dog collars: they are thoughtful, unique, and sustainable, and a favorite among trainers and individuals, alike.

In short

At Auburn Leathercrafters, handmade leather dog leashes are our specialty, and a luxurious necessity for the diligent dog owner. We strongly recommend a leather leash that is a fixed-length leash over confusing, and sometimes dangerous, retractable leashes. Fixed-length leads have many benefits for both dog and owner; conversely, retractable leashes are not a great option in terms of safety and practicality. Once you’ve adjusted to using and training with a loose leash, we recommend investing in our handmade leather dog leashes that will not only last you many years, but will also allow you to show off your personal style and appreciation for quality, value, and things that are designed to last.

Consider upgrading to handmade leather dog leashes, and become familiar with all of Auburn Leathercrafters products. If you have questions about which product is best for your needs, feel free to message us on the contact us page or give us a call at 800-282-8761.