As I was surfing my regular dog forums the other day, I came across a post about slip leashes. The owner was asking how to use them and how to keep their dog under control while walking it. Let me get right to it. Slip leashes are terrible, so today we’ll be talking about what they are and why you should never use them.
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What is a Slip Leash
A slip leash looks like a regular leash, except that instead of a clasp at the end of the leash, it has a metal ring. You put the handle side through the ring, and the dog’s head goes through the loop. It’s essentially a slip knot around your dog’s neck. In my opinion, this is an exceedingly bad design that should never be put on your dog.
Slip Leashes – Don’t Use Them
Like I said, slip leashes are really just slip knots around your dog’s neck. Not only is this uncomfortable, it’s potentially dangerous for a number of reasons.
You Have Very Little Control
You have very little control over your dog when using a slip leash. Slip leashes rely on tension to keep your dog on-leash. That means whenever your dog stops, you have to maintain tension so the loop doesn’t get too big. In addition to that, if your dog jerks backwards – as they do to get out of their leashes – it will most likely escape.
They Are Uncomfortable
Just look at them. Of course they’re uncomfortable. Because they rely on tension to stay on, slip leashes are prone to becoming too snug, especially if your dog is an excited walker. This tightness is uncomfortable for a dogs neck. If you’re relying on that discomfort to keep your dog under control, you should revisit leash training.
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They Are Dangerous
As I said, slip leashes rely on tension to stay on your dog and to keep you in control. This is a very dangerous way to leash your dog. If your dog suddenly decides to go after a squirrel or go greet the person it sees across the street, the slip leash could tighten down very hard and very rapidly. This can lead to soft tissue trauma at minimum. More than that, though, it can lead to a collapsed trachea and even vertebrae damage in your dog’s neck.
Add to all of that the fact that your dog could potentially slip the leash if it gets too loose, and you’ve got a leash that can either damage your dog’s neck or leave it loose to run out into traffic or deep into the woods depending on where you’re walking your pooch.
Slip Leashes are a Bad Idea
When I worked at the vet, I saw a few cases of the damage a slip leash can do. We had a client who brought her lab in for chronic neck pain. We did X-rays and discovered that his neck vertebrae showed excessive wear. He was only about three years old. As we talked, she told us about how difficult he was to walk, and how she’d settled on a slip leash after trying various other kinds of leashes.
That was the problem. His constant pulling, jerking, and lunging while on the slip leash had damaged his neck vertebrae. While this is an excessive case, it illustrates just how damaging one of these leashes can be.
If you’re considering getting a slip leash, don’t! These leashes are terrible on every level, and they should never be used. The only place you’ll see one of these leashes used is in a vet’s office for short walks to and from the treatment area. The professionals know how to use them and only for short distances. Slip leashes should NEVER be used as a daily leash.
Does this answer your questions about slip leashes? Let us know if you have any others!