The nice folks at Leisure Leash heard that I like to hike with Riggins, my 10-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer mix, off-leash. They sent over their “hands-free” leash system for us to try on our adventures.
Riggins has been hiking off-leash where allowed since he was a puppy. I know that some dog owners are hesitant, for good reason, to let their dogs roam free, but for Riggins and me it has always been a wonderful experience. We take precautions, which include getting him a rattlesnake vaccination and using a leash when it is unsafe for him or fellow hikers.
When I heard about the Leisure Leash, I was really excited. The package includes a collar and leash that can be customized to a short traffic-lead or longer walking-lead, or it can be looped around the dog’s neck as a second collar, leaving the human and dog “leash-free.”
To tell you the truth, I had some concerns about the collar. It is a slip or choke-collar design, which allows you to get it on and off your dog easily. I’m usually not comfortable using this type of collar on pups. In fact, I prefer attaching a leash to a harness over any kind of collar when going on a walk. That being said, a slip collar can be used safely if you know how to use that style and if your pup is a polite walker who doesn’t pull or wander too much. Just be sure to do your homework and put the collar on correctly. If you put it on the wrong way, the “slip” doesn’t work properly and the collar can constrict too much around your dog’s neck. The company offers a “how-to” on its website.
I would’ve preferred to have the leash attached to a martingale collar. This style of collar can still be slipped on and off a dog easily, but it limits how far it can restrict in size. Luckily, the Leisure Leash’s removable leash means that you can swap in the collar style you might prefer. In fact, the company sells just the handle part.
Just remember that if you are using any type of collar, especially a slip or martingale, that you keep an eye on your pup. It’s easy to get a leash caught on bushes and other obstacles while roaming around, and any kind of collar that restricts when pulled can be a choking danger.
On to the leash itself. I LOVED that there are two different lengths. With the longer leash, I could easily have Riggins next to me with my arm casually swinging back and forth as we walked. It got a little hard when Riggins wanted to roam — something he is used to doing when we are hiking and he is on a longer leash or none at all — but he learned quickly that going away from me wasn’t an option. Leisure Leash also sells a leash extender at an additional cost.
Once you double up the longer leash, you have a shorter, more controlled length. I’m a huge fan of the traffic lead and find that it makes keeping a pup super close to you much easier than trying to reign in a longer leash. It gives you lots of control over the dog when you need it most.
Now for the best part: When in the shorter traffic-lead formation, you can slip it over your dog’s neck so it acts as a second collar, and ta-da! Hands- and leash-free!
When I was a dog sitter, I could be seen carrying half a dozen leashes around our off-leash dog-hike area. I sometimes put them in a pup’s backpack, but I always needed one or two near me in case I needed to quickly leash a dog back up. If each dog had been carrying his own lead, it would have been a lot easier!
On our test run with the Leisure Leash, we passed by a fellow hiker with two dogs, one off-leash and the other leashed. As a courtesy, it’s nice to grab your pup if a dog you are passing is leashed. With the Leisure Leash, it was a snap to get Riggins on-leash and then back to running free. In fact, it was so easy I could take a video while I was doing it. It’s a shaky clip, but you get the point:
Quality: The hardware and materials used for the Leisure Leash seem to be high-quality. I clipped and unclipped the lead a number of times, and everything is standing up to heavy use.
Style: You can get the product in five different colors — your pup can be pretty in pink or sport a daring red — and a total of six different leash combinations.
Function: The Leisure Leash is extremely functional. My only wish is that it came with a different style of collar.
Creativity: It seems like such a simple idea, but after nine-plus years of hiking off-leash with my dog, I never thought of it!
Value: The product is designed for dogs medium, large, or extra-large in size, and it costs $17.95 for the 22-inch collar and $18.95 for the 27-inch. That certainly makes it a good deal for a leash AND collar. For a pup that does off-leash hiking and whom you can trust to walk safely on a slip collar, it’s a worthwhile investment.
I appreciate the Leisure Leash’s simplistic and functional design. It solves the two problems many off-leashers have: what to do with an empty leash while hiking and how to leash a dog up fast when you need to. Riggins and I will definitely get some use out of it on our outdoor adventures!