The best hands-free dog leashes offer a better experience walking or exercising with your dog by allowing your hands to be totally free of moving the way they want. This means you can check your phone safely, push a pram, or play with your dog.
A hands-free leash for dogs is a wonderful training device but make sure you are buying the right product. We have listed and reviewed the best hands-free leashes below and we noted that shock-absorption is an important feature for many dog owners.
What Are Hands-Free Leashes?
It may sound obvious, but hands-free leashes do exactly what they say on the tin. They allow you to enjoy a hands-free experience whilst walking, jogging, running or hiking with your dog. They usually consist of two parts – a waist belt and the leash itself. Rather than holding your dog’s lead in your hand, you can keep him close by attaching him to your waist. This way you are free to walk, with coffee, push your child in their buggy or use your phone.
If your dog usually pulls you, this method will also give your back and shoulders a rest from the strain. Even if you have never been directly injured as a result, the regular strain can have a cumulative effect and may be causing more damage than you know. Your dog also has very delicate bones in his neck, which he might be damaging unbeknown to either of you. Dogs have a very high pain threshold and mixed with excitement, they may not stop pulling until the damage is already done.
Most of the top-hands free leashes have shock-absorbing properties designed to take the full weight of even the largest keen pullers! Therefore, you won’t have to worry about being pulled over or injuring your back. The hands-free experience is one that many owners never look back from once they realize how easy walking their dog can be.
Hand-free dog leashes also the perfect training tool for your dog because it keeps the leash more consistent. It allows you to keep your hands free, so you can reward your dog with fuss or treats to reinforce any good behavior. The overall aim of a hands-free leash is to improve the quality and safety of the outdoor adventures you have with your dog. If you’re both safe and happy, the frequency of your adventures will increase, and your bond will deepen. Who knew letting go of your dog, could bring you closer together?! But, it can!
Important Features in a Hands-Free Dog Lead
When you first consider buying a hands-free dog leash the market may seem very daunting. With every brand promising you won’t be disappointed it can be hard to recognize how one hands-free leash may be different from another. However, you can create your own checklist of qualities that you want your dog lead to having a little advice.
One of the key considerations is the attachment and locking system of the leash and waist belt. It must be strong and durable in three different places – where the waist belt fastens around you, where the leash clips to your waist belt and where the leash attaches to your dog’s collar. The attachments from collar to leash and leash to waist belt are usually metal snap hooks and should never bend.
Avoid buying leashes with plastic D-rings as these are likely to snap! The buckle that fastens the belt around your waist is often made of heavy duty plastic and should click firmly into place. If it doesn’t do this, feels flimsy or appears damaged don’t use it as your dog may break free from you. Many hands-free leashes come with a long money-back guarantee so always return it if you are dissatisfied.
Ease of Use
There is also something to be said about the speed at which you can fasten and adjust your hands-free leash. Try to find a leash that is built on strength but also convenient as you will be less likely to use a fiddly lead that takes ages to take on and off. You want to spend less time gearing up and more time bonding with your dog out on the trail.
Once you know your dog is securely fastened to your waist and isn’t going anywhere, think about shock-absorption. Dogs – even small ones – are extremely powerful creatures and their strength should not be underestimated. Attaching your dog to your waist may save your arms and shoulders from strain but can still risk injury to your back and dog’s neck.
If you have a dog that tends to pull you, you need a hands-free leash that can absorb this kind of strain. Most hands-free leashes contain varying degrees of shock-absorbing bungee cord. When your dog pulls, the bungee cord stretches and absorbs the weight of the pull, so that it is not absorbed by you or your furry friend to the point of injury. If you have a large dog then the more bungee cord, the better!
Next, you must think about visibility, especially if you and your canine regularly run at night together. Purchasing a lead in a bright color and/or with reflective stitching or patterns is a must so that you can be seen if running on or near roads. These will also help if you fall and become injured in the dark – the reflectors will show up in torchlight, so you are more likely to be seen or found. Even if you don’t run at night it is still useful to have a visible leash. You need to be seen in all weathers, including fog.
The strength and durability of a hands-free leash are very important if you want to keep your dog with you. As previously mentioned, most hands-free leashes have some form of bungee cord integrated into them, whilst the rest of the lead is made of strong nylon material. It is hard to know whether a lead will stand the test of time until you get outside and start using it. A lead should never fray or snap, especially after just a few uses – if it does return it and look for something with more promising reviews.
You should also think about whether your dog is a chewer. You don’t want to turn around and see an empty leash trailing behind you because your dog gnawed himself free. If this is a worry for you, consider getting a leash with more bungee and less nylon to protect against your canine’s gnashers.
If you are someone who enjoys being truly hands-free then you might prefer a hands-free leash with extra belt loops. This way you can still take the essentials (keys, dog waste bags etc) out with you without worrying about where to keep them. Small touches can make such a big difference to your hands-free experience.
Top 5 Best Hands-Free Dog Leashes
Here are our favorite and most popular hands-free leashes for dogs that we hope you will love. We have made sure to consider pricing, online reviews, durability, safety features and ease of use. Only you will know your dog and its specific set of requirements so be mindful of the size and strength of your pet before purchasing one of the below hands-free dog leashes.
1. Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Dog Leash
The Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Leash is a premium product delivered to you by a famous brand. Tuff Mutt creates unique, high-quality products that are made by dog owners for dog owners. The company ethos is “Dogs rescue us just as we rescue them” – in other words, we should give back to our dogs what they give to us in loyalty and unconditional love.
The Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Leash will allow you to have a stress-free, hands-free adventure with your dog. Whether you’re a keen runner, city walker, active mom or hiker this lead will help you go the extra mile. This leash has an adjustable lightweight belt that clips around your waist via a heavy-duty plastic buckle. An easy glide leash connector will give both you and your dog optimum freedom of movement. Your dog can move around you without pulling you in every direction.
At 48 inches long, this leash is short enough that you will not trip over it but long enough to give you and your dog adequate room to walk, jog or run. It also has handles placed at your hip and at your dog’s collar allowing you to have two points of control. In between the two handles, sturdy bungee allows for an absorbed extension of up to 60 inches and prevents relentless pulling strain for both parties. Its reflective thread runs the length of the leash and will ensure you and your four-legged friend remain safe on late night adventures.
- Easy-glide leash connector
- Lifetime guarantee – Tuff Mutt promises a full refund if their leash does not improve your doggy exploits.
- Dual handles
- Comes in 6 “energetic” colors
- Some customers say it suffers under the weight of extra large dogs such as Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
- Not chew-proof
2. TaoTronics Retractable Hands-Free Dog Leash
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The TaoTronics Retractable Hands-Free Dog Leash is very similar to the Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Leash. It too has an adjustable waist belt, reflective stitching, dual handle control at hip and collar and added bungee cord. However, it trumps the Tuff Mutt leash on length – stretching up to 67 inches to suit all dog breeds, irrespective of size. The leash has retractable bungee springs in two places which absorb the weight of dogs up to 150lbs without risking injury to your back and shoulders or your dog’s neck.
Just like the Tuff Mutt leash, the TaoTronics leash has snap hook connectors that clip to your waist and to your dog’s collar. However, it does not have the same gliding mechanism that the Tuff Mutt has. Instead, it has three strategically placed metal D-rings which allow you to change your dog’s position (also changing the leash length) or attach up to 3 dogs at one time.
The waistband is made of durable yet soft material so that no matter how hard your dog pulls you, it will not cut into your skin. The leash is grey with colored handles – choose from blue, green or pink!
- Long enough to suit a range of breeds
- The retractable bungee cord is used in two places for additional protection from strain injuries
- Can attach more than one dog
- Dual handle control
- Comes in three colors
- Comfortable to wear
- Stitching on handles is tough but scratchy on the hands
- Prone to tangling
3. Pet Dreamland Heavy-Duty Hands-Free Dog Leash
This heavy-duty hands-free leash is targeted at larger canines up t0 150 lbs who tend to pull. It is created by dog lovers who rescued a malnourished, untrained 7-year-old Labrador Retriever, Oscar, from a shelter. Love and proper training with a hands-free leash were the keys to Oscar’s recovery and now Pet Dreamland wants to help other dogs like Oscar.
What sets it apart from the hands-free leashes reviewed so far, is its neoprene-padded handles! Never again will you have to worry about sore red hands. It also boasts a triple bungee cord which can stretch up to 87 inches to absorb the weight of your large furry friend, protecting you both from strain injuries. Customers say it gives them control of the dog even under the most trying circumstances. The leash comes with a series of knots tied in it which can be untied and retied to adjust the length. Metal D-rings along the length of the leash can also be clipped to your belt to make more dramatic alterations to the length.
Just like many hands-free leashes, this one comes with three rows of reflective stitching so that you can safely carry on your adventures outside daylight hours. This leash only comes in one color combination – black and red, but the design is sleek and stylish. It also comes with a 365-day money-back guarantee for those who have doubts about its quality. It is a little more expensive than some other hands-free leashes on the market, but the padded handles and extra bungee cord make it worth the value!
- Triple shock-absorbing bungee cords
- Extra length
- Padded handles
- The waist adjustment stays tight and does not become loose
- The bungee cord is heavy and may weigh the dog down
- Not ideal for small dogs
4. Ruffwear Flat Out
Ruffwear brings aesthetics, versatility, and strength together to provide a fun, reliable hands-free leash for everyday use. It can be used both hands-free and hands-on due to the careful placement of the handle and talon clip. The ergonomic talon clip is sturdy, secure and can be attached and detached using one hand. It is attached directly to a handle that will sit at your hip and can be used to get control of your dog if necessary. The waist belt also has an easy-release buckle at the side to make it easy to adjust – helping you gear up faster!
This hands-free leash is made from tough, durable woven material that won’t snap or fray. It does not have the bungee cord or dual handle control that a lot of the other hands-free leashes. Therefore, this lead is more suitably designed for dogs who are not prone to pulling. It does, however, have a padded handle, which is a rarity on a hands-free leash and will save your palms from wear and tear.
The leash is also not reflective so it is best used during the day. If you want to take your dog out after dark, it is best to invest in a leash with reflective stitching to keep you both visible and safe. At 6-feet long, customers report that it is the ideal length which is important as it cannot be adjusted!
- Padded handle for comfort
- Aesthetically pleasing – comes in 9 beautiful colors and patterns
- Has an accessory clip at the waist; you can clip on keys and/or other essential items
- Easy attachment and adjustment
- Can be used hands-on or hands-free
- No bungee cord to absorb dog’s weight and prevent injury
- Length cannot be adjusted
- No reflective properties for night use
- Only has one handle
5. SHINE HAI Hands-Free Dog Leash
This hands-free dog leash has similar properties to the Tuff Mutt and TaoTronics hands-free leashes. It is made from tough, durable, weatherproof material and has three rows of reflective stitching – it cannot be emphasized enough how important this is for night safety. It has dual handle control and your waist and at your canine’s collar for that extra control, although the handles aren’t padded so there’s always a risk of getting sore hands!
The belt buckle is made of heavy-duty plastic, so it should stay firmly fastened and can be adjusted for use by all the family. The waist belt is comfortable to wear and has two D-rings allowing you a choice of where you attach your dog. Or, you may want to attach two dogs at a time, so no one gets left at home and everyone can enjoy the fun!
The SHINE HAI Hands-Free Dog Leash comes in a single color combination – black with bright green handles. The splash of green will add to your visibility when you’re out for that late evening run! You also won’t have to worry about strain injuries with this leash as aside from its dual handles, the length of this leash is made only from a shock-absorbing bungee cord. It extends to a total length of 68 inches (54 inches when relaxed).
- Shock-absorbing bungee cord runs the entire length of the leash to take the strain from even the strongest dogs.
- Reflective stitching
- Dual handle control
- Comfortable to wear
- Strong and durable
- Handles are not padded
- Only comes in one color combination
- Lead length isn’t adjustable and is also too short in some instances