Carey and Tana the malamute strolled along the shore and listened to the crashing waves. Tana relaxed as the cool breeze blew through his thick grey fur… But then he spotted a future friend prancing toward him. Before thinking twice, Tana sprinted toward his new playmate kicking clouds of sand behind him, completely unaware of his power against his leash.
In his eagerness to socialize, Tana ripped his retractable leash out of the handle Carey was white-knuckling. Carey watched in horror for a moment as the little leash flapped in the wind behind Tana. She dropped the useless hunk of plastic and took off chasing him at full speed. When it finally looked like she was going to catch up, Tana turned, darted into the ocean, and dog paddled in circles without a care in the world.
Once they both safely returned home (with Carey holding Tana’s collar tightly the whole way there), Carey began the search for the perfect leash. Tana’s strength required a leash that wouldn’t snap when he pulled. But even though some retractable leashes seemed more durable, they wouldn’t give Carey a way to pull Tana closer to her if she needed to direct him away from danger. This flaw put Tana’s safety at risk, and also wasn’t safe for Carey— if she had tried to grab the cord while Tana ran, it could have given her a severe friction burn.
Harnesses seemed like a possibility at first. But even though Tana would have to turn into a snake to be able to get out of one of those, a harness would make it nearly impossible to hold him (because a harness wraps around Tana’s body, he can use his full strength to pull). While a harness might work well for a small dog, a dog as large as Tana would end up being the one doing the walking.
Out of the countless types of leashes Carey tried, a head collar proved to be the best fit. Even though Tana protested the awkward feeling in the beginning by rubbing his face in the grass, consistent practice walks around the house helped him become more comfortable. By directing Tana from his head and not allowing him to pull so hard, this method helps Carey prevent him from running away. Now when Tana notices a future friend on the beach, his head collar requires him to make a more polite introduction.
A leash should allow you to direct your dog away from danger when necessary, should not allow them to overpower you, and should have a thickness proportional to the size of your dog. Different types of leashes are more appropriate for different dogs. Researching the different types can help determine the safest and most comfortable leash.