Dogs around the Connecticut Shoreline are being walked with what is referred to as a body leash. Body leashes are worn across the handler’s chest or around the waist; they are designed to make walks easier by freeing the handler’s hands. As professional dog walkers, we’ve been using Tiny Horse body leashes for about two years. We love them but have our concerns when it comes to non-professionals jumping on the bandwagon.
What is a Body Leash?
Body leashes are also referred to as crossbody leashes, hands-free leashes, courier leashes, waist leashes, and infinity leashes. Most of these leashes can be worn around the chest and torso like a crossbody purse or around their waist like a belt. Many of these leashes can also be used like a standard leash, in the handler’s hand. Having the option to hold the leash in your hand is ideal; there are instances when wearing a leash around the body is not as practical as holding it. More on that later.
The idea of the body leash is to allow handlers to walk hands-free, giving the handler more movement, the ability to hold other things, and more easily access their phones. As with anything, the design and user experience vary widely from brand to brand.
When considering a body leash, use the same quality controls you would when purchasing any dog leash or lead. You want the nylon or material to be lightweight, flexible, and durable. You also want to be sure that the rings that connect to the collar or harness are sturdy, secure, and easy to use.
Because your hands won’t be directly on the leash, you want to consider body leashes with built-in safety to release the leash from your person in case of an emergency. If your dog is attacked by another dog on a walk, you won’t want to grab your dog’s neck to release the leash. Instead, you’ll want to release the leash from your waist or chest. Many of these types of leashes have clips in two different and strategic places to allow for a quick release.
Many body leashes are one-size-fits-all therefore we recommend reviewing sizing before ordering a body leash. Handlers that are particularly tall or petite, should consider how the leash will fit. Your size will determine how long a lead your dog will enjoy. Your size will also impact your ability to wear a body leash around your waist. If you’re on the very slim side, body leashes may be too large for you to wear around your waist. In these instances, they could work better as a crossbody leash.
As stated, our team loves TinyHorse brand leashes. They can customize their Leader lead’s waist length if the standard sizes are not a good match. They currently offer customization at no additional charge.
We believe that different dog-handling equipment is indicated in different settings and surroundings. At Shoreline Happy Paws, we love the idea of always being “leash-ready” with our TinyHorse Leaders. As professional dog walkers, we often wear a body leash during our dog hiking adventures. For these walks, we know the chances of running into other dogs are rare. We use a standard leash (and forego being hands-free) in areas that are crowded, on high-traffic streets, or when walking unpredictable dogs.
Trails & Paths
When using body leads, we also consider the quality of the trails and paths we’re on. We prefer a standard hand-held leash when the ground is uneven or unstable, paths are rocky, or streets are wet. Wrapping a leash around our bodies means that our center of gravity may be significantly altered therefore fall prevention is our priority.
As professional dog walkers, we oftentimes see pet parents and enthusiasts walking dogs while distracted. Unfortunately, while becoming quite popular, the misuse of body leashes can lead to injuries, both for the dog and its handler. No matter what kind of leash you’re using, it’s important to be alert, keep distractions to a minimum, and remain aware of your surroundings.
Again, because the leash is attached to your torso or waist, we recommend you practice quickly releasing the leash before using it. Once you feel like you’d be able to release it in a pinch, then you’re ready to proceed.
While many dog lovers multitask while walking their dogs, we advise against it, especially when wearing body leashes. Say you’re walking listening to your favorite podcast and don’t hear that trash truck approaching from behind you. Your noise-phobic dog may sprint ahead, yanking at your midsection, and potentially injuring your spine. Or, imagine if you were texting with a friend or colleague and don’t notice the loose dog up ahead. You could be walking right up to a dog that feels threatened by you, forcing you to release your dog off-leash if a confrontation arises. These are only two scenarios that can easily occur if you aren’t paying attention.
Finally, not all dogs are good candidates for being walked on body leashes. As with most things we do with our pets, developing skills slowly will ensure that everyone has a positive experience. If you want to use a body leash with your dog, start working on their loose leash walking skills before upgrading your leash. Once your dog is walking well on a standard leash, responding well to your cues, and comfortable around others outdoors, then you can safely start to incorporate a body leash into your routine.
Finally, keep in mind that body leashes can make walking multiple dogs more challenging. Body leashes are best used when walking up to 2 well-trained dogs. This is especially true if the dogs are particularly strong or have varying energy levels. Furthermore, children should never walk dogs unsupervised, especially while wearing body leashes. If the child isn’t strong or alert enough, they can easily fall or be pulled into traffic.
If you’re the kind of pet parent that prefers to leave it to the professionals, we’re here to help. We offer midday dog walking, dog hiking, and travel pet care services along various areas of the Connecticut Shoreline. Our service areas include Old Saybrook, Essex, Ivoryton, Centerbrook, Deep River, Chester, and more. To inquire about our specific services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 860-964-0464.