The most used tool in your puppy training arsenal: the leash!

Let’s talk about the best training lead to get for your particular pup.

Is there a difference between dog training leads and normal leads?

I tend to always use what many will call a ‘training lead’ all of the time, whether I’m walking my dog or training them.

Dog training leads typically:

  • Are longer than regular dog leads – they can be from 1.5m and up 
  • Have rings and clips to adjust them at different lengths
  • They allow for two points of contact on the dog – having one clip on the front and one of the back of the harness allows for good balance on the dog. There’s a good reason as to why this is important; behaviourist Sarah Fisher talks about it in her article.
  • Can be attached to your waist for hands free walking – look mum, no hands!
  • Are able to be attached round a chair leg for teaching puppy settle training

What you can also see out there are ‘recall training leads’, but they’re just a fancy way to say long lines. These vary in length from 3m to 50m, and give you a glorious peace of mind when teaching your puppy to come back when you call them. There’s nothing worse when they don’t come back. And they run in the opposite direction. 

What to look for when choosing a dog training lead

The best dog training lead for teaching loose lead walking will be:

  • Comfortable to hold – if it feels rough, you are NOT going to want to use it on your dog. Unless you want second degree friction burns on your hands.
  • A good length that can be adjusted by clips and rings.
  • Has a narrow width and isn’t too heavy on your puppy.
  • Good quality and secure – you won’t want to get a heart attack from a snapped lead or a faulty clip!
  • Easy to clean. Or you’ll end up with muddy stripes everywhere. 

Best dog training leads

1. Halti Training Lead For Dogs, Double Ended Dog Training Lead 

🏆 – Best puppy leash 2021

black lead

This is your basic, fool proof training lead. I’m not their only fan – it turns out it’s well liked around the world! I’m particularly fond of it because it’s kind of ridiculously durable. Not only can it survive in the rainy and muddy UK weather, but it can still stand when used by medium or large dogs…question is, will you? 

  Price: £6.39 Length: 2 Metres   

What makes it special:

  • Available in two widths – we recommend the narrow for puppies and small dogs.
  • Two triggers clips for two points of contact.
  • Soft and comfortable in your hand.
  • Available in black and red. I’d personally go for red, just saying. 
  • Inexpensive – love it when things don’t empty my wallet. 

Buy it from Amazon

2. Julius K9 Supergrip Double Leash

colourful leads

Not going to lie, this is my favourite training lead! I use it on my dog. Yes, the colour selection is indeed one that I find very appealing, but besides this, it really is great. No matter how wet the weather gets, I haven’t had any trouble in terms of grip… I always manage to stay on my feet, and not let my dog drag me in the mud. 

  Price: £18.99 Length: 3 adjustable sizes (2.2m, 1.6m, 1.25m)  

What makes it special:

  • Colourful training leads – available in pink, blue, red, black.
  • Non-slip material provides a great grip.
  • Comfortable to hold.
  • Two trigger points for two points of contact.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Available in various widths – we recommend the 14mm for small dogs and puppies.

Buy it from Julius K9

3. Meg Heath Multi Length Lead Small Dogs & Puppies

🐶 – Best lead for small breeds

two leads hanging on gate

If your dog’s breed is bound to stay under 20 kilos, this is a pretty good training lead. It’s pretty lightweight, so they’ll still manage to move around and not feel like they’re tied to a rock or something heavy. 

  Price: £15.99 Length: 2 Metres  

What makes it special:

  • 19mm wide – perfect for puppies
  • Available in blue and pink – they say ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ colours which is a bit cringe in my opinion, but the leads are still nice, if you can look past that!
  • Small clips – nice and lightweight.

Buy it from Meg Heath Dog Leads

4. Tuff Stuff Double Hook Lead

♻️ – Most durable leash

green clip lead

This one gets me because of their funky colour selection too. But dog training leads from Tuff Stuff are literally what you may expect; durable and sturdy. Speaking of the colour selection, you’re also free to choose your own embroidery and pick out colours for that as well – so you get to stand out even more than you already do with your hectic puppy running after birds. 

  Price: £12.00 Length: 1.8m  

What makes it special:

  • Trigger clips at each end for two points of contact.
  • Made from cushion web or soft tactile webbing.
  • Available in many different colours and personalised embroidery available

Buy it from Tuff Stuff

5. Wolters Double Ended Training Leads

😬 – Best for Chewers

light blue lead

What I like about this training lead is the double webbing. For puppies (and dogs) who like to chew, bite and pull on the lead as they’re learning, this lead won’t let you down. It won’t snap so that you’re left alone pulling on a rope! There are also different widths available so that you’re sure to get the right one for their strength. 

  Price: £21.00 Length: 2 metres  

What makes it special:

  • 3 different adjustable lengths.
  • 3 widths available – we recommend narrow for puppies.
  • Soft and comfortable in your hand.
  • Available in 13 colours – loving the colours. Really cheers up a cloudy day to be honest.  
  • Matching collars and harnesses available.

Buy it from Dapper Dog

6. Flexi Neon Tape Lead

yellow extenting lead

🦮 – Best Retractable Lead

So, here’s the deal. In my experience, retractable leads can teach a puppy to pull as they get used to the feeling of tension on their harness – which in the long run, is something we don’t want to happen. On the other hand, retractable leads are very useful in some circumstances like these ones:

  • Going to the park and letting your puppy sniff around freely while still being safely on the lead. Let’s let them sniff the chips dropped on the floor but not actually get to them, shall we?
  • Having a dog on lead in areas where it says they must be kept on one – got to respect the rules. 
  • When they’re in post recovery from surgery so they have the freedom to look around but are still under control.

Price: £19.92

Length: 5 metres  

What makes it special:

  • Retractable lead extends to 5 metres.
  • Reflective neon can be seen at night.
  • Should be used with a harness for safety – never a collar!
  • Tape is safer to use than cord – the cord will give you a mighty burn if run against your leg. The tape is stronger too, so less chance of lead snapping.
  • The ergonomic handle (fancy name isn’t it?) is much comfier to hold than other retractable leashes.
  • Quick stop braking system – got to stop them from getting into people’s private picnics. You’re probably not invited to those, sorry.
  • Multi box to store poo bags and treats can be attached to lead as an optional accessory – super handy.

Buy it from Amazon

7. Hand-Made Claytons Leather Police (Training) Dog Lead Bleed Knot and Stitched

leather lead

Here’s a quick story, the Jewlnick leather collars and leads have been a favourite of mine since I first saw them at Crufts some 15 years ago. Naturally, I’ve got a soft spot for them. But in all fairness, they’re great. All of their products are handmade and are of a really beautiful quality.

  Price: £40.95 Length: 2m  

What makes it special:

  • Clips at both ends to provide two points of contact
  • Adjustable length to suit your needs
  • Available in black or brown leather
  • Brass or Nickel fittings
  • Comes in 3 widths – we recommend the ⅜ for a puppy or small dog so it’s not too heavy
  • Can be worn hands free, around your waist or across your body
  • Leather is naturally oiled so very comfortable in your hand
  • Made locally in the UK
  • Great price for a handmade leather dog training lead
  • Matching collar available

Buy it from Jewlnick Leather

8. Houndability Houndagrip Super Grip Dog Training Lead

orange, blue and black lead

This training lead gets a round of applause for its grip – it’s not called Raptorgrip for nothing. Made from a special rubber material, you’ll be able to hold on tight even if it’s raining cats and dogs outside. You’ll enjoy it if you go out on walks of course, but this lead is particularly good for those who enjoy going on runs with their dogs too. 

  Price: £17.50 Length: 2.2 metres  

What makes it special:

  • Double ended lead allows for two points of connection
  • Adjustable length to suit your needs
  • Available in 8 colours
  • 20mm wide is great for puppies
  • Rubber based material provides a great non slip grip, even when wet
  • Soft and comfortable to hold
  • Custom made to order in the UK

Buy it from Houndability

9. Dogs and Horses Rolled Leather Multi-Purpose Adjustable Lead

blue lead

Don’t let the name fool you -it’s not a horse lead…although chances are it would withstand being used by a horse. It’s perfect for all of you multitasking lovers; you can use it when pushing a pram, if you’re an outdoor exercise person, or if you’re thinking of bringing your dog out to the pub with you. We especially love the durability of this dog training lead – the internal rope is made out of all the strong stuff yachtsmen use on their boats which means you can be sure it won’t rot from the rain and won’t break easily. Ace!

  Price:  £110 Length: 2 metres  

What makes it special:

  • 10mm round leather dog training lead
  • Lead is made from ultra-strong yacht cord with soft leather bonded over the top
  • Available in a variety of different coloured leathers
  • Brass or Silver Fittings
  • Can be adjusted to different lengths to suit your activities
  • Can be worn hands free
  • Matching collars, harnesses and accessories available

Buy it from Dogs and Horses

10. Kurgo 6-in-1 Quantum Dog Leash, Hands Free Dog Lead, Adjustable Waist Belt

purple lead

Yep, this one has a flashy name, but it’s with good reason – there are literally six different ways you can use it. Besides this handy detail, one of our other favourite things about this training lead is the reflective strips on it, making you and your dog visible and safe on dark evenings! Oh, and can’t forget about the padded handle. It’s a minor thing, but makes a big difference.  Side note – I personally love Kurgo products. They’re high quality and last for ages.

  Price: £26.94 Length: 2 metres  

What makes it special:

  • 6-in-1 dog training leash allows for a variety of different adjustment
  • Can be worn hands free and converted into a running belt
  • Padded handle for comfort
  • Reflective material
  • Lifetime Warranty

Buy it from Amazon

Dog training leads FAQs

What type of leash should I use during puppy lead training?

We recommend you use a 2-metre puppy training lead, attached to a harness. They’ll give your puppy enough freedom to learn, while still under control – you’ll be able to keep them away from traffic without a problem.

What’s the best alternative to shock collars?

Shock collars are a big no-no. When it comes to puppy and dog lead training, you need to make sure they associate it with fun and happy times, you don’t want them to fear their walks. They’re never ethical, nor offer a humane way to teach loose lead walking, so we’re always going to recommend normal collars. You know, those that don’t choke dogs and rather let them breathe. 

Check the ZigZag app for the ultimate guide on how to train your dog with positive reinforcement.

When and how can I start puppy lead training?

Good question. You’ll be happy to hear that you can start lead-training your puppy as soon as you bring them home! By teaching them that close following brings them rewards, they’ll pick up on it in no time. Ok, fine it might take them a couple of weeks. But the earlier you start, the better!

You’ll have to start small. Think baby steps. Puppy lead training is all about positive associations. At first, you’ll start helping them create associations with being next to you when walking. Then, you can add the harness and lead once they get the hang of things. Eventually, treats will go a long way when you can take them out to more distracting environments! They’ll literally become a part of your body. You’ll have them attached to you at all times. 

PRO TIP: Keep in mind that teaching them about treats is important before you even go so far as putting a lead or harness on them or taking them out for walks…treats are going to be your foundation for any kind of good training by the way.

Find out when you can start taking your pup out for walks in our guide, next.