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Best Features to Look for in a Dog Leash

Cascade Dog Leash with dog on a wooden bridge

As the market for dog related products continues to rapidly expand, it is important for first-time owners to understand the benefits gained from a high-quality dog leash. The simplicity behind a leash is obvious but there are several core factors that differentiate “normal” leashes from those considered to be exceptional.  This article will dive into the various aspects of dog leashes and how they can benefit you and your dog.


What is neoprene and why is it a good choice on a dog leash?  Neoprene is a soft material often used in a variety of sports products and footwear due to its high tensile strength, low compression set, cushioning comfort and durability. Applied to the inside handles on a dog leash, it enhances the walking experience for owners in the same ways. Its comfortable nature helps reduce strain/friction, which can be especially beneficial for owners who regularly take longer walks or who have dogs that are exceptionally strong pullers. Neoprene’s high tensile strength can withstand the repeated impact of sudden pulls or tugs from a dog. This can be especially useful when walking a larger dog or one who commonly has random outbursts of energy. The addition of neoprene to the leash handle improves control for the owner by providing a thicker, more substantial point of contact and grip for control. This decreases the chances of the leash slipping from the hand and can be especially useful for those who live in cities and regularly walk their dog in high traffic areas. Neoprene is also durable, easy to clean, and resistant to degradation from water, sunlight, oxygen, and ozone, making it a wise choice for the long term. It also comes in a variety of colors and designs making it an essential characteristic to look for when purchasing your next leash.

Heel Handle on a Dog Leash?

What is a heel handle? A heel handle is a relatively new feature in dog leashes, sometimes called a safety handle or traffic handle. A heel handle helps the dog owner more easily train their dog to heel, allows the owner to hold the leash in the perfect position for heeling and offers added control when needed. A well-designed dog leash places the heel handle at the midpoint of the leash, offering the owner easy access when they need to control their dog. One company that has a well-engineered product and heel handle is ROCT Outdoor.  ROCT Outdoor’s Trailhead Dog Leash with Padded Heel Handle includes a Heel Handle at the mid-point, lined with neoprene for added comfort. Not all leashes offer this feature, and some companies make the mistake of adding the additional handle in the wrong location, down near the snap clip where the leash attaches to the dog’s collar. A lower handle is inconvenient as it requires the owner to bend down to access it. Additionally, we are not aware of anyone else who has their dog heel while they are bending down! The heel handle is a great addition to any leash as it allows for more precise control of a dog’s movements. Through increased control this enables the handler to teach positive leash manners and reinforce training or verbal commands in a more controlled environment, by limiting your dog’s ability to pull forward. This is also a great feature to utilize in high traffic areas. Keep in mind that it’s essential to find the right length and fit to ensure comfort and safety for both you and your dog.

Reflective Stitching

One of the most obvious benefits reflective stitching provides is increased visibility for you and your dog in dark and low light environments. Even if you don’t walk your dog at night, its ability to increase visibility in poor weather conditions makes it a no brainer for those who frequent the outdoors. Furthermore, being able to easily locate your dog in areas of limited visibility such as hiking trails or dense forests gives owners added peace of mind. As reflective “stitching” has become more popular on dog leashes, be aware, cheap alternatives have crept into the market.  To cut costs, some manufacturers are instead applying lower quality reflective applique to their leashes. It is important to understand the difference between a reflective stitch and an applique. Applique is a reflective adhesive commonly used as a cheaper alternative to reflective stitching. When the applique is new it is difficult to tell the difference between the two, the differences become apparent over time. Unlike a stitch which is durable and woven into the webbing, keeping its reflective properties for the duration of the product’s life, an applique can wear off following regular use leaving the owner with a flaky dog leash and minimal reflective aspects.

While applique draws consumers in with a lower price point, this small saving will literally flake away over time and is not enough to justify the safety of your dog provided with reflective stitching.

D Ring

The D Ring is a subtle and largely forgotten element of the leash however it serves an important purpose. What is that important purpose you may ask? The D Ring is meant to hold plastic bags used to dispose of your dog’s waste. Having bags easily at hand allows you to be a good steward to your neighborhood, community, and the environment.

Next time you are shopping for a new dog leash make sure to look out for these useful features that are guaranteed to make your life and the life of your dog easier.

Snap Hook

Snap hooks today come in a plethora of different sizes, shapes, and colors. One of the key differentiating factors of snap hooks is the overall functionality and quality of materials used. While some brands of dog leashes have recently begun to differ from the traditional snap hook style, this can in some instances decrease its overall functionality. It may look cool but how easy is it to use when leashing a dog who is excited to go on a walk? Cheaper options also regularly employ subpar materials drastically decreasing the longevity of the snap hook and leash. Make sure to thoroughly test the functionality of the snap hook before purchase.

Fashion Meets Function

The final feature consumers can look for in dog leashes today is a pattern or color that reflects their lifestyle. Long gone are the days when leashes were offered in only a couple of colors. Today the market is flush with options for consumers to reflect their lifestyle in the gear they use with their dog.  ROCT Outdoor’s Cascade Line of Dog Collars & Leashes offers a wide assortment of bright & bold patterns to fit and reflect every lifestyle.


Today dog leashes are offered in more colors, sizes, and styles than ever before.  This has certainly benefited dog owners by enabling dog related apparel and accessories to be purchased from many of consumers favorite name brands.  However, it has also made it more difficult for everyday consumers to differentiate which products offer excellent value in an ever-growing sea of options. As you search for your next dog leash or related dog gear, keep these important factors in mind so you can be confident while purchasing the leash best for you and your dog. Also remember to regularly check back for new postings so you can continue to learn new tips and tricks regarding dog ownership and care.

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