Running with your pup is a great way for both of you to get some exercise, and many dogs love to go for a jog with their pet parent. The only problem is that it’s usually a pain in the butt to use a conventional leash while running.
Not only does a handheld leash cramp your running style, your arm-pumping motion will travel down the leash, causing you to tug back and forth on your poor pup. And if you have a big dog, a quick lunge can send you toppling head over heels.
Fortunately, there is a solution: You can use a hands-free leash. This way, you’ll be able to keep your canine close, but without having to use your hands to do so.
How Do Hands-Free Leashes Work?
Hand-free dog leashes are pretty nifty creations.
The “dog-end” of a hands-free leash looks similar to a standard leash. It’ll usually be made of a nylon webbing material, and it will feature a clip or clasp of some type that attaches to your dog’s collar or harness.
Most of the differences between a hands-free and conventional leash are seen at the owner-holding-end.
Instead of featuring a handle or wrist loop, hands-free leashes feature some type of adjustable strap or loop, which is designed to wrap around various parts of your body. Some wrap around your arm, but most wrap around your waist, chest, or across your torso.
The Benefits of Running with Your Pup
There are a variety of reasons to get out with your dog and go for a run, but some of the most important include the following:
Most people need more exercise than they currently get. By initiating a running regimen with your pooch, you’ll get out of the house more, burn a few more calories and get your muscles a much-needed workout.
Few dogs get the exercise they require to remain healthy and happy. Not only will regular runs help your dog remain fit and trim, they may provide some benefits regarding your pup’s joint health. Exercise and stimulation also often help to resolve most common behavioral problems. On top of that, some dogs are basically built to run, and they’ll get immense satisfaction out of hitting the trail with you!
Running in natural settings provides even more benefits than running along city streets. Exposure to nature helps to lower stress, improve your ability to concentrate and lift your mood. In fact, you may even want to get involved with canicross – a new relatively new sport that involves running cross-country with your pooch!
It’s quality bonding time with your four-footed friend. The bonding process provides innumerable benefits to both of you, and there’s no better way to turn around a bad day than with some quality one-on-one time with your pup.
Safety First: Avoiding Injuries and Getting Home in One Piece
Running with your dog is a fun activity, but injuries and accidents can quickly turn a good time into a nightmare. Use your common sense to keep you and your dog safe, and make sure you follow these tips to help ensure a happy outing:
- Always consult with your vet before beginning a running program with your pooch. Most healthy adult dogs will benefit from frequent runs, but others may have health conditions or physical characteristics that make them poorly suited for a daily jog.
- Consult your own doctor before beginning a running program if you are new to the sport. You don’t want to start running with your dog, only to suffer a health problem while you are miles from home.
- Always carry water with you for your dog. You may like to wait until the end of your run to rehydrate, but your pup – who uses his mouth to cool himself – needs to stay hydrated to avoid overheating. You’ll probably some type of portable dog water bottle or collapsible water bowl to provide the water to him.
- Avoid running during periods of extreme temperatures, and keep your dog’s tolerances in mind. You probably shouldn’t run at noon in August with any dog, but a pit-mix will clearly tolerate warm temperatures better than a Malamute will. Similarly, you’ll want to avoid running in sub-freezing temperatures with short-haired breeds, who aren’t adapted for such weather.
- Always stop immediately if your dog suffers an injury. Ideally, you should use your cell phone to call a friend to come pick you up in such cases, but you may be able to carry small dogs back home safely.
Check out a few more canine running tips in the video below!
Important Features to Look For in Hands-Free Dog Leashes
The simplest hands-free leashes feature nothing more than a piece of nylon webbing, a clasp to hook to your dog’s collar and an adjustable wrap to connect to your body. However, many of the better models on the market also include a number of bells and whistles that make it easier and more convenient to use the leash.
Some of the most beneficial features to look for include:
Several of the better hands-free leashes on the market can be used in several different ways.
For example, they may work as a conventional leash when that would be more useful, yet quickly convert to a hands-free configuration when it is time to go for a run.
Others can actually be adjusted in ways that allow you to use the leash with two dogs, which is awesome for multi-pet households!
Most high-end hands-free leashes feature one or more shock-absorbers to help provide a bit of “give” in the leash. This can help reduce the amount of tugging both you and your dog will experience as you cruise down the road.
It’s always smart to keep safety in mind while running, but this is particularly important for those who like to run or walk their dog at night.
A few leashes feature LED lights that can help passing motorists see you with ease, no matter how dark the roads are. You’ll have to replace the batteries in these types of lights regularly, but this is a small price to pay for additional safety.
Reflectors are a good alternative to LED lights, as they help motorists see you and your pup in dim light. While they aren’t quite as valuable as LED lights in this context, they don’t require batteries and still provide considerable value.
In addition to discrete reflectors, some leashes are finished with reflective surfaces, which produce a similar effect.
Even if you prefer to travel light, you’ll usually need to bring along a few small items anytime you go for a run.
It’s always a good idea, for example, to have a cell phone with you, and you may want to bring things like keys, your wallet or a water bottle.
Since you should bring water for your dog and a few doggie bags, an accessory pocket is a very valuable feature to help you lug these things around.
5 Best Hands-Free Dog Leashes for Running With Fido!
There are a number of hands-free leashes on the market, but there’s a big difference in cheap, poorly made products and those that will make running with your pup easier and more fun. The following five are among the best choices available, and they are sure to satisfy your needs.
1. Mighty Paw Hands Free Dog Leash
About: The Mighty Paw Hands-Free Dog Leash is a premium, waterproof leash system that is designed to work with even the strongest dogs.
Made with high-quality nylon webbing and durable metal clips, the Mighty Paw Hands-Free Leash is a great choice for hand-free running with your pooch!
- Bungee section provides 16 inches of give to help make the run more comfortable for you and your pet
- Reflective stitching provides improved visibility
- Comes with a 90-day, 100% money-back guarantee by the manufacturer
- Available in both black and grey/lime color patterns
- Engineered for use with dogs between 30 and 100 pounds
Sizes: Available in both 36-inch-long and 48-inch-long versions. The belt fits waists between 26 and 42 inches in circumference.
Most owners – even those who were skeptical of a hands-free design — who have tried the Mighty Paw Leash are very pleased. Most find that the waist loop is comfortable and that the bungee section provides enough resistance to slow the lunges of even large dogs.
Some owners complain that while this leash (particularly the 36-inch version) works well for keeping your dog at your side, it does not work well for runners who prefer to have their dog run behind them – you’ll end up kicking your dog with each step.
2. Petter Bungee Retractable Hands Free Dog Leash & Body Strap
About: Petter’s Retractable Hands-Free Leash is a super-heavy-duty hands-free leash system designed to accommodate extra-large dogs, weighing up to 150 pounds.
The leash relies on premium nylon webbing and super strong elastic to accomplish this, while also featuring premium hardware to ensure years of problem-free use.
- Made with reflective stitching to keep you and your dog visible to motorists
- Includes both the waist loop and a hand grip giving you greater control over your dog
- Comes with a 30-day, 100% money-back guarantee by the manufacturer
- Comes in one color: brown
Sizes: Unfortunately, the manufacturer does not provide much information regarding the size of the leash or the waist band. Fully outstretched, the leash is 63 inches long.
Based on user reports, the Petter Hands-Free Leash is a stellar product. Most owners are quite pleased with the way the leash works, and raved about the quality of construction and durability of the product. Many large dog owners are extremely impressed with this leash’s ability to handle very large dogs.
Most owners love the Petter Hands-Free Leash and found no faults with the product. However, a few complained that they’d like to have more color options to choose from.
3. Tuff Mutt Hands Free Dog Leash
About: The Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Leash is one of the best-conceived hands-free leashes on the market, and it possesses all of the characteristics you’d want in a premium product.
It’s constructed from high-quality materials and features premium metal hardware to ensure your dog stays securely strapped to you, as well as two leash handles for additional control, reflecting stitching for night-time safety, and a nice selection of color options.
- Includes three rows of reflective stitching to keep you visible in the dark
- The leash slides around the waist via a metal clip, so your dog can run along either side
- Bungee sections allow the leash to extend an additional 12 inches when necessary
- Features two handles on the leash, giving you total control of your dog when you need it
- Available in five color combinations: green/gray, gray/blue, gray/coral, gray/teal, and gray/orange
Sizes: Available in one size: The 48-inch-long leash that extends to 60 inches when stretched, and the waist belt is 48 inches long.
Owners are overwhelmingly positive when discussing their experiences with the Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Leash. Many find the bungee section to provide the perfect amount of give to keep dogs from pulling owners off balance, and several owners appreciate the ability to use the leash conventionally, without attaching it to the belt.
The only real complaints owners expressed with the Tuff Mutt Leash related to its weight. This is probably not much of a problem for casual joggers, but serious runners may want to consider other, lighter models.
4. Riddick’s Hands Free One & Two Dog Leash
About: Riddick’s Hands-Free Leash is one of the best built and feature-packed leashes on the market, and it is one of the optimal options for most runners and joggers – particularly those who travel great distances or run frequently.
This hands-free dog collar is made with high-quality tubular nylon and rust-proof nickel hardware. It includes two handles for additional dog control, as well as a water bottle carrier and a zippered pouch for light storage! It also offers the option to purchase an additional bungee leash if you want to run with two dogs at once.
- Includes a zippered pouch, bonus D-ring and a water-bottle carrier for extra convenience
- Features two separate handles to provide maximum control of your dog
- Available in two color options: black/green and red/black
- Can be used to run with two dogs, if you purchase an additional bungee leash
- Comes with a 30-day, 100% money-back guarantee
Sizes: The leash is 48 inches long, but it stretches to 60 inches when pulled. The waist loop adjusts from 26 to 48 inches.
Almost every owner who has tried the Riddick’s Hands-Free Leash finds that it performs extremely well and provides a comfortable and safe way to run alongside their pet. Most are impressed with the high-quality construction of the leash, as well as its ability to work well with large dogs, weighing 75 pounds or more.
As you’d expect from one of the highest-rated hands-free leashes on the market, complaints about the Riddick’s Hands-Free Leash are few and far between. It is slightly more expensive than some other models and it is only available in two colors, but these are very minor problems.
5. Clickgofit Hands Free Dog Leash
About: The Clickgofit Hands-Free Leash is an affordable, yet effective hands-free leash that can help make running with your pooch safer and easier.
Designed to work with dogs of all sizes, be they Chihuahuas or Great Danes, the Clickgofit Hands-Free Leash is a great tool for getting in shape with your dog.
- Made with durable, weather-proof materials to ensure it lasts
- Reflective stitching and dayglo green and black styling help raise your visibility to motorists
- Includes bonus D-ring for clipping keys, an additional bungee leash or other items to the waist belt
- No-questions-asked, money-back guarantee provided by the manufacturer
The vast majority of owners love the Clickgofit Hands-Free Leash and find that it makes running with their dog a blast. The extra amount of stretch provided by this model is also a nice feature, which makes it very effective for dogs who tend to wander a bit more than most.
Most owners who try the Clickgofit Hands-Free Leash are thoroughly satisfied, but it is only available in one color pattern, which is a minor disappointment for some.
Sizes: The leash is 48 inches long, but stretches to an incredible 72 inches in length when pulled. The waist band will fit waists between 26 to 50 inches in circumference.
Do you like to go running with your four-footer? What kind of leash do you use? If you prefer a hands-free model, let us know what you like most about it, and what kind of lessons you’ve learned in the process. Tell us all about your experiences in the comments below!