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"hands-free" leashes

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

Updated 10/01/2020

I enjoy using a hands-free, convertible leash, or at least, having the option to go hands-free like when I’m working on location with my dog and I need my hands for other things like demonstrations, therapy dog engagements, or… shopping. These leashes are especially useful when working with therapy or service dogs, and I understand they are also used in police dog training. Search online for multi-function leash.

Caution! If your dog hasn’t yet learned to walk politely (without excessive pulling) on leash, then you’ll need to be extra careful about attaching any leash to your body or wrapping it around your body as the dog could suddenly take off and pull you down, hard. This is especially a caution for adults with lesser strength, balance and stability and/or those using the leash with a dog of greater size and strength. You may still use a hands-free leash, but please think twice about securing it to your body until you have accomplished the skill of reliable loose-leash control.

Some of these now come with a bungee-style leash, stretching to absorb shock on the line—this could potentially be helpful. HOWEVER, for the untrained dog, the stretch can be confusing in that it does not allow boundary (leash-limit) feedback, so the pulling can actually be reinforced and become even more of a problem for you. Work on loose-leash walking on a standard 6-foot fixed length leash, first.

Think twice before "making your own." Don't go for the idea of sliding the handle of the leash over your belt (threading your belt through the leash handle) — there's no way to quickly release the leash from your waistline; a potential disaster! You could however fasten a carabiner (a metal loop with a spring-loaded clasp) to your belt and connect the leash to the carabiner; at least this would give you an opportunity to detach. I came across a couple of blogs online that shared instructions on how to make your own waist-line and cross-body hands-free leashes out of rope. Keep in mind—stuff happens so be prepared and safely configured for things to go awry, like, a squirrel running across Fido's path... SQUIRREL!

My personal fave; a 7-foot belt with three attachment rings for versatility. Wear around your waist or across your body (over your shoulder), or use it like a standard hand-held leash. First photo is my leash rolled out so you can see the placement of the rings (thank you for being my model, Odin). Notice it has an attachment snap on each end of the belt. The next photos show you the two different ways that I use this leash. And there are other configurations.

To find, search online for cross body, hands-free or multi-function leash.

I purchased mine about eight years ago and I’ve yet to find a record of it and of course there are no identifying tags on the leash itself <sigh> but it looks a lot like this one:

Be safe. Woofs!

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