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Are Dogs Required to be on a Leash?

For pet parents, the safety and security of their pet is a top priority. Sometimes dogs need a little bit more exercise than a leash allows. But before you unleash your four-legged friend, you need to know if your location requires that dogs stay leashed. To know whether or not dogs have to be on a leash by law where you live, you’ll have to look into local dog leash laws. Knowing your local requirements will prevent legal trouble or fines, especially since more urban and other areas are passing dog leash length laws. Keep reading to learn more. 

Main Things to Know about the State Leash Law 

Each state will have individual state leash laws, a set of rules that determines how you are allowed to walk your dog. However, most leash restrictions occur at the city or local level, so there’s no single set of leash laws for the country. 

In fact, there are only two states that have statewide regulations for controlling and restraining animals. Some states have laws that outlaw loose dogs, or “dogs at large,” but don’t mention required leashes or harnesses. Other states have specific restrictions on where dogs must be leashed, like public parks, nature areas, beaches, and city streets. There may also be rules about what times of day a dog must be restrained or what breeds must always be on a leash. 

How to Choose the Right Dog Leash

Regardless of what types of laws are in place where you live, choosing the right dog leash is necessary. A high-quality harness will offer ultimate comfort, safety, and security for both you and Fido. In addition, it allows for more control during training and will help you avoid fines for being off-leash. 

Consider the Dog Leash Length

The first thing to consider is the length of the ideal leash. Keep in mind that there may be dog leash length laws in place where you live. A quick Google search will reveal any rules you should be aware of. Below are the common leash types and lengths to choose from: 

  • Standard dog leashes are usually around six feet long and work with most dogs. 
  • Short leashes, also called traffic dog leashes, are very short at only one to three feet long. They are best for training and walking in crowded areas. 
  • Long dog leashes are usually around eight to ten feet long. 
  • Longline leashes and check cords are longer than fifteen feet and offer your dog more freedom to play and explore while still staying on-leash. 
  • Retractable dog leashes are like all of the above combined and are the best option for any dog and activity. The comfortable handle means your hand won’t get tired, even as you release and retract length with the easy lock button. This type of leash can extend up to 16 feet. 

When choosing your new dog leash, a retractable dog leash will be the most versatile option and will make sure you and your dog stay safe. These leashes work well with any breed and size. 

Find the Best Dog Leash Material 

The material you choose for your dog leash will impact the control it gives you and the accessory’s lifespan. Ideally, you are looking for a material that is lightweight, easy to clean, and comfortable for running, walking, training, or other activities you do with your dog. 

  • Nylon –  Nylon is one of the most commonly used materials for leashes. It is inexpensive, durable, and easy to clean and dry. It won’t experience warping or tearing and won’t shrink if it gets wet. As an added bonus, it is available in every color and pattern you can imagine. Nylon is the best choice for a dog running leash or for training. 
  • Leather –  If a classic style is what you’re going for, leather is a great option. Leather is incredibly strong and durable, and it’s soft on the hand for owners. However, this material is much more expensive than others, and it could be a tempting treat if your dog has a chewing habit. 
  • Rope –  Cotton rope is a great option if you want something more natural and eco-friendly. They’re built to be durable yet soft and even resist chewing. On the downside, rope gets dirty very quickly and is difficult to clean. For more adventurous dogs, an easy-to-clean nylon leash may be a better choice. 
  • Chain – A less common leash option, chains are more suitable for medium to large dogs with bad habits like chewing or pulling. Chain leashes aren’t meant to be a permanent leash; once you get rid of those bad habits, you should switch to a more lightweight leash. 

Mind the Dog Leash Clip Type

Along with leash material, you should also pay attention to the leash clip type. Some types are sturdier than others, so they’ll be a better choice for active or strong dogs. 

  • Trigger Snap Clip –  This type of clip relies on spring action for a sturdy close. Pull the trigger down to open the clip, slip it onto the harness or collar’s leash ring and release to close. Because the mechanism opens inwards, it will stay closed with even more strength if your dog pulls. The trigger snap clip is perfect for canine escape artists. 
  • Bolt Snap Clip – Like the trigger snap clip, the bolt snap uses a spring-loaded mechanism to quickly open and close. Attaching the leash takes just a couple of seconds, and it’s one of the most common – and best – clip types. 
  • Locking Carabiner – This clip type is suitable for medium to large dogs. Instead of a spring-loaded bolt or trigger, a standard carabiner is fitted with a twist-lock mechanism to ensure the clip can’t be opened by pulling. However, it is much larger and heavier than other clips, so it’s not ideal for smaller, very active, or untrained pups.

Choose a Multi-Purpose Dog Leash

If you think you’ll be doing activities other than daily walking and simple training with your furry friend, you may want to check out multi-purpose dog leashes. To get the most out of your time with Fido, get the leash that’s suited to the activity you’ll be doing, whether that’s running, biking, or something else. Here are some main types of multi-purpose leashes. 

  • Dog Running Leash – Leashes for running should aim to decrease the risk of injury, so look for versatile, elasticized options that are lightweight and come with a strong leash clip. It should also be at a length that works for your running pace and distance from your dog. Retractable leashes make for excellent dog running leashes since you can control the length with ease to account for speed changes.
  • Dog Biking Leash – A dog biking leash will be lightweight and allow for connecting it to the bike’s seat post (not the handles; this is unsafe!). The material should be stretchy, like bungee cord, or retractable, which is the best option. There should also be a sturdy leash clip and reflective strips on the material for added safety. 
  • Dog Training Leash – A dog training leash requires ultimate control and versatility, so look for a leash that is comfortable to hold and easy to change the length. Again, retractable leashes make an ideal choice for training, especially since the lock function allows you to change the length as needed and hold it in place.  
  • Dog Walking Leash – This type of leash is one that most dog owners will have. Because a dog walking leash is meant for daily use, it should be lightweight, comfortable, and easy to clean. A strong leash clip and other safety features will ensure safety. Opt for a retractable leash with a comfortable handle that’s perfect for walking in any situation. And because you can change the length, you can always stay within local leash length guidelines. 

Whatever the activity that you and your furry friend do together, a retractable leash is an ideal choice for pet parents that prioritize safety and comfort. 

Get Your Best Dog Leash from Pet & Cuddle!

If there’s one essential accessory that you and your dog need, it’s a high-quality dog leash. It’s something you’ll likely use every day for various activities, so getting the right one is crucial. Pair it with a great harness, and you have a winning combination for successful walking, sports, and training. 

Now that you know how to choose the best leash for you and your dog, head over to Pet & Cuddle for the best harnesses, collars, and retractable dog leashes. Each accessory is expertly designed with safety, security, comfort, and style in mind. From high-intensity agility training with an active adolescent to daily strolls with an aging adult dog, our harnesses and leashes are ideal for any activity. The best part? Pet & Cuddle’s pet accessories are packed with features you’d normally only find on much more expensive items, like reflective straps, sturdy leash clips, and more. That means you don’t have to break the bank or sacrifice on quality. 

If you’re ready to treat your dog (and yourself) to the best leash or harness you’ll ever own, check out our new pet accessory collection today! 

Questions about Dog Leash Laws

Understanding the ins and outs of dog leash laws is complicated, so if you still have questions, we can help. Below are some of the most common questions we’ve heard from pet owners like you. 

What states don’t have dog leash laws? 

Only Michigan and Pennsylvania have laws that specifically mention some form of restraint for all dogs at all times. Other states don’t mention restraints but do outlaw loose dogs, also called “dogs at large.”

Do dogs have to be on a leash by law? 

If you live in Michigan or Pennsylvania, the answer is yes. If you live elsewhere, you should check into your local restrictions. In general, dogs should be kept on a leash when on public property and must be under full control of the owners while on private property. Even if your dog can be off-leash in some places, it’s always best for your dog’s safety to keep the leash on unless he’s in your own yard or a dog park. 

Can my dog be off-leash in my front yard? 

Your dog does not have to be restrained when it is on the owner’s property. However, once the dog leaves the property, it should be leashed and held by a capable person.