How Do You Fit a Figure of 8 Slip Lead? (Solved & Explained!)

Fitting a figure 8 slip lead takes a little practice, so it’s best to do this with a long-nosed stuffed animal if you can, since they won’t wiggle around while you are ‘learning the ropes’. That said, here are the steps for putting that lead on a dog:

  • With your dog standing to your left, make a ‘P’ shape out of your lead, so that we have a loop that won’t tighten without an intentional effort.
  • Pull the ‘circle’ part of that ‘P’ over your dog’s head, so that it is at the throat.
  • Twist the lead underneath your dog’s head to make another loop, which goes over your dog’s nose, and should settle comfortably in the middle of it.
  • Attach your safety clip to suspend the figure of 8 in it’s current configuration and slide the stopped down so that you are leaving a space approximately 2 fingers wide.

Congratulations, you’ve just put a figure of 8 lead on your dog! For the remainder of this article, we’re going to talk more about this ‘horse harness for dogs’ known as the ‘figure of 8 slip lead’. Read on to get the answers to questions trending highly this week on the subject – important information is waiting for you below!

What does a figure of 8 lead do?

A figure of 8 lead is designed to essentially be like a horse halter for dogs. One loop goes over the nose, while the other loop goes over the throat, so that the dog’s head may be controlled and the pressure is distributed between the throat and the nose – rather than just on the throat, like a choke chain or slip lead.

This allows you to redirect a dog’s attention when they fixating on something so that you can get them to focus and follow commands.

What is the advantage of using a figure of 8 lead?

The chief advantage is being able to divert your dog’s attention. Some dogs will fixate on a person, place, or thing, and getting their attention back can be next to impossible. With a figure of 8, you can get your dog to look away, issue a command, and you have a higher chance of regaining their attentions.

This is particularly useful with dogs that fixate, especially hunting breeds, and it is an option to use for dogs when nothing else seems to work.

Can you use a figure of eight lead on a puppy?

You can, but it is not recommended. At this early age, you should skip shortcuts and get to actually teaching your dog. Lessons can be absorbed very quickly by pups, provided that you keep training sessions minimal at 10 to 15 minutes at a time – any more than this and the pup gets overwhelmed or bored.

As such, a relatively oppressive measure that teaches by squeezing the nose and throat is not an ideal way to train a pup – think of it more as an option for when your dog is older and other attempts to get their attention have failed.

Are figure of 8 leads cruel?

While they aren’t as harsh as slip leads, they do use distress and discomfort to control your dog, which is not considered to be a kind approach. That said, they are certainly less distressing than a slip lead and much less distressing than a prong or an electric e collar.

Used properly, they can be a good tool, but research and training from someone who has used figure of 8 leads before should be heavily considered if you want to try this tool, otherwise there is a lot of potential for discomfort to your dog – possibly enough that they won’t even want to take walks!

What is a figure 8 harness?

A figure of 8 harness is completely different from a figure of 8 lead. This type of harness is essentially just two circular loops, with one for the front legs and one for the back, and is a similar design to what humans use for safety when rappelling down a cliff face.

Basically, it’s just a simplified harness option and related to a figure of 8 lead in name only.

Is a figure of 8 lead better than a slip lead?

It depends on what you need it for. A figure of 8 lead is consider the kinder option of the two, but it’s best suited for dogs whose attention strays often so that you can get them to look at you and listen to commands.

A slip lead is the better option for loading and unloading dogs from transport and vets use them often to have more granular control of a dog that doesn’t know or barely knows them.

Slip leads are often used to improve walking skills as well, once a dog has already learned the basics, and they are a popular choice in dog shows.

When would I use a figure of 8 lead?

A figure of 8 lead might be useful if walking with a standard nylon lead and harness is still a very taxing affair and you can’t get your dog to stop fixating on a location.

The figure of 8 will let you ‘steer’ the dog’s head, so that you can get them to look away form the object of their attention or get them to focus on you.

Mind you, a can halfway filled will pennies also works, just shake it and your dog will look over in surprise, but some prefer the option of the ‘dog halter’ style figure of 8.

Is a figure of 8 the same as a choke chain?

No, a figure of 8 is definitely not the same as a choke chain. While it applies pressure on the throat, part of the force is also on the nose, so while it might get uncomfortable for your dog it shouldn’t cut off their breath.

That said, there are still other options out there where you aren’t pulling around a dog’s head, and these should be considered – anytime something comes with warnings on use, it’s often best to simply avoid them for options that don’t present such caveats.

Do vets recommend a figure of 8 lead?

No, or at least if they do, it’s a small amount of a large number of vets around the world. Most often vets simply recommend a chest-clip harness and a 4 to 6 foot lead of proper thickness for managing a dog on walks.

That said, you will see vets using slip leads with dogs when you bring them in, but this is not an endorsement of slip leads, either. Vets just have proper training in their use and the slip lead is the most expedient means of controlling your dog in an emergency situation.

Is a figure of 8 lead better than a harness?

No, it is an alternative to a harness and standard lead, but the harness is considered to be the kinder option. A harness might put pressure on a dog’s shoulders, however, the risk of this becoming a problem is mitigated by simply putting it on as-needed and taking it off whenever you get your dog home.

With a figure of 8, you can certainly command your dog’s attention with the control afforded, as it’s designed rather like a horse’s harness. That said, it still puts some pressure on the throat and the nose, making the harness the superior option.