Is a Slip Lead the Same as a Figure of 8 Lead? (Solved!)

No, a slip lead is not the same as a figure of 8 lead, so let’s take a look at how each of these leads functions so that you’ll have a clearer picture of how each design is intended to be used. First, a slip lead, at it’s most basic, is just a standard lead, with a metal ring fitted at the end.

By slipping the lead through the ring, you have a loop that you can place over your dog’s head, which will tighten if your dog tries to pull away or if you tug on it. Generally this results in your dog stopping their resistance and moving closer to you so that the slip lead will loosen on their throat.

A figure of 8 lead functions much the same as a halter on a horse. Pressure is put on the throat and on the nose of your dog, with the intent that you can stop them from fixating on an animal, item, or location by tugging at the lead and getting them to look away or at you for further commands.

For the remainder of this article, we’ve collected questions trending highly this week from owners just like you. This questions cache will address differences between these two popular collar types so that you can decide which training option will be best suited for your dog’s personality.

Let’s take a look at how they compare!

When would you use a slip lead?

When used properly, a slip lead can be quite an effective tool, so let’s take a look at the proper times to use one. A slip lead is most useful for the following:

  • When you need to transport your dog
  • For handling at the vet when you need to ensure that your dog is compliant
  • When your dog has already learned to walk with a standard lead and collar or harness and you want them to learn to walk closely next to you
  • Moving a nervous dog into and out of transport

These are all situations where a slip lead is going to be an effective option for use. While not everyone likes a slip lead, the ‘instant control’ that this method employs can be quite useful for a panicked dog or one which is acting out and not responding to other methods of management.

Does a slip lead stop a dog pulling?

Yes, a slip lead stops a dog pulling, but it does so by constricting on a dog’s throat. When a dog pulls away, it tightens, which will cause most dogs to instantly stop to relieve this pressure.

This is quite effective in the short term, but if a dog still pulls away quite often then the prolonged pressure can have a cumulative effect, resulting in symptoms such as snoring, coughing, or worse if another method is not adopted.

Are slip leads cruel?

While they are considered to be socially acceptable, ultimately a slip lead is a form of choke collar. This is based on how it works. When the dog pulls away, force is exerted in the form of the lead constricting at the dog’s neck.

This makes it more difficult to breath and stresses the neck when tugged by the owner or by a dog trying to pull against it anyway. While it is less constricting than an actual choke chain, the use of throat constriction as a restraining measure is not exactly considered an ideal or kind solution.

That said, they CAN be used humanely, but it requires experience and careful management on the part of the owner.

When would you use a figure of 8 lead?

A figure 8 lead might be used as a sort of compromise when a slip collar is deemed to be too constricting.

These collars exert some pressure on the throat, but also on the nose of the dog, and rather than use as a restraint the idea behind a figure 8 is that you can get the dog to turn their head and stop fixating on specific items, animals, or locations.

Does a figure of 8 lead stop a dog pulling?

Yes, a figure of 8 lead can stop a dog from pulling, but you want to be careful with it as you would any restraining or training tool. Tugging too hard can cause a dog to move their head sharply, putting a lot of stress on their neck.

Are figure of 8 leads cruel?

A figure of 8 lead is considered to be less cruel than a slip collar and like a slip collar, can be quite effective if used with experience and sparingly at that.

Without experience from the owner, however, the pressure exerted on the throat and the nose of the dog can be quite uncomfortable, so this could be considered a cruel option if it is used incorrectly or relied on too much in the place of patient, less-stressful training options.

Is a slip lead better than a figure of 8?

Arguably, a figure of 8 is less uncomfortable, in that it is more like a halterthat you would use on a horse. Both methods have their caveats and advantages, however, and it is worthy of note that vets will often use a slip lead when they need to quickly take control of a dog.

Thus, for walking a figure of 8 might be the ideal choice, but for quick, assertive management the slip lead would be the superior option.

Is a slip lead a choke collar?

Technically, yes, although it is unpopular to say that. The literal function of a slip lead is the management of a dog by exerting constricting force on the throat, so while it is a more acceptable form of a choke collar, it is hard to call it anything else based on it’s current design.

Is a figure of 8 lead a choke collar?

While some force is applied to the neck, a figure of 8 lead is more of a ‘head collar’ than a choke collar. As the force is distributed between two points, it is considered uncomfortable, but not the same as a choke collar.

With a choke collar, a tug or a pull is met with immediate constriction targeted at the throat, but a figure of 8 collar is more in line with a horses halter as far as the way that it restrains a dog.

What is the best lead for walking my dog?

The best option for walking your dog is just a 6 foot nylon or leather lead used in conjunction with a chest or back clip harness. For problem dogs, the chest clip will afford you more control, but you can certainly teach your dog with a back clip as well.

They will be able to pull harder than they would with a collar, but if your dog is not huge than this is something that both of you will quickly get used to, and as long as it is only used for walking then it’s definitely not going to hurt or choke your dog.