Can I Use a Slip Lead on A Puppy? (Solved & Explained!)

As a general rule, slip leads are not recommended for use with puppies and young dogs. At that age, puppies are still growing and developing, and slip leads can prove dangerous to the puppy’s health if used incorrectly.

In this article, we will look at the alternative options for puppies, whether slip leads are safe for any dog, and when it is best to consider them.

Can I use a slip lead on a puppy?

Slip leads are generally not recommended for puppies, especially if you intend to use one for pull training. Puppies are unlikely to be trained to walk properly without pulling on the lead, which slip leads are best used for.

Other options of leads may be more suitable for younger dogs who are untrained, which we will look into further in the article. The best lead for a puppy is one which aids the development and learning of the dog while doing as little damage or harm as is possible.

How do slip leads work?

Slip leads contain two loops, one which goes around the dog’s neck and the other around its nose. If the dog pulls while walking, the lead automatically tightens and tugs the dog’s head down. This breaks the dog’s concentration and prevents pulling. Slip leads are typically used for training but are thought by some to be unnecessarily cruel.

Quite often, they are used by vets and shelters who may need to quickly leash a dog; they may be particularly useful with dogs with behavioural or aggression problems. However, it is important to remember that these people are trained and using the lead for specific reasons, and it is very easy for untrained people to use them wrongly.

Are slip leads considered cruel?

Slip leads are considered cruel by some because of the risk of using them, especially given how easy it is to use them incorrectly and therefore unsafely. Many dogs’ associations and animal charities do not recommend them for usage with any dog, purely because they can be so unsafe and harmful to dogs. Next, we will look at the risks in more depth.

What are the risks of using a slip lead on a puppy?

Slip leads work by tightening on the dog’s throat, which is a threat in itself. It is very easy to misuse a slip lead, even accidentally, which could be dangerous to the very sensitive throat and neck of a puppy. This tightening can cause other side effects such as bruising and whiplash.

It is also important to bear in mind that slip leads do not have a limit on how much they will tighten when pulled. This can be extremely dangerous, even fatal, for dogs of any size but especially puppies.

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What is the best type of lead for a puppy?

The best lead for a puppy is usually a regular lead made from leather or nylon, which will allow your puppy to walk freely without applying too much pressure on the neck and throat. Standard leads are usually very comfortable, making them great options for puppies still getting used to being on the lead.

Aim for a six-foot lead which allows freedom for your puppy while allowing you the control you need to walk them safely; this is also a great way to train your puppy in obedience and behaviour.

What is the best way to train a puppy to stop pulling?

Training a puppy to stop pulling requires a lot of patience, lots of treats, and a great deal of praise. A great way to assist training is to use a clicker. Clickers work by creating an association between the click and the treat you give your puppy straight after, which will help to reinforce the idea that stopping pulling will result in a reward.

Is a collar or harness best for training my puppy?

While collars are fine for puppies to wear, harnesses are more highly recommended for walking and training, as they are safer for dogs who pull on the lead and likely to cause a lot less damage or harm.

Harnesses are generally thought to be the safest option for walking puppies, as they do not put pressure on the neck and throat. Instead, they fit around the chest and torso, where a little bit of pressure is fine.

Are there any benefits to using slip leads?

Despite their dangers, slip leads are considered by some to be beneficial. When used correctly and with dogs who are fully trained to walk on the lead, slip leads can be comfortable to walk on, as they will remain slack. For some, slip leads also speed up the process of pull training as dogs realise pulling is not worth the discomfort the lead causes.

Why do some people still use slip leads?

For numerous reasons, some people prefer to use a slip lead over other options. Some prefer the ease and speed of using a slip lead, which can simply be placed over the dog’s head rather than having to buckle and unbuckle a collar and lead.

Others use slip leads with dogs who are not potty trained, as the slip lead is a fast way to get the dog on the lead and out into the garden. Slip leads are also used with dogs with behavioural problems or aggression, as they can be used to quickly move the dog away from other dogs or out of potentially aggravating situations.

What is the best age to use a slip lead?

Some people prefer to use slip leads regardless of the recommendations, or else have no choice but to use one for behavioural reasons, as we saw above. In this case, it is still important to bear in mind the risks of using one and ensure that it is used correctly and as safely as possible.

However, even in these circumstances, slip leads should never be used with puppies under the age of six months old. These dogs are just too small and vulnerable for a slip lead to ever be appropriate, and other options are much safer and preferable for puppies this age.

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