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In today’s world, the importance of staying active cannot be overstated. In America alone chronic disease is the leading cause of death, accounting for over 70% of deaths and affecting the whole population. One of the most common reasons for getting a dog is to stay active, and anyone who has a dog knows they will most definitely keep you active.
For the dog owners that like to run, running with their dog is something that will eventually cross their mind. It is not only a very healthy activity for a person but for a dog as well. It is highly stimulating and as great for their joint and heart health as it is for a human. It also provides a unique set of challenges for both the dog and owner which are fun to overcome.
One of the challenges associated with running with a dog is the simple one of how to best control your pet while running. Using a walking leash can be a bit of a chore when running, taking away from the overall experience. Using a hands-free leash is a great solution to this problem, offering control and balance while going for a jog with your dog.
What is a Hands-Free Running Leash?
Hands-free running is the ability to run with your dog while not having to hold the leash in one hand. This is accomplished by using leash rigs that attach to your waist that the leash is secured to. Many of these designs include a bungee type leash, that allows for a more flexible distance between you are your fluffy running partner. Dogs and people have different running paces and this bungee allows for some variance in the distance between you two.
Running is an activity that fully uses more of the body’s musculoskeletal system to maintain balance. If you think about it, a humans form of locomotion is actually falling, using the natural force of gravity to catch ourselves and swing forward against the pull of gravity. We use the natural weight gyration of our arms to counterbalance ourselves during this motion.
So, being hands-free of a leash is very beneficial towards maintaining our own balance and safety when running. Imagine if you were holding a leash and your dog, unbeknownst to you, stops to pee. This can easily upset your balance and sending you rolling. Normally funny, even a small fall can be dangerous.
Hands-free leashes are generally attached to the waist which is our center of gravity, this allows you to take more force in the case of your dog stopping or pulling, increasing your ability to control your animal and keep yourself from falling while running.
Important Features to Look for In a Hands-Free Running Leash?
There are a few important features to look for when purchasing a hands-free leash. Not every breed is created equal, some breeds of dog are heavy and powerful, easily being able to pull a person of average weight along with them, such as a mastiff. Others, like a greyhound, are incredibly fast and can create distance between you very quickly.
Leash Bungee System
By having a bungee system is very important when it comes to a hands-free running leash. The reason being is that the distances between you and your dog will vary often while running. A dog can easily outpace a human on short distances, often running ahead slightly to smell a bush or whatnot, falling behind a little and then getting ahead again. The bungee will allow for this behavior without creating extra slack in the leash that can trip up you or your dog.
Some breeds are very powerful animals, such as a pit bull, and can easily snap a leash without even noticing it was attached. Being sure to have an appropriately durable leash can stop a potentially hazardous situation with a dog with a high prey drive chasing people or other dogs.
Having an adjustable length on the waist rig is important because well, not everyone is the same size. Especially if you are health-centric, you may grow or shrink over time and it would be frustrating to have to use a different waist system every time you go up or down in size.
Leash Anchor system on Waist
Having a waist anchored rig serves a few purposes. One, it allows you the full use of your arms to maintain proper balance and breathing when running. Two, it keeps you from losing your balance easily if your pup decides to run off or stop suddenly. A waist-anchored system is a highly beneficial safety feature that also allows both of you to enjoy the run more thoroughly.
Making sure to get the biggest bang for your buck is always important, whether its a new car, or a leash system. Making sure you are getting what you are paying for is key in the satisfaction of any purposeful purchase.
The Best Hands-Free Dog Leash for Running
Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Dog Leash for Running
The Tuff Mutt Leash is a simple waist-rig for medium to large dogs. This product includes some good control features on the bungee that allow for greater control.
Pros: The bungee has two handles stitched into it that allows you to quickly gain control of your dog if the need arises. The bungee and waist harness also have reflective material stitched to them, this increases visibility in busy areas. Also, this product has a lifetime guarantee so if breaks for some reason you can easily have it replaced.
Cons: The con of this product would be the lack of width or padding on the waist-rig, this could lead to chafing or cuts on your waist if your dog does decide to take off on you.
Mighty Paw Hands-Free Dog Leash
Another product that offers a high degree of bungee control over your dog. The Mighty Paws Dog Leash also offers differing bungee lengths depending on your needs.
Pros: This product has two different lengths of bungee available depending on what you need to be the most comfortable when running. The material both the leash and bungee are made of weatherproof material with reflective stitching. This product also comes with a money-back guarantee if in the circumstance that you are unsatisfied.
Cons: The bungee itself on has one handle, meaning that you may have some difficulty wrangling your dog if the need arises. Also, the waist attachment is relatively thin, which again, may cause injury with heavier breeds.
TaoTronics Retractable Hands-Free Dog Leash
The TaoTronics hands-free leash is another relatively simple system for hands-free running. This product is built for all sizes of dogs and tested up to 150lbs.
Pros: The bungee offered with this product has two separate bungees in the leash itself. This allows for maximum shock absorption in the case of a sudden jerk. This feature will give you more time to react to time increased resistance of distance, reducing the chance of sudden jerks that may throw you off balance.
Cons: This product comes with no warranty or guarantees, so once you purchase it, you are stuck with it. So make sure it suits your needs before checking out.
LANNEY Hands-Free Dog Leash for Running
The Lanney dog Leash is a more thoughtful product on the list for a very effective price. With the inclusion of a fanny-pack, it may reduce the amount of gear you will need to take on a run with your dog.
Pros: The fanny-pack is a great inclusion to the waist rig, allowing you to quickly access treats and other goodies in case you find the need. The dual handle bungee and reflective stitching are also great features to have in a hands-free system.
Cons: The waist rig is still a little on the thin side, with no padding offered. Only being 1.1” it doesn’t quite provide the necessary coverage to prevent injury.
SYOSIN Hands-Free Dog Leash
Another well built hands-free system. The Syosin hands-free dog leash is a multi-functional product that can help reduce the amount of gear you carry on a run.
Pros: The waist rig offered here is well padded for maximum comfort when on a run. The added benefits of having a pouch for treats or a wallet, as well as a water bottle holder are great features to have on a hands-free system.
Cons: The only con here is that the bungee is relatively simple and can stretch up to 6’ with no easily graspable handles. This meaning you’ll have to wrangle the bungee itself in case you need to regain control of your dog.
All of these products offer great usability for the available prices and are built to increase your performance while running with your dog. Having a hands-free system is a great way to increase not only the enjoyment of a run with your dog but the quality of life and health both will have. Remember, whether running on a trail or at a city park, pack it in and pack it out.