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Anyone who has ever wished they had an extra set of hands when walking their pup should look into a hands-free leash. These leads are attached to a belt on your hips or waist, so your hands are free to reach in your pocket for treats to train your dog, scoop up poop, or wave hi to your neighbors. Because they attach to your torso, which offers more resistance than your arm, you’ll likely find your dog is less able to pull or lunge as you walk—another major benefit.
Here, the best hands-free leashes available.
Best Overall: Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Bungee Leash
Our top pick is the Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Bungee Leash. It has two control handles and also functions as a regular leash, which is great for those times when you need to keep your pup close, say when you’re encountering traffic or an unfriendly dog. The leash itself is 48 inches long, a portion of which is a strong bungee that allows your pup up to two feet of extra lead and, because it’s shock-absorbing, it won’t hurt your back.
The leash attaches to your waist and has a slide belt clip, so your pup can move from side to side without tripping you up. It's great for jogging and hiking as well as regular walks and has a reflective strip for added safety in the dark.
Best Splurge: High Sierra Walk-A-Belt™ Heavy Duty with Carabiner
With a soft fleece inner padding, this 3-inch wide belt scores high marks for comfort. It’s not only gentle on your back; it also helps hold the belt in place on your hips, as the manufacturer stresses that this belt isn’t made to be worn around the waist like other picks. It closes securely with a welded stainless steel O-ring and a solid brass bolt snap that’s easy to work, even with gloves on in the winter. Speaking of, if you plan on wearing this in the cold weather, don't forget to add a couple inches to your measurements. This pick comes in a choice of two sizes.
You’ll attach your existing leash to the included carabiner—but note that if your dog is a hard puller, you may want to swap it out for a stronger one that’s designed for climbing. Other great features are two D-rings that you can attach keys or a water bottle to and a reflective strip in the back that helps cars see you in the dark.
Best for Multiple Dogs: Pet Dreamland Hands-Free Double Dog Leash
Sure, you could try to DIY a regular hands-free dog leash into one made for two dogs, but you may quickly find their leashes are hopelessly twisted together. This is not so with this Pet Dreamland double dog least that comes with a tangle-free, 360 degree swivel splitter at the end of the leash; it gives each dog just enough room to do their thing but not so much they’ll get tied up in knots.
When you need to pull your pups in close, it’s easy to do so with one of three Neoprene padded handles (one on the main leash, and one each on both smaller individual dog leads). This leash works for dogs up to 150 pounds each, with a smaller option for dogs up to 35 pounds each.
Best for Running: SparklyPets Hands-Free Dog Leash
There’s little risk that your pooch will break free from this hands-free leash that wraps around your waist. It has not one, but two stainless steel clasps that keep it secure. We also like that it features a quick release button, so you can set your pet free in seconds—say if you hit a spot of black ice or other hazard. It also comes with a removable bungee that you can attach or remove from the leash via sturdy stainless steel clasps. It has two easy-grip handles and can be used as a traditional style leash, too.
Best for Small Dogs: The Buddy System Hands-Free Dog Leash
While you may wonder why you need a hands-free leash marketed for a smaller dog, the truth is, many systems weigh too much or give a smaller dog too much of a lead. The Buddy System comes with an adjustable-length leash that’s 22 to 40 inches in length and can also be used as a traditional hand held leash.
The leash attaches via a sliding hook that goes completely around your waist, which can come in handy if your smaller dog falls behind on a walk. If there's an emergency, there's a quick-release button that lets you let your dog go free instantly. This pick is designed with dogs 20 pounds and under in mind.
Best for Training: Good2Go Active Running Lead for Dogs
Anyone who is training their pup to heel knows how important being able to reward your dog with a tasty treat is. This leash not only makes that easier by leaving your hands free, but also it has two zippered storage pockets where you can store those treats for easy access. When your pup has completed obedience school, you’ll appreciate having a place to store poop bags or the keys for your house.
This belt sits at your hips and has a built-in control handle, a shock absorbing bungee, and reflective detailing. It's also great for pet parents who like jogging or hiking with their pup.
Best with Storage: Lanney Hands-Free Dog Leash
What good is a hands free leash if you’re still stuck carrying your phone, credit card, keys, and other essentials? The folks at Lanney recognized this problem and created a hands free leash with an attached fanny pack all made of stylish nylon with reflective stitching.
The zippered pouch is a sizable 7 x 4 inches, with two pocket compartments and a hole that works as either a poop bag dispenser or an outlet to run your earphones through. The leash is attached on a sliding D ring that gives your pup a wide range as you walk. The leash itself has two comfy Neoprene padded handles for when you need to hold your pup in closer.
The Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Bungee Leash has plenty of safety features, including strong, shock-absorbing bungee, two control handles, and a reflective strip for greater visibility at night. If you have two dogs, the Pet Dreamland Hands Free Double Dog Leash comes with a tangle-free, 360-degree swivel splitter that prevents them from tangling up.
What to Look for in Hands-Free Leashes
Although hands-free dog leashes are convenient, being tethered to your dog creates some special safety considerations. Hands-free dog leashes are safe when used with dogs that are properly leash-trained. It’s possible for the human to be yanked off his or her feet by a dog that pulls on the leash or suddenly lunges after other dogs or bike riders. Some hands-free leashes come with quick-release features that allow you to unhook your dog quickly if necessary. Others offer handles or knotted sections that you can quickly grab to rein your dog in or stop it from pulling. Some hands-free leashes use reflective materials so you and your dog stand out to motorists in low-light conditions.
Since a hands-free leash attaches to your body, you want one that is comfortable to wear. A good hands-free leash is lightweight and adjustable. Shock-absorbing materials like bungee allow your dog to gently range away from you without putting undo stress on your body, and easily move closer to you without requiring you to gather up the slack. Padding or lining on the part that goes around your waist can provide additional comfort and eliminate chaffing.
Some hands-free leashes accommodate multiple dogs (or you can buy a coupler to turn almost any hands-free leash into a double). Other desirable features include built-in zipper pockets or pouches that hold treats, doggie bags, or your house keys.
Are hands-free leashes safe?
Hands-free dog leashes are safe when used properly with dogs that are leash-trained to walk or run by your side without pulling. For dogs that pull on the leash or lunge after other dogs or bike riders, a hands-free leash may not be the best option. It’s possible for the human to be yanked off his or her feet by a dog pulling hard on a hands-free leash. Some hands-free leashes come with quick-release features that allow you to unhook your dog quickly if necessary. Some also come with fixed handles you can grab quickly to get better control of your dog.
Can you use a hands-free leash while riding a bike?
It’s not safe to ride a bike while using a traditional hands-free dog leash. When biking with your dog, it’s vital that your dog not veer too close to the bike or he could become injured and/or cause you to lose control of the bike. Additionally, if your dog lunged hard, it could pull you right off your bike. Special bike leashes for dogs are similar to hands-free dog leashes, but rather than attaching to the human, bike leashes attach to the bike via a rigid arm that positions your dog a safe distance from the bike.