Don't underestimate the importance of properly fitting dog gear. The correct size of leash is critical to keeping your Labrador retriever puppy safe while he's exploring life. Too much leash can allow your pet to reach places he shouldn't and can cause him to get dangerously tangled. Not enough leash length can cause strain on your dog's neck and can be uncomfortable for your arm and back. To make outings fun for both of you, make sure you get a leash of the proper length for both of you.
Tall Handler, Short Dog
A taller handler needs a longer leash when working with a smaller dog. Labrador puppies are not the smallest of dogs, but when young they are rather short -- about the height of an adult small breed. An 8- to 10-foot-long leash will provide the correct combination of comfort, control and freedom needed. You will not experience back strain with a leash of longer length as you would from leaning over a short leash. As with any leash, you'll hold excess length in your hand.
Short Handler, Short Dog
Shorter handlers, especially children, will appreciate working with a 6-foot-long leash. The shorter length allow the puppy short range and still permits the handler to have adequate control of his movement. At the same time, you will not have to struggle with multiple loops of leash in your hands, which can fall and become a tripping hazard for both puppy and handler. A shorter leash will facilitate keeping the puppy closer for more supervision than a long leash, which can allow a puppy too much freedom.
A leash of certain length is a requirement for many dog handling protocols. For example, puppy kindergarten classes that involve heeling exercises around multiple obstacles may require a leash of only 3 feet to keep the dog close to you with no excess to worry about dropping. Certain conformation trials require specific leash lengths. Some equipment for working dogs may require specialized leashes. Romping and playing in the park on-leash is suitable with a longer leash, perhaps 12 feet or more, provided you are able to learn to work in tandem with the active bowzer.
Retractable leads are convenient in many cases but can be a serious entanglement problem for some dogs of any age. The active, lanky and clumsy Labrador puppy is just the kind of dog who can find a way to get wrapped up. Chain leads, whose length you can alter by removing links, can injure puppies that chew them or lean hard against them. Remember to check the size of the metal clip that connects the leash to your puppy's collar. It should be large enough that it doesn't break when the puppy pulls but small enough that it doesn't weigh the pup down or become distracting when walking.
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