Dogs need regular exercise, and most cities have leash laws, so a good leash is a must. You can buy expensive rhinestone-studded designer leashes, but if your dog isn't a fashion diva, making your own simple leash will save a lot of cash for more important things -- like treats.
Simple Rope Leash
Cut a section of hollow braid polyester rope the desired length for your leash plus about two feet extra.
Use a match or lighter to melt the end of the rope slightly and then press an old rag over the end to prevent burning your fingers while you shape the hot plastic to a slight point . This keeps the rope from fraying and becoming unraveled.
Insert the end of the rope all the way up inside the hollow plastic “knitting” needle especially made for splicing rope. These special splicing needles often come with the rope, or you can buy one in the same area of the hardware store. It is also possible to roll the hot end of the rope into a point and use that without a needle to make your splice.
Slide a swivel hook onto the rope, then measuring about 12 inches or so from the end of the rope, bend the rope into a loop with the swivel hook in the center.
Grasp the rope in two places with your fingers about 2 inches apart at a point 12 inches from the rope's end -- keeping the swivel hook inside the loop. Gently bring your fingers together on the rope so the rope bulges out and loosens the weave of the braid enough for you to insert the tip of the splicing needle inside the hollow core of the rope.
Push the needle with the rope end into the hollow core of the rope and work it up inside the tube -- as you would thread a drawstring through a pair of sweatpants -- for about 12 to 15 inches before bringing the point of the needle back out through the weave. Pull on the rope to tighten the hook in the loop against the end.
Use the same technique -- without a swivel hook -- to make a second loop on the opposite end of the leash for a handle, leaving enough rope to form a comfortable grip for your hand. You have finished your simple rope leash.
Nylon Webbing Leash
Measure and cut about 8 feet of nylon webbing for an average-sized walking leash. Use more or less webbing to make a customized fit for your dog and a comfortable length for your walking or training style.
Fold over one end of the webbing to form a loop for the handle -- adjust it so it's comfortable for your hand size -- and stitch it securely with a sewing machine and heavy-duty nylon thread. You will need to go over the area multiple times to make sure it won't tear loose.
Make a second loop, this time on the opposite end. Slide a swivel hook over the webbing and stitch the webbing again as for the other end. You're done.
Items you will need
- ¼-inch hollow braid polyester rope
- Lighter or matches
- Old rag
- Hollow plastic “knitting” needle for rope splicing
- Swivel snap hooks, stainless steel
- 8 feet of nylon webbing, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches wide
- Sewing machine
- Heavy-duty nylon thread
- Buy a long piece of rope or webbing and a few swivel hooks and make several leashes at once so you will always have a spare. Keep one in your car, one in your purse and one near the door, and you will always have one handy when you need it.
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