Best lead for puppy dogs to use on their first walk and beyond

Ensure walks are comfortable and safe for both you and your pup with the right lead.

Best lead for a puppy

by Rosie Floyd |
Updated on

While a big part of keeping your pup safe on a walk, choosing the best lead for puppy dogs is more than just the practicality of keeping them suitably controlled and restrained while out and about. The right dog lead plays a crucial part in the early training and development of your little bundle of fluff. The best puppy leads and proper training reinforces obedience and helps your little pup understand the boundaries and expectations you have while you’re outside of the home. How to walk on a lead is one of the fundamental skills you will teach your pooch in the first year of their life, which is why making sure you’ve got a suitable puppy lead is so important.

When bringing a new pup home, one of the things dog owners look forward to is taking them on their first walk (after they’ve been fully vaccinated, of course). When your puppy is still small, every walk seems like a big outdoor adventure with new sights and smells to see and sniff. A good walk offers a chance for your pup to burn off some of that infamous puppy energy while exploring the big wide world beyond their home. Not to mention, strengthen the bond between you and your new canine companion as they experience everything the great outdoors has to offer for the first time. However, getting to the stage where walks are safe and enjoyable for you both requires some training and a good quality puppy lead.

Best lead for a puppy at a glance:

Best lead for puppies overall: EZYDOG Zero Shock Dog Lead – View on Amazon UK
Best reflective puppy lead: TRUE LOVE Dog Leash Puppy Walking Lead – View on Amazon UK
Best retractable lead for puppy: TUG Tiny 360° Tangle-Free Retractable Dog Lead – View on Amazon UK

When it comes to choosing the best lead for puppy dogs, you’ll want to think beyond the overall aesthetics of your chosen lead and whether they match your pup’s collar (although we’d argue that’s still a very important part of the decision) and consider the overall functionality, comfort and safety it will bring to your walk to make them a great experience for you both. Does your chosen lead have a safety clip to help keep the connection between the lead and collar or harness strong? Is the lead comfortable for you to hold in your hand while also being comfortable for your pup to wear? Can the length of the lead be adjusted to offer more or less freedom when required or does it have reflective strips for higher visibility in low light settings? You should think about your requirements from a lead and then ask yourself those questions to ensure you’re getting the best puppy lead for you and your pooch.

Whether you’re after a durable lead that will hopefully be a bit more chew-resistant against those razor-sharp puppy teeth or a retractable lead that can be extended as your pup grows more confident walking on the lead, we’ve rounded up the best leads for puppy dogs to help you find the paw-fect one for you and your pooch. We’ve also got some tips from the Dog Behaviour and Training Specialist at Woodgreen Pets Charity for teaching your puppy to walk on a lead and more in our FAQs.

Best lead for a puppy

Best lead for puppies overall

EZYDOG Zero Shock Dog LeadEZYDOG/Amazon

As you're teaching your puppy to walk on a lead, they may pull while walking - it's only natural and part of the learning process. The EZYDOG Zero Shock Dog Lead has an elasticated section of the lead that stretches when your pooch pulls which will help to absorb some of the pressure of their pulls, easing some of the discomfort for both you and your pup. Along with that, the handle is padded so your hand shouldn't feel as much of the strain either. The lead is made from a soft neoprene which is a waterproof material so the lead will be perfect for use on wet weather walks. It also has reflective stitching on the side to help improve the visibility of your little fluff ball in the dark and other low-light conditions.

Customer review: "No joke this lead is so good! Expensive but worth it! My puppy is a strong puller and this lead has saved my shoulder! Used to dread walking him but don’t anymore. The handle is padded and the bungee bit makes it so good to control him when he’s pulling without hurting my arm."


  • Takes some of the pressure/strength out of a puppy pulling on the lead
  • Padded handle for added comfort to your hand
  • Made from a waterproof material so you can use it in all weather conditions


  • Some reviewers felt the lead lost some of its elasticity after a while so the shock absorption element didn't work as well as it did

Best reflective puppy lead

TRUE LOVE Dog Leash Puppy Walking LeadTRUE LOVE/Amazon
Price: $12.99

If you're taking your pup out for nighttime adventures (also known as any time after 4pm during UK winter time!), the TRUE LOVE Dog Leash Puppy Walking Lead will keep your pup safe and seen. Made in a bright neon yellow colour, it has reflective material woven into all 1.1 metres of it, which will illuminate when street lights or car headlights shine on it for added visibility in the dark or other low-light conditions, like fog. The handle is mesh-lined for breathability and it's also padded so your hand stays nicely cushioned for the duration of the walk. We love the detail of a washable owner information label so if your pup manages to run off, your contact information will be readily available.

Customer review: "The lead is reflective which is brilliant for walking a jet-black puppy in the evening. It's durable and a reasonable length."


  • Reflective material is woven into it for added visibility
  • Bright neon yellow colour so it's easily seen
  • Padded handle for cushioning


  • Some reviewers found it to be a little heavy which may not be ideal for small-breed puppies

Best retractable lead for puppy

TUG Tiny 360° Tangle-Free Retractable Dog Lead with Anti-Slip HandleTUG/Amazon
Price: $15.99

TUG leads are a popular choice with customers on Amazon, with over 99,000 reviews, and they do an extra small version that's the perfect size for puppies. Designed for dogs that weigh under 12kg, the TUG Tiny 360° Tangle-Free Retractable Dog Lead with Anti-Slip Handle offers up to three metres of lead, but you have control over how much freedom your pup has. If you're working on their recall skills, you may want to give them the full three metres whereas if heel work is the focus, you can walk them on a shorter length using the quick lock system at the push of a button. It also has an ergonomic handle so it's comfortable for you to hold.

Customer review: "Ordered a blue one, it's very sturdy and well made, and the dog loves it, he's a puppy and he loves the freedom. The brake and locking mechanism can be done with just your thumb. Highly recommended."


  • Highly rated by other dog owners
  • You're in control of how long or short the lead is
  • Ergonomic handle for your comfort


  • Not the most chew-resistant option so be careful not to let your puppy get their teeth into the tape

Best puppy lead for recall training

Total Pet Training LeadTotal Pet/Amazon
Price: $24.99

Another important skill to teach your puppy is to come back when they're called and this Total Pet Training Lead can give you peace of mind while they learn this skill. As the lead is 10 metres long, your puppy has a lot of freedom to explore the park or beach for example but as the lead is clipped to their collar or harness, you've got hold of them so you won't have to worry about them wandering off and not being able to get them back. The length of the lead also means you'll be able to safely throw a ball for them to run after while you're still in control. It also comes with a clip that you can attach at the five-metre mark to give you greater control when needed.

Customer review: "I wanted a longer lead for my puppy so she could run about without the risk of her running up to an unfriendly or anxious dog and hate retractable leads. I was worried that my partner may struggle to use this lead but she also can use it with ease, it's light and easy to carry and light enough so my puppy can run about without feeling like she's tugging something heavy behind her. Would recommend it for training or everyday use if you can learn to use it which is very easy with the movable extra handle and can clip to yourself with the extra hook at the other end of the lead. Seems good quality and comes in a little bag too."


  • Great for puppies learning recall
  • Allows pups to have freedom while you still have control
  • Can be shortened to five metres when you need greater control


  • Some reviewers found it tangled easily when their pup was running around

Best durable puppy lead

Price: $19.95

Made from long-wearing materials and heavy-duty hardware, the RUFFWEAR Front Range Leash is a durable option that should be pretty chew-proof. It's made from webbing, which is a woven fabric that adds strength making it a durable option for making dog leads out of it. The stand-out feature is the clip that attaches to your pup's collar or harness because, as well as being lightweight yet strong, it swivels for ease of putting on and it's lockable so you don't need to worry about it accidentally coming loose and your dog slipping their lead. It also has a handle-like design near the clip so you can easily grab your pup when you're up close and need to keep them nearby.

Customer review: "I bought this for our new puppy and I am glad I did!! The clip is easy to use and the feel in my hand is comfortable and sturdy."


  • Made from a tough woven fabric
  • Strong yet lightweight clip that's also lockable for safety purposes
  • 'Traffic handle' near to the clip so you can easily grab hold of your pup when you need them close


  • While a durable option, it's worth noting that no lead is completely chew-proof so your pup may still be able to bite through it

Best puppy lead and collar set

Ancol Small Bite Stars Collar and Lead SetAncol/Amazon
Price: $15.56

How adorable is this Ancol Small Bite Stars Collar and Lead Set! Your little bundle of fluff will make walking stylish with this matching lead and collar set. The set is perfectly proportioned for puppies and small dogs so it's ideal to use for those very first walks until they grow out of it. As any puppy owner knows, they grow quickly in the first few months of their life so the collar is adjustable to grow with them for a while. Both the collar and the lead are made from lovely and soft material and they're lightweight so they'll be comfortable for your pup to wear as well as for you to hold on walks.

Customer review: "Love the design, it looks great and really cute on my 8 week old pup. Just the right size and not too thick for small necks. The white stars are reflective too. Definitely recommend."


  • Comes together as a matching lead and collar set
  • Soft and lightweight material so it's comfortable for your pup to wear and for you to hold
  • Collar is adjustable so you can get the maximum use of it while they grow


  • Puppies may grow out of the collar very quickly but the lead can still be used for a long time

Best puppy lead and harness set

Suredoo Pet Reflective Soft Mesh Dog Harness and Leash SetSuredoo/Amazon

Last up on our list is this Suredoo Pet Reflective Soft Mesh Dog Harness and Leash Set. Using a harness and lead together to walk your pup while their still young will help distribute the pressure on their tiny bodies from pulling, which will not only reduce the impact of the pulls but also prevent choking by taking the pressure away from their throat. As your pup’s comfort is key, the harness is made of a soft, breathable material which will feel comfortable against their fur but also keep them cool too. Both the lead and harness use stainless steel for the D-ring and hook to make them more durable and they both have reflective edges for improved visibility at night.

Customer review: "One of the better quality harness and leads I’ve bought. Much more sturdy, fits well and looks nice. The lead has a padded handle and less flimsy than other puppy leads. Bought a size large for a 11 week old cocker spaniel."


  • Both the harness and lead work together to reduce pressure on your pup’s body from pulling
  • Both the lead and harness have reflective edges for improved visibility
  • Stainless steel d-rings and hooks for durability


  • Some reviewers have reported having issues with finding the right size harness for their pup so be sure to double-check against the size guide on Amazon before ordering

How we chose the best lead for a puppy

All of these puppy leads have been hand-selected by our team of Take A Break Pets shopping experts. We carefully considered functionality, comfort and safety in our selection of the best. Our team has spent hours investigating and researching puppy leads to make it easier for you to find the very best, and we'd never recommend a product we don't believe in.

And, with pets big and small on our team, where possible we'll share the best products that have been tried and tested by us and our own furry friends who have given their paw of approval.


Here at Take a Break Pets, we understand that while teaching your puppy to walk on a lead is a big milestone for you both, it can be quite a daunting task. That's why we put some frequently asked questions about the subject to Britt Rosendahl, Dog Behaviour and Training Specialist at Woodgreen Pets Charity, so you're equipped with all the knowledge you need to make sure lead and walk training is a rewarding and enjoyable process for you and your pup.

At what age should I start using a lead with my puppy?

As soon as possible! Most families take their puppy home when they’re about eight weeks old, which is a great time to introduce their new pet to wearing a harness or collar and lead.

How do I introduce my puppy to a lead?

It’s important to get your pup used to wearing a collar/harness and lead before you venture out on any walks. Do this in a calm environment where your puppy feels safe and there aren’t too many distractions – at home or in the garden, for example. Put the collar/harness and lead on for very short periods of time and reward them with lots of tasty treats or a fun game.

Once your puppy is comfortable wearing the equipment, practise walking with it on around the house or in the garden. Be patient and supportive while your puppy is getting used to walking on a lead. You can start off by taking a few steps backwards and making your puppy come towards you while you’re holding the lead – don’t forget to have plenty of tasty tidbits to hand to reward your pup.

The next step is to get your puppy used to walking next to you on the lead – again, with the help of tasty treats, such as dried liver or sausage. Put the treat right in front of your puppy’s nose and lure them next to you. Dish out lots of treats in this position so they learn it’s the best place to be! Once you start moving, lure your puppy with a treat so they’re walking beside you and give treats every few steps. Keep your puppy engaged and make it a pleasurable experience by giving them lots of praise and positive verbal feedback. Once your puppy is comfortable walking on a lead in the garden or at home, you can then practise this out and about.

Top tips for training your puppy to walk on a lead:

• Puppies have short attention spans so keep training sessions short and distractions to a minimum. One-minute sessions at a time is more than enough.

• Be patient! Puppies are still learning many things about their environment so it’s quite common for them to stop and stare at things while on walks. If your pup puts the breaks on, see if you can minimise distractions or throw some treats on the floor to get them moving again. Don’t pull their lead or collar to make them walk, however.

• Teach your puppy a marker word such as ‘good’ or ‘yes’ and always follow this with a treat. Your puppy will then start to understand which behaviour will be rewarded.

• Use lots of small and tasty treats – people are often surprised at how frequently they need to reward their dog during loose lead walk training.

• Pick up on early signs your puppy might be nervous or avoidant of putting on a dog harness/collar and talk to a professional. It’s important not to wait until it becomes a bigger problem.

Rosie Floyd is a Pets, Homes and Garden Product Writer for Take A Break Pets, specialising in all things dogs. She grew up always having at least one dog as part of the family and has experience in owning a variety of breeds, including Labradors, Cockapoos and Yorkshire Terriers.

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