I’ve always had a really tough time buying the right leash for Fudge. Since leashes are really…nothing more than a piece of material with a snap hook to me, I don’t fancy paying $20 for a simple leash. I have walked into a pet store at least 10 times with the intention to buy a leash, only to find myself walking out without buying anything.
The leashes I’ve found in pet stores were always either too expensive, too long, too colorful, have too many functions (like the extendable kind, which drives up the cost) or not thick enough. Also, in my home, we use the same leash for walks and for their showers. The dogs also sometimes walk around with their leash on and drag them through the grass. Hence, it is never long before their leash gets dirty and smelly. Many a time, the material used to make commercial dog leashes aren’t very good – they wear out easily. Especially if you’re caring for a puppy, it is likely that you’ll have to go through a couple of leashes during their teething stage.
One of the biggest problems I have with commercial leashes are actually the price and the length. I brought Toffee for obedience training when he was a puppy and was taught that the dog should walk on the left hand side with me holding the leash on the right hand. This method works quite well for me and I walk Fudge using this method now. However, if you imagine, because the dog is on the left and I’m holding the leash with my right hand, the leash crosses my body. The commercial leashes always tend to be too long and I end up wrapping the excess around my wrist. I was so excited to make this diy dog leash as I could finally control the length of the leash. Also, nylon webbing, when bought by the yard, is really inexpensive. Besides sewing “Fudge” and “Toffee” on the leash, it took me about 25 minutes to complete the first leash and 15 minutes to complete the next.
Further explanations on the materials needed:
– Nylon webbing: the one in the pictures are 1″ wide. I got them from Joann’s Fabric and Craft Store and they had a wide range of colors. It was about US$1-2 a yard. For length, a good guideline will be to buy an extra 7-8 inches for the loop handle and 2 inches for the snap hook. I.e., get an extra 9-10 inches of nylon webbing in excess to the leash length you are making. The leash in the pictures are about 42 inches from end to end after it is made, using about 52 inches of material.
– Embroidery thread: You could also use any other stronger thread. Choose a color as close to the leash as possible and another contrasting color if you are sewing the name of your pet.
– Stainless steel swivel snap hook: there are many hooks in the market. Just make sure you choose a stainless steel one. I bought mine from a local hardware store for about US$6.
1. Using a lighter or any other fire source, slowly bring the nylon webbing to the fire source. You’ll see the edges burn – this will prevent fraying.
2. Thread the material through the loop of your snap hook, about 2 inches. Holding the material tightly together, sew a square and a cross in the square using a back stitch. This is very secure and will ensure that your snap hook does not break loose due to loose stitches.
3. Measure out your desired length of the leash from end to end. If you are unsure, use an existing leash you already have and use it as a guideline. Or, hook the snap hook to your dog’s leash (by now the snap hook should be sewed on) and test it out with your dog. After measuring from end to end, loop the leash and allow a 9-10 inch excess and cut the excess off. (more or less depending on how large you like the loop to be).
4. Similar to 1., use a lighter or any other fire source to burn off the edges to prevent fraying.
5. At the edge, sew a square and a cross using back stitch. You would want the “back” of the sewing for both the snap hook part and the loop part to be on the same side so that it’ll be neat.
6. If you would like to sew the name of your pet, use a contrasting color and back stitch as well. I’ve found it hard to draw guidelines for the letters on nylon webbing as pencil marks doesn’t appear. I did the letters free hand and they turned out pretty okay!
A note to my brother and Michelle: I would like to make a leash for Poppy too! Please let me know how long you would like the leash to be :)