Thursday, March 12, 2015

Product Review: The Instant Trainer Dog Leash

The Instant Trainer Dog Leash is a leash designed to reduce pulling. It features a ring that allows it to wrap around the dog's waist, and has a rounded plastic handle for added grip. This is an "as seen on TV" product".
Photo by Erin Koski

There is an old dog handling trick that is affectionately known as "the leash trick". It's a way to get your over-excited dog from the car to the beach, park, or whatever awesome thing is just a short distance away. This is a tactic that is best used on a trained dog that normally knows how to walk nicely on a leash, in situations where they may forget their manners. "The leash trick" is just to leave the leash attached to the collar and then wrap it around the dog's waist. A knot is tied to keep the leash from tightening around the dog's unprotected abdominal organs, and the handler than holds onto the dog via the remaining length of the leash coming off this waist knot.

The Instant Trainer Dog Leash is clearly an attempt to capitalize on the old leash trick, but it fails in a number of ways.

Photo by Erin Koski
1. There is nothing stopping The Instant Trainer Dog Leash tightening up. If it stops the dog from pulling, great! If not, I'd worry about organ damage.

2. There is nothing stopping The Instant Trainer Dog Leash from loosening up. As soon as the leash goes slack, the loop around the dog's waist goes slack. It can slide back around their back lacks, get peed on by boy dogs, and if it gets loose enough the dog can even step through it.

3. There is nothing between the hardware and the dog. The bit where the leash slides through the ring is is right in contact with the dog's back. Brisbane lost a bit of fur just taking these pictures, and he doesn't even pull on the leash!

4. The ring isn't welded. Let me say that again. The ring isn't welded. Not an issue if the sensation of the leash tightening around their abdomen doesn't bother the dog, but an obvious point of failure for any dog that pulls despite it.

Pros: This leash actually does work for some people and some dogs. It's an inexpensive product and the effect should be instant, so dog owners should know right away to stop using it. I believe it can also be used with the leash looped around the dog's ribcage, like the ThunderLeash. This would be safer for the dog, but may also put too much pressure on that unwelded ring.

Cons: This is a poorly made product, and there are tons of reports of both the ring and the snap breaking. If the dog fails to stop pulling immediately, they can injure themselves. Using this leash requires constant vigilance from the handler to keep it taut enough to stay in play, yet loose enough to be comfortable.

Bottom Line: The same effect can be accomplished safely and more effectively with a regular six-foot leash. I am confident I could create a better product with a sturdy nylon leash and a climbing carbiner.

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