Monday, February 22, 2016

Product Review: Hurtta Free Hand Jogging Leash

Hurtta's Free Hand Jogging Leash is a unique solution for a common problem. While it's not a totally hands-free tool, the handle allows you to hold the leash on your hand and hold another thing too. Stroller handle? Hiking poles? Umbrella? Clicker? You got it! The length adjusts from 3-5', and the hand loop opens to accommodate hands of all sizes. This leash is available in six colors and two widths for smallish and largish dogs.
Hurtta adjustable glove leash
Photo by Erin Koski

This is a nifty leash for some very specific situations, but it's definitely not for everybody. It makes a really fabulous leash for trick training because it allows me to hold a clicker and dispense treats without resorting to standing on the end of the leash, looping it over my arm, or letting it drag and hoping nobody spots a squirrel.

Red heeler with Hurtta jogging leash
Photo by Erin Koski
The adjustable length and lack of manual dexterity required to hold this leash makes it pretty awesome for service dogs. The handle is soft and fits like a glove while leaving that hand free to use a cane or crutch. We all know that looping a leash over your arm isn't much of a solution, and this Hurtta Jogging Leash is awesome because it stays right on your hand all by itself. It doesn't require hand strength, coordination, muscle tone, or actual thought to stay where it belongs.

That said, this is definitely for dogs that already walk nicely on a loose leash. It does not provide superior grip or control over a regular leash. The biggest issue is actually that the hand grip, which is attached via a slider that moves down the leash to allow the handle to open as wide as necessary. This is basically a slip leash for your hand, tension causes it to slide shut. If the dog is a hard puller, the grip itself will pass through the slider and the leash will cinch down tight.

 If your dog walks politely, this will keep the two of you connected and following the local laws. If your dog is a hard puller or hasn't learned how to walk nicely yet, this thing is going to squeeze the hell out of your hand. It will not make your walks any easier.

The adjustable length is interesting, it definitely works well for me except that at the shortest setting the doubled-up section tends to gap open. It's a pretty stiff leash, which probably makes the gapping worse. Maybe it will soften up with use. Ours is a new acquisition from the Petco clearance bin, because it was $4 and matched Sisci Godzilla's Hurtta harness.

Pros: Fits like a glove and stays on the hand without requiring grip, muscle tone, manual dexterity, or even consciousness. Opens wide enough to fit on stiff hands and around braces and other apparatus. Allows entire hand to be used freely to grip and hold a walking device, stroller handle, cell phone, or anything else. Lets me relax my hands while walking my dogs, so when my joints are sore I don't have to grip the leash for the entire walk. Adjustable length for city versus suburban walking. Great for clicker training! Reflective!

Cons: Not for dogs that pull! Hand loop can cinch down and stay tight with a lot of pulling, so not good for arthritic hands unless the dog walks politely. Probably can't wear more than one at a time on the same hand. Flexible fabric hand loop is going to get filthy immediately. Adjustable section gaps open when the leash is shortened, dog can step through it. Very still nylon strapping.

Bottom Line: This is the one and only leash that works perfectly with my trekking poles on hikes. These walking poles are used as a pair, one in each hand, which means I do not have a free hand for holding a regular leash or a Flexi leash. With a pole on either side of my body, it also means a dog attached to my belt or body is going to constantly be on the wrong side of the pole. The Hurtta Free Hand Leash is awesome because it allows me to hold the leash on the outside of the moving trek poles, and keeps everything from getting tangled up.

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