Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Product Review: MuttGear Vir-Chew-Ly Indestructible Leash

MuttGear's Vir-Chew-Ly Indestructible Leash is a fabulous combination of strong, comfortable, and bite-proof. I purchase mine at SuperZoo. It is constructed with steel aircraft cable, fitted with trim and accouterments so it doesn't, you know, look like a steel cable. There's a comfortable nylon web handle and a carabiner at the handle end, and somehow it all manages to not be clunky. This one-of-a-kind leash comes in 4' and 5.5' lengths, and four different strengths for dogs up to 300 lbs.
Chew-proof steel cable leash with features!
Photo by Erin Koski

I'm a fan of tiny leashes. I like them small, light, and easy to stuff in my pocket. Sisci Godzilla, the Australian Cattle Dog, likes biting stuff. A lot. Like many cattledogs, when she gets excited her brain sort of short-circuits and she just starts biting whatever's in reach. You know what's frequently in reach? That's right, leashes.

My Midnight Pet single paracord leash and Stibbar utility leash have been recent casualties. Both were snapped in a single bite, and I was seriously considering getting some big fat clunky leashes just to slow her down a bit.

Chew-proof, bite-proof, dog-proof leash
Photo by Erin Koski
When Brisbane was a baby, we went to a playgroup at our local dog park. One of the regular attendees was a scenthound mix named Stubbs, who was known for snapping leashes in a single bite. His owner, a jolly retired man, went to the hardware store and bought a coated steel cable and hardware, and fashioned himself a bite-proof leash. It wasn't perfect, the handle was just a loop of cable that was pretty uncomfortable to hold, but it was bite-proof.

The Stubbs-proof leash wasn't pretty, either. It had big clunky hardware, and the clear coating on the cable started yellowing and looking icky almost immediately. MuttGear's version of the aircraft cable dog leash is clearly designed by someone who started from the same place, and then asked themselves how they could make it better.

The result is my new everyday leash. The Vir-Chew-Ly indestructible leash has a colorful coating with a grippy texture, so I can comfortably grab it anywhere along its length. The hardware is strong enough to do the job, light enough to not bonk my dog in the head, and sealed so it doesn't even look like hardware. The handle is removable, and attaches via a carabiner that is just the right size and weight.  It doesn't tangle up, it coils perfectly to slip into my pocket, and I use it to tether my dog at least a dozen times a day. It also doesn't soak up water or slobber. What more could you ask for?

But is it actually bite-proof? I got to find out the first day we used it, when Sisci Godzilla decided it was actually an awesome tug toy. I went ahead and let her. She chomped, she tugged, she gnawed...and the leash held up beautifully.

Pros: Chew-proof, bite-proof, grippy, tangle-free, water-proof, stink-proof. Lighter and easier to grab than a chain, and probably stronger too. Removable handle means it stays unchewed even when your dog is tethered. Carabiner on handle end is integrated into the leash so it doesn't dangle or swing around. Handle end can be clipped back to the leash, or to a chain link fence at agility class, or to the handle of another VirChewLy Indestructible Leash to walk two dogs. Light and easy to coil up, takes up less space than most leashes.

Cons: The ultra-light, slim design could be uncomfortable to grab on a dog that pulls hard, so it's probably wise to go up a size and get a fatter leash if you need to work on your loose leash walking skills.

Bottom Line: As advertised, this is a virtually indestructible, extremely functional leash. I bought it mostly out of novelty, because it was new and different. Now I used it all day, every day.

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