Using a Figure of 8 Dog Lead – Everything You Need To Know

Using a Figure of 8 Dog Lead – Everything You Need To Know

Every hoo-man that owns a pooch knows that the quintessential piece of gear you’ll need when you’re a dog parent is a leash unless you’re lucky enough to live in a place where it isn’t necessary. 

Dogs simply don’t run free anymore. It is not socially acceptable, nor is it safe for your pooch because of external dangers such as the growing darn-awful traffic everywhere. 

Not all leashes are created equal. Whether you are in a crowded big city and need to keep your dog close or hiking in the backcountry with loads of solitary space, the length of the leash matters, as does the type of leash.

Equally important is the personality of your dog. Some dogs are happy to walk calmly by your side, while others try to do the Indy 500 in all directions. The wrong leash might not only be annoying as you get dragged around, but it can also be downright dangerous if you cannot control your dog. 

Got a puller? Enter the figure of 8 dog lead. In this blog post, we’ll share all about this amazing piece of equipment and how it can benefit your dog AND your sanity! 

Common Types of Leashes

First, you’ve got the standard flat or rope leashes that attach to your dog’s collar. The most straightforward type of leash, it is also what is the most commonly used.

Then you’ve got aversion leashes like slips (used to be called chokes), prongs, and Martingales, which is a type of slip with a limit. These leashes make it uncomfortable for a dog to pull as a form of punishment. 

You’ve got the horrendous retractable leashes that have been known to cause severe cuts, injuries, and even amputations for both dogs and humans. Yikes! Needless to say, DO NOT USE! 

And you’ve got harnesses, which isn’t technically a leash, but it is a way to secure your dog as an alternative to a collar. If you think your dog pulls badly on a collar, wait till you try a harness! (You might want to secure yourself to a tree first.)

And lastly, you’ve got the figure of 8, a relative newcomer on the market that has gained traction for around a decade or so. Phew. Now we’re talking. 

How Does a Figure of 8 Dog Lead Work

figure of 8 dog lead - main image

This lead's premise works similarly to a horse halter's physics. Control the head, and the animal will follow. 

The lead works by fitting around the dog's muzzle and neck, giving you more control over your dog’s head.

The more your dog pulls, the more it will be pulling its own head downwards, which is not just uncomfortable as the dog is breaking its own line of sight, but is also significantly weaker than a dog pulling with its neck or chest. 

With the figure of 8 lead, your dog wouldn’t be able to pull with their full strength and can be easily turned and stopped without too much pressure, unlike traditional leads where we often see owners hanging on for dear life. 

When they start to pull, the power comes from their head and some of their neck, which has significantly weaker muscles than their neck, chest and shoulders that they would use on a traditional lead. 

Using a Figure of 8 Lead 

figure of 8 dog lead - how to install

Using a figure of 8 lead is easy peasy! First, place the lead on your dog’s head with the nose loop fitting under the muzzle and the neck strap fitting behind the ears. Then, adjust the lead using the rubber stopper so that it fits snugly, but not too tightly! 

When your dog starts pulling, the lead will gently pull the head down. In addition, you can redirect your dog’s head and neck in the direction that you want them to go, which allows you to effectively control your dog without using much force, if at all. 

figure of 8 dog lead - collar attachment

All of our figure of 8 leads have an included collar attachment which you can attach to your dog’s existing collar. This is a failsafe so that if somehow, your dog escapes the first of 8 lead, you still have control over your dog. 

Why Should You Use a Figure of 8 Instead of a Traditional Lead?

No one likes a pulling dog, and having your dog lunging at another dog or person frequently during your walks is not just annoying, but it can get downright dangerous. With the figure of 8, your dog can only pull with minimal strength and you’ll reduce the risk of being dragged around.

In addition, a dog using a figure of 8 lead will be easier to train to walk on a loose leash and you can reward constantly for the slack in the lead. 

Not only is the figure of 8 lead an excellent training tool, but it also avoids causing medical problems that normal leads might. 

On traditional leads that attach to collars, dogs that are enthusiastic pullers have a huge risk of damaging their trachea, especially for smaller breeds with sensitive throats. This can lead to a condition called tracheal collapse, which is a serious respiratory problem. 

The figure of 8 lead is designed to be gentle and humane, and it should not cause any discomfort or pain to the dog when used properly. It is a popular choice among trainers and veterinarians as an alternative to traditional collars, especially for dogs that are prone to pulling on the leash or who have respiratory problems.

And it’s certainly nice not to be dragged around when your dog sees another dog or decides to take off after a squirrel!

How To Train Your Dog With a Figure of 8 Dog Lead 

Training your dog to wear and accept a figure of 8 lead may take some time and patience, as it is a new and unfamiliar experience for your dog. Here are some steps you can follow to help your dog get used to the lead:

  1. Introduce the lead to your dog gradually. Start by letting your dog sniff and investigate the collar, and offer treats and praise to encourage a positive association.
  2. Put the lead on your dog for short periods, gradually increasing the duration as your dog gets more comfortable. Take baby steps and don’t get to the stage where your dog feels uneasy or anxious as your training will take a step back. 
  3. You can start by putting the lead on for just a few seconds at a time, gradually working up to longer periods. Remember to give plenty of treats, praise, and toys when they are calm and well-behaved.
  4. Once your dog is used to wearing the lead, start walking, and practicing some basic obedience, and your dog should learn to respond to basic commands while on the lead. 
  5. You can slowly increase the difficulty and train outdoors with more distractions, but without any other dogs or too many stimuli.
  6. When you’re ready, simply use this leash in place of your old one, and let’s see how your dog does. Bring plenty of treats in a pouch and continually reward your pooch for good behaviour! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Get A Flat Figure of 8 Lead or a Rope Version

Flat figure of 8 dog lead

There are two kinds of figure of 8 leads, which basically work the same way. The only difference is that one is flat and sits flush against your dog’s muzzle, and the other is rope. A rope leash gives your dog a tad more freedom without being too restricted, while flat leashes restrict movement more and are usually used during training sessions. 

Because of its thickness, a rope leash is also more durable than a flat, so if you’ve got a chewy dog that likes gnawing on the lead, you might wanna go the rope way. 

Are Figure of 8 Dog Leads Cruel?

The figure of 8 lead is designed to gently stop your dog from pulling on a leash. It is the most comfortable for a dog to wear and can be tailored to fit each individual dog. As long as it isn’t too tight or too loose, it is the most humane way of getting your dog well-behaved on a leash. 

How To Fit a Figure of 8 Lead?

If you don’t fit a figure of 8 lead well, it will not be as effective, so fit is paramount. The lead must be snug, not too tight but not loose at all. 

If a dog starts to pull, the figure of 8 will tighten, and depending on the lead, may cause some rubbing and chafing. This is why it's important to get a lead that is padded around the muzzle and all the contact points. Harsh, abrasive webbing can hurt your dog, especially if he or she is a persistent puller. 

Final Thoughts 

Gentle and humane, what’s there not to like about the figure of 8 lead? Not only will it allow a smaller or weaker person more control over a powerful dog, but it will also save smaller dogs potential damage to their teeny tiny tracheas if they decide to lunge after something.

Getting dragged around during your walk is no fun, and if you’ve got a stubborn puller, we’d say, give these leashes a try. It could be a game-changer! 

Back to blog