A slip leash, or slip lead, acts as an all-in-one leash and collar that easily slips over a dog’s head onto its neck. With a few quick adjustments, the English slip lead turns into a head collar, making it an effective tool for training and safely moving a dog from one place to another.

Keep reading to learn how English slip leads convert into head collars, and why they’re such useful, multipurpose tools for dog owners and trainers alike.

Young lady walking her dog using an English slip lead.

What’s an English Slip Lead?

An English slip lead can be used when moving a dog somewhere quickly, such as rescuing a stray dog, capturing an escaped dog or moving a dog in and out of a car. It also comes in handy for situations such as basic command training, potty training and getting show dogs ready for the ring.

Slip leads come in a wide range of designs, including ones with oil-tanned leather splices, metal chain, rope, nylon and fabrics or other material. They look like regular leashes but have a metal loop on one end. To move your dog a short distance quickly, thread the leash through the metal ring, making a bigger loop, then slip this over your dog’s head. Avoid the dog’s delicate throat area by placing it high up on the neck.

Using an English Slip Leash as a Head Collar

At The Dog Wizard, we use slip leashes as a gentle and safe tool for training commands such as heel and stay. Turning it into a figure eight harness, also known as a head collar, allows a dog working with one of our dog handlers to safely pull on the leash as they learn. Converting an English slip lead into a collar is simple:

  1. Ensure the slip lead’s large material loop is loose enough to fit around the dog’s head and muzzle with a little extra room.
  2. Loop it over the dog’s head.
  3. Gently pull the loop towards you from under its chin.
  4. Twist the leash into a figure eight in front of its face.
  5. Slip the smaller loop over the dog’s muzzle.
  6. Pull the large loop from behind the dog’s head to remove it.

Because the pressure is evenly spread between the dog’s muzzle and neck, the handler has more control over the dog. In case of pulling or sudden movements, there’s less pressure on the dog’s neck.

Benefits of Head Collars

Turning a slip leash into a head collar is a great way of making training easier and more comfortable for your dog. It can even have a calming effect, making it more focused and less prone to distraction. Plus, like a bridle for a horse, the head collar works on the notion that controlling an animal’s head is a safe and effective way to encourage its body to cooperate.

Slip leashes are easy to put on and even easier to slip off, and let you or a trainer effectively teach some of the most useful day-to-day commands. Dogs that understand stay, heel and get down are more confident, safe and self-assured — not to mention how much easier it makes the dog owner’s life!

Why Do Dogs Pull on Leads?

When something puts pressure on your dog’s neck, its natural instinct is to pull in the opposite direction. Many new dog owners have experienced the frustrating tug-of-war that happens when they try to pull their dog back to stop its pulling. However, this will never teach your dog what you want it to do: walking on a loose leash, by your side, without pulling.

Tugging the dog back is a restrictive movement that could frustrate your dog and limit the enjoyment of its walk. Instead of understanding that you don’t want it to pull, your dog is more likely to see the pulling as a power struggle. Teaching the heel command is the best way to ensure your dog never pulls its leash, and a slip leash head collar is the ideal tool.

Dog pulling on a lead during a walk.

Pros of Slip Leashes

There are times a slip leash is right for your dog and you. Dog trainers and rescue shelters use slip leads to handle dogs, and it’s a great item to have in your doggy tool kit.

Good for Training

Slip leashes are fantastic tools for training puppies. As mentioned earlier, a dog pulling on its leash is many pet parents’ biggest bugbear. This tool can make it easier for your dog to master basic commands such as stay, heel and down.

What’s more, a slip leash is quick and easy to put over your dog’s head, so you can move your pet in a hurry. This protects you and your dog’s safety if you need to move it in and out of the car or vet’s office and makes an excellent addition to your puppy potty training regimen. The faster you can get a dog that needs to go potty out the door, the better — for your dog and your rugs.

Dog Shows

Slip leads are perfect for show dogs. A show loop leash makes for easy capture or quick release, and it’s more discreet, so the dog looks confident and stylish.

Dog Obedience Training

If you’d like your dog to experience all the benefits of training, consider working with the experts. At The Dog Wizard, we provide the best obedience training for dogs and we’ll help you teach your puppy or dog to follow commands while ensuring it responds positively to the training process. Call us today at (877) 585-9727 to learn more about our dog training services and how our expert trainers can help you strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend.