I Tried a Hands-Free Dog Leash, and I No Longer Dread Walking My Dog

Updated: Dec. 05, 2023

Ever wondered what it would be like to walk your pup without them yanking on your arm? Try this hands-free dog leash. We'll never go back.

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A hands-free dog leash is a type of dog leash that fits around your waist and can free up your hands on long treks. It can even alleviate tension on your arms and shoulders caused by using a traditional leash, especially if you suffer from arthritis or deal with mobility issues.

The SparklyPets Hands-Free Dog Leash absorbs shock and allows you to walk or run without breaking stride. It also frees up your hands so you can get to your phone, keys, water bottle or stroller with ease.

I took the SparklyPets leash to the trails for a long hike with my German shepherd, Henry, who is leash-trained but always gets a little more excited when we’re out in nature. Not only did I have two free hands for hiking, but I was also a lot more stable on the rough terrain, as Henry couldn’t pull me.

The hands-free leash—and I don’t say this lightly—changed our lives. I take it with me on every doggy adventure now (along with these items that every dog owner needs in their car).

What is the SparklyPets Hands-Free Dog Leash?

Like most hands-free leashes, the SparklyPets Hands-Free Dog Leash comes in two parts: an adjustable belt to which the leash latches, and the actual dog leash that detaches from the belt. If you prefer, unhook the leash from the belt in seconds and use it as a hands-on leash. It has a bungee cord that absorbs shock and a handle at each end.

With your medium or large dog attached at the hip (literally), you have more control with a single-hand grip. That control can be crucial when crossing busy streets, running or pushing a stroller. While hiking with the hands-free leash, I was able to reach into my belt bag and pull out items with ease, such as my phone. I was even able to send a text message while walking without fumbling a leash back and forth. It was a dream.

German shepherd dog hiking with a Hands Free LeashMary Henn/Family Handyman

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SparklyPets Hands-Free Leash Product Features

The single-dog SparklyPets Leash comes with three main components: The waist belt, the bungee leash and a drawstring carrying bag that fits both. Some hands-free leashes are made as one 6-foot unit, and you lose however many inches you need for your waist from the six feet of leash. But the SparklyPets belt adjusts separately from the leash, which I prefer.

The belt adjusts in size from 28 to 47 inches and has two secure metal hooks to prevent the leash from unlatching. Henry weighs close to 100 pounds, and I never worried about him unlatching while we were on the move.

The bungee leash extends up to 68 inches, so it’s long enough to give your dog enough slack to run next to or in front of you. It also has two handles to grip: one rubber handle at the top of the leash with Velcro on one side (so it can lay flat against the leash in hands-free mode or be pulled away from the leash when walking in hands-on mode), and a looped grip handle at the end of the leash that hooks to the belt (which works as a traffic handle when you need a closer hold on your pup).

The SparklyPets Leash and belt come in multiple colors and have reflective threading for safety. There’s even a two-dog extender so you can have two pups attached while strolling totally hands-free!

How We Tested It

From the trails to the sidewalks, Henry and I have been taking the SparklyPets Leash with us wherever we go. I can’t imagine ever wanting to walk long distances with a standard handheld leash again.

I tested the hands-fee leash in tandem with Henry’s Blue-9 Balance Harness, hooking the leash to the back of the harness to enjoy the great outdoors like we never had before. There was no pulling, and I set our pace. Henry walked alongside me without struggle or resistance—much more easily with the waist leash than he previously had with a standard handheld leash.

At one point, Henry and I faced some dangerously muddy cliff terrain, but thanks to the quick release button, I was able to unhook him quickly and without hassle so he could meet me safely at the base of the trail.

Pros

  • Usable with or without belt
  • Two easy-grip handles
  • Quick-release button
  • Optional two-dog attachment
  • Two stainless steel clasps on belt
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Reflective threading
  • Affordable
  • Sturdy

Cons

  • Designed for medium and large dogs only
  • Waist belt loosens slightly after repeated use

FAQ

Are hands-free leashes good for dogs that pull?

While I found that my dog pulled less with a hands-free leash, I wouldn’t consider him an aggressive puller by any means. And while I don’t personally mind a little tug every now and then, it’s generally not a good idea to walk dogs who pull a lot with a hands-free leash, as it can negatively impact your back.

Are hands-free leashes safe?

Hands-free dog leashes are safe when used correctly with dogs that are leash-trained (ideally, without pulling). If your dog pulls or lunges after things, a waist dog leash might not be the best option for you and your pup. If you have a very large dog or a dog that outweighs you, it’s possible to be yanked off your feet. Hands-free leashes with quick-release buttons and fixed handles like the SparklyPets Leash definitely help in this case.

Can you use a hands-free leash while riding a bike?

Short answer: No. Using a traditional hands-free dog leash while riding a bike can cause injury to you, your pup and others. The leash can get wrapped in the wheels, your dog can pull you off the bike or your dog can get too close to the bike causing you to lose control.

There are leashes designed specifically for biking with your dog that have special features to keep your pup a safe distance from the bike.

What Other Reviewers Had to Say

Judging from the 10,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, reviewers of the SparklyPets Leash are loving it just as much as I am.

Five-star reviewer Teresa Henderson says the leash is great for those with mobility issues: “I have arthritis in my hands and use a cane on bad days—so I had to figure out a way to walk both [my] puppies and hold a cane or walker if I need it. This leash is perfect. [It’s] sturdy, fits my waist snugly and prevents pulling—the dogs have to come along with me because I outweigh them…The number of handles is great. [It] has literally enabled me to walk both dogs on my own! A game changer.”

Evalena Velez, mom of three, says that walking with a water bottle, phone and leash is chaotic. “This leash is so helpful, my little fur baby can walk and not have to stop when I have to readjust everything in my hands,” she says.

Verified purchaser Sara Greer writes, “Bought this as well as the dual hands-free leash for my sister and brother-in-law. They love it! Said it is a world’s difference when walking their dogs.”

Final Verdict

For the price point, sturdiness and design, the SparklyPets Hands-Free Leash is a must-have purchase for dog walking. In other words, it’s 100% Henry-approved! My only complaint is that I haven’t gotten my hands on a hands-free leash sooner (pun intended).

Where to Buy the SparklyPet Hands-Free Leash

Sparklypets Hands Free Dog Leash For Medium And Large Dogsvia merchant

The SparklyPets Leash retails on Amazon for about $24, which is on the affordable end of hands-free dog leashes. Choose from six different standard colors and two premium colors that come with a waist pouch attached to the belt (note that the premium colors do cost more). You can also purchase the hands-free leash for two dogs or buy the two-dog attachment separately. Don’t walk another day with your hands tied up!

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