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How to Make a Slip Leash

| Updated August 11, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Regular leash

  • Choice of material for the lead

  • Tape measure

  • 2-inch metal ring

  • Heavy duty needle

  • Strong thread

  • Utility line

  • Scissors

  • 2 mm sportsman’s utility cord


  • Never leave a dog wearing a slip lead unsupervised. Should the end of the leash get caught somewhere your dog risks strangulation. While a slip leash may be helpful in an emergency, it's not recommended for dogs prone to respiratory problems or collapsed trachea. Use a slip lead only as a short-term, occasional solution to avoid damaging your dog's windpipe or neck.


  • A slip leash is mainly used as a short-term solution such as getting a dog quickly in or out of a run. If you are dealing with a fearful dog, you may want to condition your dog to accept wearing a regular collar and leash. Ask a trainer or a behavior consultant for help.

Whatever life throws your way, you better have a good grip. When it comes to leashes, a good level of control despite unpredictable events can be offered by a slip leash. It's quick to put on, easy to take off and offers the quickest and safest solution when dealing with dogs who aren't accustomed to wearing a collar and leash. Slip leashes are useful as a short-term solution in the case of an emergency or on those occasions you don't have access to a collar. Best of all, they're quite easy to construct with just a few items.

Option 1: The Improvised Slip Leash

Grab your dog's regular leash and keep it extended. You should have in one hand the metal hardware that clips to your dog's collar and in the other hand the loop that you hold on to when you walk your dog. Now, insert the metal hardware through the handle. You should end with one large loop.

Insert the loop over the dog's head. You will no longer have a handle but the end with the clip to hold on to temporarily. The loop may appear loose at first, but as your dog walks ahead, the loop should tighten around the dog's neck. Alternatively, you can tighten it yourself by simply gently pulling on the end with the clip.

Remove the improvised slip leash by loosening the loop around the dog's neck and slipping it over the dog's head. If you are dealing with a fearful or unpredictable dog, play it safe and try making an adjustable slip leash as outlined in section 4.

Option 2: The Customized Slip Leash

Customize your slip leash by choosing the material and length for your slip leash. Commonly used materials are rope, cotton and braided nylon. Use your measuring tape to determine the length you want. The average length of a leash varies between 4 and 6 feet. With a slip lead, you must consider adding inches for the part that will go around the dog's neck. Be sure to measure your dog’s neck as well and add this measurement to the length.

Place the metal ring through your choice of fabric and fold the end over the metal ring. With your needle and thread, sew the fabric around the ring making sure you get as close to the ring as possible. The metal ring should be securely attached to one end of the leash. Afterward, create the handle by making a loop at the end of the leash and closing it off again using your needle and thread.

Keep the leash extended. You now should have on one end the metal ring and on the other end the handle. Pass the metal ring through the handle. You should end with a loop that will go slip over the dog's head. Once over your dog's head, you can pull the handle gently to tighten it. To remove the leash, loosen the loop. Avoid doing so if you're dealing with a fearful dog or don't feel safe reaching towards the dog. Instead, try making the slip leash adjustable as outlined in section 4.

Option 3: The Basic Slip Leash

Use your tape measure to measure the circumference of your dog's neck. Next, cut your utility line at a length that is at least double the length of your desired leash, plus the additional inches of your dog's neck. If your dog's neck is 15 inches, add those 15 inches to the 48 inches for the 4-foot leash or to the 72 inches for the 6-foot leash.

Fold the utility line in half so you end up adjoining the two ends. Line them up well and use them to tie a strong square knot. Make sure the knot is tight.

Wrap the now doubled utility cord around the dog's neck and slip the knotted end through the loop. You should end up with the knotted end as a temporary handle. To remove the slip leash, loosen it up around the dog's head. If your dog isn't comfortable being handled, try making the adjustable slip leash as outlined in section 4.

The Adjustable Slip Leash for Fearful Dogs

Grab your slip lead's metal ring and pass it through the handle. You should obtain a loop to slip over the dog's head. Grab the 2 mm sportsman’s utility cord and tie the cord to the base of the handle within one side of the loop making a tight, secure knot.

Grab the opposite end of the utility cord and tie it around the metal ring. You should end up with one end of the utility cord attached to the end of the handle and one end attached to the metal ring where the loop slips over the dog's head.

Slip the loop over the dog's head. By pulling the utility cord you can adjust the slip lead easily as needed without reaching towards the dog.