How to Make a Dog Leash

A collection of homemade dog leashes

If you’re part of a busy household with one or more dogs and perhaps other critters as well, including younger humans, chances are that you’ll need several leashes. 

As you’ve probably experienced, leashes tend to get dragged through the mud (or worse), lost, misplaced, or left behind at home.

Why Make Your Own Dog Leash?

We suggest that at all times you have at least one extra leash in the car, one in the home, and one in your backpack or purse, just in case. 

Now all those leashes can add up to quite an expense, unless you make your own. 

Another reason to make a leash yourself might be to acquire a distinctive look by applying your creativity. Read on for ideas!


How to Make a Leash: Brief Guide to Instructions

Below is a description of each type of leash and a link to instructions on how to make them. 

Each set of instructions includes information on the materials you can use (or scrounge) and precise directions for making the item along with pertinent photos.

Dog Bike Leash or The B-Loop

Make a simple and inexpensive device for your bicycle where you can safely attach your dog’s leash and run him alongside. 

I developed and used one of these for several years with Comet after I was pulled off my bike when he lunged after a cat that I didn’t realize was there. The gash in my leg persuaded me to try something different than holding the leash in my hand…

Braided Rope Leash

A simple, three-strand braid using cord makes the rope portion of this leash. Learn how to secure a handle and add a snap so that you’re ready to roll!

Comfortable Dog Leash

Of course, the ideal is a well-trained dog that never pulls while on leash. However, many dogs do. If your dog’s leash cuts into your hand, you can make a leash that’s comfortable to hold no matter how hard your dog jerks. An alternative option is the Quick Dog Leash(see below).

Small homemade dog leash made out of braided yarns.
Small dog leash made out of braided (plaited) yarns

Easy Rope Leash

Got rope? Need to make a dog leash in a hurry for temporary use? You’re good to go!

Quick Dog Leash

Another design that is fast to make and has a handle that is padded for owner comfort. This one uses nylon rope with a metal snap.

Personalized Dog Leashes (shown above)

These braided dog leashes are made of multiple strands of colored yarn. Naturally, you can choose your own colors and weight of yarn. This is recommended for small dogs only at this time since we cannot guarantee the strength for a bigger dog.

Make a Comfortable Dog Leash

If Comet was indoors, we could control him with his urge to chase cats.

Two comfortable leashes with different snaps

However, he was an opportunist. If he was on leash and saw a cat before we did, there would be sudden lunge in that direction!

We found the comfortable dog leash to be not only strong enough to withstand his lunges, but much gentler on our hands than other types of leashes.

It also worked well as a bicycle leash.

Materials for the Comfortable Dog Leash

ESTIMATED TIME – One hour

MATERIALS

Any color nylon webbing about eight feet long (2440 mm)

Width to fit the handler’s palm between closed fingers and thumb:

  • 1 1/4 inches (32mm) wide for a smaller palm
  • 1 1/2 inches (38mm) wide for a larger palm

A metal snap – different types can be used.

  • Snaps need to have enough room to fold the webbing through one end and be sturdy enough for the dog’s lunging force.

We used the wider webbing since Stan has extra large hands and mine are a medium size.

Note: Above items were purchased at a regular hardware store.


Instructions

Important: Melt webbing ends slightly with a match, lighter or low flame on your gas burner to deter unraveling. Use a wet cloth to prevent burning your fingers when you pinch the ends smooth.

PART 1: ATTACHING THE LEASH TO THE SNAP

This knot is the same as is used for a necktie.

step one to comfortable dog leash
second step in making the comfortable dog leash

Steps 1 and 2:  Coming from the left, pull one free end of webbing through about 18 inches (450 mm). Now cross the free end over from right to left, then cross back under from left to right.

3rd step in making the comfortable dog leash
step 4 in making the comfortable dog leash

Step 3:  Bring the free end up and curl it over.

Step 4: Loop the curled end through and pull everything tight. Leave a little of the free end showing.

Note: This loop will tighten as your dog pulls on the leash.

PART 2 – MAKING THE HANDLE

This is optional – see reasons below*

  • Fold over the free end of the webbing to leave the size loop you desire
  • Make the leash about 6 feet (1830mm) long if you can
  • Pin the handle in place and try it out by attaching the snap to a stationary object
  • When the handle is where you want it, sew the webbing with matching thread, using the “X-in-the-box” pattern shown in the photo below

* We liked to use the leash for bicycle exercise with Comet. It could be more easily adjusted without a handle.

* Another use was as a substitute for the Whipwhir. We just held the leash by the snap end and use the free end for the chase. The webbing held up admirably through several years with Comet and seemed to dry very quickly too.


If you are simply planning to use the leash for walks, a wider leash lends itself well to customized decoration. Think of things you can glue or sew onto the leash.