Intro: Make a Hands-free, Elastic Running Leash
After 3 and a half years (and about 3000 miles), my dog finally finished destroying her Ruffwear bungee leash. At this point the elastic is gone and both clips are broken, so I wanted to make her a new one.
These are the requirements:
- Hands-free, attached at the waist (of the human)
- Non-static, to prevent jolts
- With handle near the dog, for extra control
- Brightly colored
- With replaceable parts (clips and elastic)
This is NOT a leash that works well on a collar - it's meant to be used attached to a harness, on the back of the dog, but it could be modified by moving the elastic towards the human.
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
Step 2: The Elastic
Mia thinks she is a sled dog, so the leash needs to have some give. Bungees are strong and readily available, and can be replaced easily. You can add more than one to modify the strength - in parallel to increase resistance, in series to increase elasticity.
Remove the hooks by prying open one of the metal ties on the end. Keep the metal tie. This is the hardest part.
Step 3: Construct the Elastic Section
Make an elastic loop from the deconstructed bungee. A loop is easier to attach to the webbing than a straight bungee would be.
1. Thread the open end of the bungee through the loop on the other end. You might need to modify that loop by loosening the metal tie.
2. Use the metal tie to re-attach the loop on the lose end. Use the pliers to crimp the ties tightly.
3. Wrap the joined loops in duct tape for safety.
Step 4: Attach the Carabiner
Make a loop on one end of the webbing for the dog-side carabiner. Make the loop large enough to fully remove the carabiner so you can replace as needed.
Stitch the webbing with a straight stitch (I found it easier to adjust the tension) going back and forth several times. Do this several times.
Step 5: Attach the Elastic Loop
I wanted the still be attached to the dog even if the elastic broke, so there is some length of webbing (greater than the length of stretched loop of bungee) to serve as a handle.
1. Stitch a loop of webbing around the bungee
2. Do it again, to attach the bungee in two places and create the handle. Make sure there is enough webbing in the handle to allow the bungee to fully stretch.
If you need to replace the elastic, you would thread it through the webbing loops before attaching the bungee into a ring.
Step 6: Make the Waist Loop for the Human
The human goes at the other end of the webbing.
1. Pass the webbing through the adjustable side of the clip
2. Pass through the other, sewing side.
3. Cut any excess webbing, use the lighter to melt the edge, and stitch.
Instead of stitching, I simply knotted the webbing and taped the excess because I wanted to test the leash before cutting off the excess. It works just fine with a knot, so I might never "finish" it.
Step 7: Run
Attach the human to one end of the leash, the dog's harness (along with the dog) to the other end, and take on a test run.
You might decide that the elasticity is not quite right. You can add a second loop of bungee (in series) to increase the elasticity by making a second handle, just like the first one. To increase resistance add a second bungee through the same loops as the first.